“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 Jn. 2:15)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
In Mark 14:53-65 and Matthew 26:57-66, during His night trial before Caiaphas the high priest and some of the scribes and Jewish elders, Jesus is asked “are you the messiah, tell us plainly?” Jesus is the personification of Isaiah 9:6-7, the Son of God in a human body, as He humbly stands on trial before this group of religious leaders in Jerusalem. Yet clearly He is not up to their expectations. They wanted more. Jesus was not out in battle with an Israeli army defeating the Romans. Jesus was not rallying the populace toward the political and economic reforms that would beneficially change the entire world. Jesus was not in the process of restoring the old glory and splendor of the reigns of David and Solomon, which would beneficially spill over into the power base of these religious rulers. Jesus was not even verbally defending Himself, in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7.
Jesus instead had been out in the countryside of Israel amongst the common people, healing the sick, casting out demons, teaching eternal truths, and raising the dead. He was eternally impacting people’s lives. Jesus was doing in the first century what He is still doing today…beneficially transforming people through deliverance from sin, creating spiritual rebirth, and building growth in character that comes through a journey of faith actively following God.
As Jesus stands before these religious leaders of Israel, Jesus models this unconventional life-script of God perfectly (Isaiah 55:8-9). The life-script of God for Jesus of Nazareth, the Lamb of God Savior slain from the foundation of time for the sins of mankind (Revelation 13:8), is composed and orchestrated by God the Father to perfectly match the uniquely divine capacity of the Son of God. In rejecting Jesus, these men are not only rejecting the physical manifestation of God Himself standing before them, but they are also emphatically rejecting the God-composed, supernaturally unconventional journey-of-faith exemplified in Jesus that makes Him uniquely the way, the truth, and the life.
These religious leaders did not want the way, the truth, and the life through a God-composed, unconventional adventure of faith that would separate them from the pride of their own self-sovereignty. These religious leaders wanted a God who would only intervene in the external world according to their partially incomplete interpretation of the messianic prophecies, while leaving in place their ability to operate as the autonomous gods of their lives.
This is one of the powerful motivating forces explaining the reason why these religious leaders went to such extreme lengths to unwittingly, unknowingly, and personally fulfill the messianic prophecies by having Jesus the Messiah crucified. It is ironically fitting that through their dual rejection of Jesus and a God-composed journey-of-faith, they themselves directly provided the very means by which God opened up the way of salvation through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. This is why the cross is such a deadly serious issue, surgically dividing truth from error, and demonstrates why God our Father cannot successfully be fooled with, outwitted, or outmaneuvered.
Jesus was indeed offering more, but it was on a higher level incomprehensible to these religious leaders. Jesus was offering to them, to the nation of Israel, and to us today, a life-experience comparable to that of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and what was to be experienced in the very near future in the lives of Peter, Paul, and the early church.
The “more” that Jesus was offering rises above the unsatisfying possession of an abundance of material objects, that will rust and decay here on earth. The “more” that Jesus was offering surpasses the fickleness of worldly applause and acclaim, which can quickly fade from memory and turn overnight into jeers and rejection. Jesus was offering no less than the personal working and moving of the Almighty Creator of the universe in our lives to craft us into people who can exhibit and enjoy the benefits of unselfish love, forgiveness of others, the satisfaction of commendable industry and excellence in our work, and the rock-solid confidence of elevated character that nothing and no one on this earth can overturn.
Jesus was offering to these religious leaders and to us, a transformed new life that can be elevated up into the unconventional, supernatural workings of God that can craft Joseph into the governor of Egypt, David into the king of Israel, and can completely change a person like Saul of Tarsus into the Apostle Paul of the book of Acts and Romans chapter sixteen.