Carl was surprised when he entered the living room. His wife was there along with this two teenage children. With them were his pastor, his boss, his best friend and two of his co-workers. Carl was hesitant to sit down but did so at their beckoning. When he was seated, his family and friends began to lovingly tell him how his alcoholism had damaged his relationships with him and his life. They encouraged Carl to seek help, but Carl didn’t want help and he rejected what they were telling him. He stormed out of the room, jumped in his car and drove off.
The chief priests and scribes were looking for a way to kill Jesus. They couldn’t accept what Jesus was telling them. He described them as white washed tombs—pretty on the outside, but stinking on the inside. Jesus called on the religious leaders to use their power to help others rather than advance themselves. Rather than ruling by power Jesus called on the religious leaders to rule with love. Jesus’ words fell on hardened hearts and stiff necks—lives that wouldn’t change.
We may not go as far as wanting to kill Jesus, but there are times when the Holy Spirit’s call to us is too drastic and more than we can accept. The Spirit might convict us of attitudes and actions that are not loving and do not honor the Lord, which we don’t want to change. We might be called to take a big step of faith outside our comfort zone, which we are unwilling to obey. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” We struggle for life and rebel. Eventually we discover, though, that yielding to the call of the Holy Spirit was the path to true life.
It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”