Sermons

Summary: The Pharisees desire for power blinds them to the point where they acknowledge Jesus is doing miracles but still want to kill Him! What can we learn from their lust for power?

THE PHARISEES WANT TO KILL THE GUY DOING MIRACLES: Power creates blind spots.

- John 11:47-48, 53.

- The connection between v. 47 and v. 53 is almost unbelievable.

- In v. 47, the Pharisees admit that Jesus is doing many miraculous signs.

- Yet in v. 53 they plot to take Jesus’ life.

- What in the world?

- If we didn’t know human nature, we might be inclined to consider this story a poorly-composed fiction.

- But v. 48 brings the connection into clear focus: Jesus was threatening their power.

- Taking away their place refers to their power within society. Taking away their nation refers to the end of Israel. In both cases, the Pharisees presumed that they were the key to God being able to redeem the whole situation.

- Power creates blind spots.

- Here, the Pharisees cannot accurately see what’s going on because their power has them blinded.

- Three examples:

a. A church with spiritually immature power brokers.

- In many struggling churches (and especially in perpetually broken ones), you have spiritually immature people in charge. They resolve issues in destructive ways. They handle problems with worldly wisdom.

- They are the reason that the church continues to struggle or fail. It can be directly tied to their behavior.

- And yet if you were to ask them about their church, they see themselves as the ones who are holding everything together and the heroes of the story. If anything, in their own estimation, the problem isn’t that they have too much power but that they don’t have enough.

- They think they are the only reason the church is still alive when in fact they are the reason the church is almost dead. They have no idea that probably the best thing that could happen to the church is a few prominent funerals.

- Their power has blinded them.

b. America and prominent evangelicals.

- A similar dynamic is presently happening nationally as I just described in that church.

- There is so much emphasis on “winning America back” and the political work that needs to be done to achieve that. There is much thought and effort put into winning the culture war.

- As I have documented extensively before, the result of these efforts has been the ruining of the witness of the church in America as well as a failure to “win America back.” Nonetheless, prominent evangelical leaders presume that they are the last line of defense before America completely falls into godlessness.

- In reality, their removal from positions of authority and prominence would actually be a big step forward, yet they think they are the last line of defense.

c. A Christian’s personal life.

- The idea applies to many Christian’s personal lives as well.

- Whether it’s work, money, or some other measure, many Christians presume that God wants them to have more power and influence. It just seems a natural step for them to presume that God wants to prosper and increase them.

- While thinking that, they don’t consider whether their life is actually impacting their world for Christ. No, they just presume they need more influence.

A KEY MISTAKE: If we are on God’s team then it has to be God’s will for our power to increase.

- John 11:48.

- This verse clearly brings out the power dimension of the issue that we are looking at tonight. It shows the consequence that they fear – and it has to do with a loss of power for them.

- Note the progression in the verse:

a. If we don’t do anything then Jesus is going to get more popular.

b. If He gets more popular then the Romans will take away our power.

- What exactly is meant by “our place and our nation”?

- “Our place” refers to the position of respect and power that they held within Jewish society at that time. Sure, it was limited because the Romans were ultimately calling the shots, but that doesn’t mean that the Jewish leaders did not have substantial say in certain areas.

- “Our nation” refers to the Jewish nation. The religious leaders presumed that a loss of power for them would inevitably spell doom for the nation.

- All of this leads us back to the point on your sermon outline.

- The Pharisees were absolutely certain that they were on “God’s team,” so to speak. Because they were God’s guys, then it had to be God’s will for their power to increase (or, at least, not diminish).

- This is a mistake many believers have made down through the years.

- Let’s go back and unpack the three examples from the opening point in light of this.

a. A church with spiritually immature power brokers.

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