Summary: Being religious is an eternity away from having a relationship with God.
A Some in the Jewish community have cried foul over the portrayal of Jews being the executioners of the Christ and this portrayal is manifested in one key character, at least for me, in the film: Caiaphas.
a Caiaphas was the high priest during not only Jesus’ ministry, but also during Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, ministry.
b Caiaphas was, arguably, the most pious, religious, and influential person amongst the Jews in Jerusalem during the last twelve hours of Christ’s life.
*He was at the center of the entire plot to crucify the Christ.
*He was present and participated at Christ’s trials, beating, & crucifixion.
B We are continuing our series Meet The Cast of the Passion with the lesson, Meet Caiaphas: How to know the difference between a religion & a relationship.
47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 "If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish." 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. -John 11:47-53 (NASB)
a ETS: Caiaphas was a lot man who was religious.
b ESS: Being religious is an eternity apart from being in a relationship with God.
C Objective: I hope you’ll leave here knowing where you stand with Jesus.
a Probing Question: What do you have; a religion or a relationship?
b T.S.: Let’s look back in time to see how Caiaphas gave us two reasons to believe he had a religion rather than a relationship with God.
I The first reason Caiaphas gives us to believe he had a religion rather than a relationship with God was . . .he was unresponsive to God’s leading.
A God had given Caiaphas reason upon reason upon reason to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
a Three reasons:
aa Lazarus (Jn. 11.43-46 NASB)
43 When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said* to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." 45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. John 11:43-46 (NASB)
(Remember the story of the rich man & Lazarus? The rich man called out from hell to send "Lazarus" to tell his family about salvation. God did raise a Lazarus!!! Didn’t do any good!)
27 "The rich man said, ’Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father 28 where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’
29 "Abraham answered, ’They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’
30 " ’I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ’but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ 31 "Abraham replied, ’If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’ " Luke 16:27-31 (MSG)
bb Signs & Wonders (Blind, deaf, lame, mute, prostitutes from the whore house to the Lord’s house)
47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, "What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. John 11:47 (NASB)
cc Jesus himself!
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Well, what about it? Did you say that, or didn’t you?" 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God." 64 "Yes," Jesus said, "I am. And in the future you will see me, the Messiah, sitting at the right hand of God and returning on the clouds of heaven." 65,66 Then the high priest tore at his own clothing, shouting, "Blasphemy! What need have we for other witnesses? You have all heard him say it! What is your verdict?" They shouted, "Death!--Death!--Death!" Matt 26:62-65 (TLB)