29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Jesus revealed to the disciples all that would happen, but they were unlearned and mostly afraid to ask him about what his leaving would actually mean for them.
In contrast, the Pharisees also saw what Jesus did, heard him, saw the people respond to his miracles and messages, and couldn’t deceive him using their knowledge.
They were also offended by his youth and charisma, not believing his claims. (John 8:57)
Still he ministered to them as much as he ministered to the crowds about them, grieving that they would would not repent and do better by the people. To the last, their jealousy and hatred plagued Jesus even as they watched him dying on the cross, still looking to trap him if he saved himself. (Matthew 27:42)
They would have still found a way to say he deceived them, since they had seen everything else and didn’t believe. They would have gloated, died in their sins, and rendered the atonement void if Jesus had given in to their taunting. This is why Jesus put no effort into watering down or stopping the message in spite of their constant attacks, nor accepted the praise of fickle hearts that followed him to see him do miracles, or receive them. (John 2:23-25)
So when our own faith wavers, our prayers are denied (they are never unanswered), or our petitions granted and manifested in ways we thought would be different, have we ever not been witnesses against ourselves when we ask him to do it our way? Have we never said “If he really loved me, he wouldn’t let…”?
In those moments, we are now witnesses against ourselves, and in those moments of crisis we convince ourselves that His covenant of grace, promises, and assurances are invalid, don’t apply to us, or that there’s more we have to do because we were not delivered.
Let us be reminded that the ‘others’ in Hebrews didn’t surrender their faith in the midst of their trials (Hebrews 11:36-38)
As they did, let us do likewise, not putting ourselves and our descendants under the the curse of our shame. (Matthew 27:23)
Let us rejoice then, that the shedding of His blood was not for covering, but for removal, not as Abel’s blood crying out from the ground as a witness against Cain’s sin of fratricide, and by proxy, our sins against each other, whether in the body or not.
Therefore I pray:
Lord Jesus, I thank you praying that the Father’s wrath not come upon your most relentlessly attacking, religious minded enemies that delivered you into pagan hands to be mocked and murdered.
In and of ourselves, we are convicted in our hearts that we are unprofitable servants and unworthy sinners. Despite our best efforts, we are yet prideful, hard-hearted, stone-eared, stiff-necked and rebellious.
Yet You took our place and suffered the Father’s absence as He covered Heaven with clouds to block You from sight as You took the penalty for our sins, though You knew restoration through resurrection was the final result.
And in that way, Lord, we are much like David in the gratitude and worship of Your sacrifice, asking what are we that the Father is mindful of us.
So in gratitude for the gift of today’s blessings and the promises of tomorrow, Lord, I bow my stiff neck to Your easy yoke, my rebellion to Your forgiveness, my repentance to Your healing power. In faith, I declare that I believe as You ascended back to Your place at the Father’s right hand, so too, we will be restored and raised by the power of Your great shout to come forth, commending our spirits into Your hands, as You gave Your own to God, that we may dwell in His eternal light, under Your eternal rule, forever.
May Your words be sealed to my spirit, now and forevermore.