Religion Killed Jesus
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of “Holy Week” if you are Christian, and the beginning of Passover, if you are Jewish. Two faiths inextricably linked, through the person of Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth.
Palm Sunday marks the entrance of Yeshua into Jerusalem seated on a donkey. The crowds were overjoyed at his arrival, and laid palms before him crying Hosanna! Hosanna being a salutation of expectant hope and joy, a praise of salvation.
The jubilant reception didn’t last long.
Within twenty-four hours Yeshua, Jesus, had overturned the tables of the merchants in the temple. Driving out the wheelers and dealers, who had converted the temple of God, the Holy Sanctuary, into a money changers pop up store.
The threat Jesus posed to the religious establishment, to business as usual, and specifically their revenue stream, was too great a threat to allow to persist. In less than a week Jesus, would be falsely accused, tried, absolved of wrong doing by Pilate, and tried again only to have Pilate say, “I find no fault in him, you choose who should die, the murderer Barabas, or the Rabbi, Jesus.”
The establishment chose to kill Jesus.
Many people blame the Sanhedrin and the Jewish people in general for crucifying Jesus. For putting to death the Son of Man, and Savior of the world, and the historical evidence confirms some truth in that, but the facts alone don't tell the whole truth.
The spirit of religion killed Jesus.
Religion killed Jesus then, and is killing him now, in the lives of so many people, believers and unbelievers alike. Let me explain.
Religion blots out the truth of who Jesus is, and creates a veil of ideology, denomination, and hierarchy. It focuses on rules and traditions of men, of works, and the myriad ministries orchestrating men’s “saving of people” (or even saving America, neither of which we are called to do) through various means. Such as, confessions, pleadings and penances, often through intermediaries, or sowing seeds for ‘increase’ in various amounts. A $1,000 seed being a particularly popular one. It can also include supporting overseas missions, going on mission trips, funding new aircraft and lavish lifestyles, paying for candles, favor, prayers, holy water, and oil from Israel. Attending church conferences and revivals, advertised as “experiences,” that bypass the heart and go straight for emotion. They culminate with an hour of power every Sunday morning, promptly returning to business as usual on Monday.
But Religion is conspicuously quiet about the purpose of Christ’s birth, tortured death, and triumphant resurrection. With little attention to what it means to do more than believe in Jesus, but to actually follow him, the vast majority of believers are merely confessors. They have no idea of The Way, to live an abundant life. The one that He came to give us.
What good is belief, without following The Way, the Truth and the Life of the One who gives it? Satan believes in Jesus too, but he is certainly not going to spend eternity with him. Belief alone does not produce relationship, or an overcomer.
Why would anyone outside of the church, want to follow Jesus if they don't see the evidence of abundance, of the fruit of the spirit, in the lives of “believers?” Why would they want to join another dysfunctional family, where hypocrisy and competing with the world for material gain is rampant?
The Church digressed into religion and lost the truth, its identity, and the seminal point of relationship with Christ millennia ago. Relationship is a one to one proposition that starts with the person of Jesus.
“Holy week” is a commemorative term for the most significant event in human history, but we are called to live a holy life.
So in this week of faithful reflection, you might describe yourself as a Christian, but you must ask yourself, who are you following, Jesus, or religion?