MATTHEW 27:39-44, key vs. 40, 42
In our last post, we took a look at the first group of people who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. This post, we will study the second group:
SCRIBES & THE CHIEF PRIEST – 27:41-43
The scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees, and chief priest were always at odds with Jesus during His earthly ministry. There are certain characteristics we notice about this group.
The first characteristic we observe was that they were often Copycats – 27:41. These religious leaders were acting more like politicians than they were prophets or preachers. We observe this from the word “likewise.” They were not leading the way like they were supposed to have been doing, but just following the crowd.
It is a sad truth that many preachers and teachers will change, or soften, what they believe in order to gain a larger crowd. Most do not proclaim what they believe based on conviction; but test the wind to see what is the popular and follow after that. Beware of those who claim to be preachers, yet will not stand against anything. It has be aptly said before that, “If you won’t stand against anything, you will fall for everything.”
Another truth we notice is that they were Compassionless – 27:42. We know that they had no compassion on those in need. How? Because they knew of all the people Jesus helped that they themselves often ignored. They did not believe in Jesus while He was amongst them healing the sick and lame; they wouldn’t have believed on Him had He came down from the cross.
The measure of a man’s faith can been seen in how they help others less fortunate than himself. The religious leaders always had to have the attention focused on them, and thus had no time or desire to help others. When the spotlight must always be pointed on us, even while helping others, reveals a real deficiency in our character. It is during those times when we are more worried about our reputations and what we can gain from “helping” someone that we are following the lead of the religious rulers of Jesus’ day in showing our lack of compassion.
The final characteristic we notice is that they were Convicted – 27:43. By making the statement, “for he said, I am the Son of God,” these religious rulers reveal to us that secretly, they were under conviction. They wanted Jesus to come down from the cross because they did not want to admit that they were sinners in need of Redeemer.
When under conviction, you have one of two ways to respond, as we see from the final group in the upcoming post.