The Plot to Kill Jesus
Text: Matthew 12 : 15 - 21
Jesus did not want to appear as if He purposely went out of His way to put down the Pharisees! The fact was that on both occasions, the Pharisees sought to find fault with Jesus. The bottom line was that they wanted to destroy Him! We may make the following statements about why they wanted to kill Jesus. Three suggestions put forward for further pondering.
1. The teachings of Jesus contradicted their oral tradition
This became more and more obvious! On a number of occasions, Jesus resisted and pointed out the flaws of the oral traditions! (Cf. Matthew 5).
2. The teachings of Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the Pharisees
More than just contradicting their teachings, Jesus embarrassed the Pharisees by pointing out their idiosyncrasies. These in turn showed them as hypocritical miscreants!
3. The teachings of Jesus drew large crowds
The Pharisees watched helplessly at the multitudes that flocked to Jesus! They knew why they thronged Him! Many were sick and they turned to Jesus for healing. The Pharisees could not offer anything close to that at all! However, they knew that if people kept on flocking to Jesus, they would lose their hold of the people! Their standing in society would of course be severely damaged!
THE PLANNED WITHDRAWAL OF JESUS
The last thing Jesus wanted was to constantly engage the Pharisees in endless verbal battles! He knew the hearts of these Pharisees. Their hearts had already hardened to the point that they were contemplating murder! Even if they refused to accept Jesus as the Chosen One, the Messiah, their plotting to resort to murder was an inexcusable sin!
Graciously Jesus withdrew His presence from the synagogue. However, the multitudes did not leave Him. They followed Him wherever He went! Let us ponder over this text Matthew wrote concerning the thoughts that Jesus had as He reviewed the situation.
“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there.
And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed
them all. Yet he warned them not to make Him known,
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…”
If only the Pharisees had really known the Scriptures, they would have had nothing to fear. If only they had heeded the Written Word instead of listening to the oral tradition, they would have understood what was in Jesus’ heart. Did they not at least catch a glimpse of the fact that Jesus lived by the Scriptures He cited so authoritatively? If they had only searched the Scriptures as they had been urged, they would have known what the prophets like Isaiah had prophesied concerning the Messiah!
1. He never wanted the crowds to promote His healing ministry!
Once again, we see this thought mentioned! He spoke to a leper concerning this matter (Cf. Matthew 8:4). He gave the same order to two blind men He healed out of compassion (Matthew 9:30). We now have another mention that He warned the multitudes not to make Him known in this manner (Matthew 12:16).
2. A Ministry to be fulfilled
Jesus was concerned about the ministry that His Father wanted Him to fulfil. He did not mind attending to the needs of the sick. Lovingly, He healed all who came to Him. But all too often, people were taken up with His healing ministry that it made it hard for them to listen to what He had to teach them.
A GLIMPSE AS TO THE FOCUS OF JESUS’ MINISTRY
What did Jesus come to do? Did He come just to heal people? Matthew’s comment on what was in Jesus’ mind, as recorded in this text is most insightful. Three things may be highlighted.
“Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
1. The Messianic Programme
Did the Messiah have a programme as He ministered? Yes indeed! This programme was recorded in the prophetic Scriptures long before He came to earth!
2. The Messianic Scope
The scope of Jesus was to ultimately reach the Gentiles! Certainly, the Jews were not ready to hear such words! They had problems with His reaching out to Israel, without looking at the ultimate scope of His work.
3. The Messianic Character
If only the Pharisees had studied the Scriptures more carefully, they would have learned to love Jesus for the character that He had! He was not out to embarrass them or to quarrel with them! That would be out of character for Him.