What Jesus Did! 'Not Under Fear!' — Matthew 21:45-46

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The leading priests and the Pharisees heard these stories that Jesus told. They knew that Jesus was talking about them. They wanted to find a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the people, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.
— Matthew 21:45-46
Illustration of Matthew 21:45-46 —  But they were afraid of the people, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.

Key Thought

Jesus is the one attacked and hated. Jesus is the one who appears powerless. Jesus is the one who is crucified. Jesus is the one without friends in high places. But ... Notice that Jesus is the one who is not afraid. Notice that Jesus is the one who is not looking over his shoulder at his popularity ratings. Notice that Jesus is the one who speaks authoritatively while those in power can only ask questions, plot in dark alleys, and cower in fear of losing their popularity with the crowds. There is a remarkable freedom when passion for God's will floods out fear. Jesus is the one who follows the will of God. He is free to act and speak, even though his faith will lead him to the cross. In the end, it is not the mob, nor the soldiers, nor the chief priests, nor the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council), nor Herod, nor Pilate that place Jesus on the cross. They couldn't do it. They didn't have the power or the courage to do it on their own. Jesus ultimately will go to the cross to fulfill the Father's will and to save us. His fearlessness gives him the freedom to choose the cross. Everyone else in the story is afraid and out of control. Only Jesus chooses his own path. Praise God, praise Jesus, because he used his freedom to die as the sacrifice for our sins!

Today's Prayer

Holy and gracious Father, thank you for giving Jesus the ability to accept or reject your will. Thank you for letting him articulate his human struggles to you and then to us through Scripture. Thank you for his power and boldness to follow your will. Please help me to be less governed and controlled by the crowd and more in tune with your will. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"Tell me what you think about this: There was a man that had two sons. The man went to the first son and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' "The son answered, 'I will not go.' But later the son decided he should go, and the son went. "Then the father went to the other son and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' The son answered, 'Yes, sir, I will go and work.' But the son did not go. "Which of the two sons obeyed his father?" The Jewish leaders answered, "The first son." Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth. {You think} the tax collectors and the prostitutes {are bad people. But they} will enter the kingdom of God before you enter. John came showing you the right way to live. And you did not believe John. But the tax collectors and prostitutes believed John. And you saw that the tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. But you still refused to change and believe him. "Listen to this story: There was a man that owned a vineyard. He put a wall around the field and dug a hole for a wine press. Then the man built a tower. He leased the land to some farmers. Then he left for a trip. Later, it was time for the grapes to be picked. So the man sent his servants to the farmers to get his share of the grapes. "But the farmers grabbed the servants and beat one. They killed another one and then killed a third servant with rocks. So the man sent some other servants to the farmers. The man sent more servants than he sent the first time. But the farmers did the same thing to the servants that they did the first time. So the man decided to send his son to the farmers. The man said, 'The farmers will respect my son.' "But when the farmers saw the son, they said to each other, 'This is the owner's son. This vineyard will be his. If we kill him, then it will be ours!' So the farmers took the son, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. "So what will the owner of the vineyard do to these farmers when he comes?" The Jewish priests and leaderssaid, "He will surely kill those evil men. Then he will lease the land to some other farmers. He will lease it to farmers that will give him his share of the crop at harvest time." Jesus said to them, "Surely you have read this in the Scriptures : 'The stone that the builders did not want became the cornerstone. The Lord did this, and it is wonderful to us.' "So I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you. God's kingdom will be given to people that do the things God wants in his kingdom. The person that falls on this stone will be broken. And if the stone falls on a person, then it will crush that person." The leading priests and the Pharisees heard these stories that Jesus told. They knew that Jesus was talking about them. They wanted to find a way to arrest Jesus. But they were afraid of the people, because the people believed that Jesus was a prophet.

Matthew 21:28-46

Jesus answered, "I will ask you a question. You answer my question. Then I will tell you whose authority I use to do these things. Tell me: When John baptized people, did that come from God or was it only from other people? Answer me!" These Jewish leaders talked about Jesus' question. They said to each other, "If we answer, 'John's baptism was from God,' then Jesus will say, 'Then why didn't you believe John?' But we can't say that John's baptism was from someone else." (These leaders were afraid of the people, because the people believed that John was a prophet. ) So the leaders answered Jesus, "We don't know the answer." Jesus said, "Then I will not tell you what authority I use to do these things."

Mark 11:29-33

It was almost time for the Jewish Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover. The leading priests and teachers of the law were trying to find a quiet way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of what the people would do to them. One of Jesus' twelve apostles was named Judas Iscariot. Satan (the devil) went into Judas and made him do a bad thing. Judas went and talked with the leading priests and some of the soldiers who guarded the temple. Judas talked to them about a way to give Jesus to them. The priests were very happy about this. They promised to give Judas money {if he would give Jesus to them}. Judas agreed. Then Judas waited for the best time to give Jesus to them. Judas wanted to do it when there were no people around to see him do it.

Luke 22:1-6

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.