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Christ: Delivered to the Will of the People
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Jesus did not meet the expectations of the religious leaders of His time. It seems that He did not live up to the hopes of the people regarding the things that He rejected or demanded of those who would be His disciples. He was not the Messiah they expected, wanted, or accepted. Isaiah’s prophecies point this fact out several hundred years before Jesus’ birth. Isaiah 53:3-54 says, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.”

The gospel of Luke makes it plain that Jesus was delivered to placate the desires of the people. Luke 23:25 says, “And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he [Pilate—JOT] delivered Jesus to their will.” It seems certain that the Sanhedrin played a decisive role in persuading Pilate to release Barabas and crucify Jesus, but the crowds of people crying out for His crucifixion included more than the high court of the Jews.

When the crowd was asked about their will regarding Christ, Pilate made every effort to make the crowd content with his decision. Mark 15:12-15 says, “Pilate answered and said to them again, "What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?" So they cried out again, "Crucify Him!" Then Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, "Crucify Him!" So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” Being gratified with the blood of an innocent man underscores the bloodthirsty nature of the people.

By the same token, the Christ of the Bible is not what people in our age imagine Him to be. Campaigns that make Jesus completely willing to accept sinful behaviors fly in the face of the One who died to save us from our sins and not in our sins. The High Priest who understands the human condition called human beings to repentance (Luke 13:3, 5). Repentance is one of the essential commands that one must obey to secure eternal life (Acts 2:38; II Corinthians 7:9-10).

It is easy for some to be ashamed of a Messiah who demands that humankind changes from sinful behaviors. However, one cannot be ashamed of Jesus and His words and expect eternal life. This means that one might have to suffer ridicule for being a disciple of Christ. Mark 8:38 says, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

To this point, some of the sayings of Christ offended would be disciples to the extent that they were unwilling to be identified with Him. The context of their displeasure was Jesus’ discourse over Him being the living mana. He says, in John 6:55-57, “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”

Jesus was aware of those offended by His words and He asks a simple question, in the context of John 6:66-67, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him

no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" This same question over offenses from scriptural truths might be asked of any person who has become offended and left the church. Sadly, many have answered the question of Jesus in the affirmative.

While Jesus loves all of humankind (John 3:16), He warned all people of the consequences associated with disobedience. Jesus demanded complete obedience from those who would be His disciples. Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” The disobedient cannot expect to have eternal life.

Some popular religious figures and advertisements have made Jesus out to be completely liberal in His treatment of immoral practices. These people and advertisements would have a biblically illiterate audience believe that Jesus would be willing to compromise with sins that war against spiritual living. Christ was the epitome of morality and godly living and any advertisements or teachings the imply otherwise are wrong.

The Apostle Peter sums it up nicely. He says, in 1 Peter 2:21-22, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who commited no sin, or was deceit found in his mouth.’ Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” In His responses to sin and mistreatment, Jesus left all of His disciples an example to be followed. We should follow His example!