It is these pastors that decided to sacrifice Jesus. And their descendants are the pastors currently running our churches.
Jesus is our redeemer. But from whom exactly does he redeem us? Does it make sense to presume he redeems us from God?
Some terrorists kidnapped a rich man’s children and held them hostage; asking for a ransom before they could be released? When the incident was reported in the press, they said it was their father who kidnapped them. That is ludicrous. It only shows the press is controlled by the kidnappers.
A father does not kidnap his own children, demand a ransom for their release and then pay the ransom himself to himself. God is not the wicked one who holds men hostage. But he is the loving Father who ransoms his children. “For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion.” (Jeremiah 31:11-12).
It is the devil who keeps men in bondage. It is Jesus who comes to set the captives free. Jesus says: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).
Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. He is the door by which we escape from bondage to eternal life. He is the gate by which we pass from death to life. Jesus says: “(God) has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors.” (Luke 4:18).
Men are imprisoned by our sins. But God is not our jailer. God says: “Which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? For your iniquities you have sold yourselves.” (Isaiah 50:1). We are the ones who sell ourselves into bondage; and we sell ourselves to men and not to God.
We are also held in bondage because of our ignorance. God says: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6). Therefore, Jesus promises to provide the knowledge that opens the prison-doors to those in captivity. He says: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).
Jesus redeems us from the wicked. God says: “Among my people are found wicked men; they lie in wait as one who sets snares; they set a trap; they catch men.” (Jeremiah 5:26). Wicked men, acting knowingly or unknowingly as the agents of the devil, hold other men in bondage to sin.
Therefore, Jesus gives charge to the redeemed to redeem others: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.” (Matthew 10:16-17).
It is important to determine the precise identity of those wolves that are of the utmost concern to Jesus here. According to him, they are “ferocious” although in “sheep’s clothing.” (Matthew 7:15). They have their own synagogues and even refer to Jesus as “Lord.” But this means nothing. Jesus says: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:20-21).
That means today they will be Christians, for Christians are the ones who proclaim Jesus as Lord. Indeed, these wolves are most likely to be the pastors of our churches. Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10). What the thief steals, kills and destroys is our very relationship with God. Jesus reveals that God himself is defined by the resurrection of that destroyed relationship. (John 11:25). Jesus is the giver of the life of eternal fellowship with God. Thus, Jesus declares: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).
The key people who steal God from our hearts are our priests and pastors. They are the ones who are determined to displace God and become the gods of our lives. They are the ones who fill our heads with false notions about God. They use the name of God to rob us blind. They use religion to turn us into zombies. “They are as greedy as dogs, never satisfied. They are stupid pastors, all following their own path, all of them intent on personal gain.” (Isaiah 56:11).
Jesus’ life is the ransom given to redeem us from these pastors who shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for they won’t enter or let others enter.” (Matthew 23:13). Jesus himself was hounded by these evil men. It was these men: the chief priests and the scribes; the pastors and bishops and popes of Jesus’ day, who plotted against him and handed him over to the Roman authorities to be killed. (Mark 10:32-34).
Then and now, it is these pastors that are the thieves and the robbers of God in our lives. Then and now, it is these pastors that are Jesus killers. It is these pastors that decided to sacrifice Jesus. And their descendants are the pastors currently running our churches.
Jesus endangered the exalted positions of these evil men. He subjected them to ridicule. He provided original interpretations of the Law of Moses contrary to theirs. He disrupted their sacrificial system in the temple. Moreover, God backed up his words with great signs and wonders. The priests and the pastors reasoned that if Jesus’ ministry was not terminated with extreme prejudice, they would soon lose their privileged status in society.
They were convinced that if Jesus was not silenced, all the people they had kept in spiritual bondage would be set at liberty. The more Jesus preached, the more people came to see the light. The more he preached, the more he opened prison doors. The more he preached, the less regard the people had for their pastors. Therefore, they had to kill him in order to protect their selfish interests.
After he died, they put the people back into captivity by claiming he died for their sins. In truth, they killed him in the bid to cover their own sins. They reasoned that a dead Jesus would cease to be a threat to their churches of lies and falsehood. But then God confounded their plans by raising Jesus gloriously from the dead.
Jesus healed a sick man by telling him to get up and carry his bed. However, the priests said it is unlawful to carry a bed on the Sabbath. Whose report should he believe? The redeemed must believe the report of the Lord. It is the Lord who ransoms us from the power of the grave; and redeems us from death. (Hosea 13:14). Therefore the healed of the Lord should beware of the hypocrisy of those who now sit in Moses’ seat.
Jesus warns: “Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23:3-4).