And the chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, for all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
Insights: The priests and scribes had turned worship into a manipulative tool in which they controlled people. Worship for them was no longer about God and His creation, but about their power over God’s creation. In Matthew’s gospel of this account there is a verse before the above verse of Mark 11:18. In Matthew’s account he tells us after Jesus cleared the money-changers out the people began coming to Jesus with the sick and infirmed (both physically and spiritually) and Jesus healed them. People were doing exactly what they were created to do, and that was, going to Jesus. So, if these individuals were going to Jesus, then who were they not going to? The priests and scribes—the religious leaders. Instead of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and worshipping Him themselves, all they saw was a man taking “their flock” away from them. After Jesus cleansed the temple courts and the desperate were healed, our verse today tells us these religious leaders were afraid of Jesus. At this point I am not certain they were afraid of Jesus because He was the Son of God, but rather because He was growing in popularity and influence. Their fear was Jesus taking their authority, power, money and lifestyle away when the people began to follow Him and not them. Fear has an amazing way of clouding our vision. Fear prevents us from seeing our situations clearly. Fear can be manifest from many different sources. For these religious leaders the source was their fear of losing power. For us, our fear could be the loss of a loved one. It might even be a fear of financial ruin. Possibly our fear is success itself. Whatever the fear happens to be is irrelevant. What matters are they way fear cripples us from seeing Jesus properly. Fear interferes with our worship. It is important to remember 1 John 4:8b, “God is love.” Coupled with that verse is 1 John 4:18a, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” The point is if we embrace Jesus, like those who were coming to Him for healing, then our fears will be demolished and our worship will not be hindered. We do not have to live a life of fear as these priests and scribes were. We can celebrate and worship God freely and unashamedly and bring Him glory. Let’s not allow fear to hinder our worship of the One deserving of our worship!
- What are your fears that hinder your love for God?
- Are you trapped in a self-destructive habit because of those fears?
Prayer: Merciful Father, You are love and the Scriptures tell us perfect love cast out all fear. Transform my life from one of fear to one of worship. Amen.