Valuing and Honoring Jesus Christ Above All Else
Jesus Christ is proclaimed to all creation. He is to be withheld from no one (against Hyper-Calvinism). Lifted high is the Son of God and perfect Man. The cry of the preacher is, “Look at the Savior!” The problem with Jesus is that He makes all men look bad, and when they look bad they feel bad. When they feel bad, they endeavor to change the way they feel. Often, this leads to devaluing and dishonoring Jesus.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for the price of a slave that had been gored by an ox (Ex 21:32). Thirty pieces of silver was an insult. Those who paid the money to Judas, in fulfillment of prophetic Scriptures (Jer 18; 19:3, 11; Zech 11:12), demonstrated their utter disdain for their rival. Jesus was worthless to them. It is true that He healed none of them, gave sight to none of those blind guides, forgave none of their sins, and raised none of them from the dead. Jesus left them in their trespasses and sins, and they hated Him for it.
Men hate Jesus without a cause (Jn 15:25). He has never done wrong to anyone. Even when He enfleshed at the incarnation, He was without sin (Heb 4:15). He is good, and He did good works without number. The envy of wicked men is a deep-rooted sin in their corrupt hearts (Jer 17:9). It is impossible to compete with perfection, so the natural, sinful option is to destroy the competition.
Attempting to destroy Jesus or His church invariably goes awry. Those who endeavor to crush the Christ of God or His body of believers will meet their own demise. Judas committed self-murder. The Jewish nation was beaten down and scattered by the Romans in A.D. 70. In the end times, it will not go well for those who oppose the conquering King of glory, at His second advent.
Where do you stand in these matters? Do you value Jesus Christ, as you should? Judas knew Jesus as well as anyone of the other eleven. He was privy to miracle after miracle, Bible study with perfect interpretation, and even a bit of popularity. The rural folk loved Jesus (a hometown exception), especially, while the urban dwellers were less convinced. When faced with the popular election between Barabbas and Jesus, the stark contrast could not have been more enlightened.
Barabbas was a robber and a murderer (Mk 15:7; Jn 18:40). He was worldly, ambitious. He represented darkness like few do. He was set against the One, in whom Pontius Pilate found no guilt (Jn 18:38). Pilate rightly referred to Jesus as Messiah. Jesus made Pilate uncomfortable because the governor was face to face with pure Light, unwavering Truth, and pristine Holiness. Politicians still do not like King Jesus for these same reasons.
Politics overruled justice in the case of Barabbas versus Jesus. Defy the King of kings and justice will return with a vengeance (see Revelation). Pilate was later removed, exiled, and committed suicide because he mismanaged the Jews. General Titus later came in to clean up the mess. He became emperor.
There is no means by which any abstain from the vote regarding Barabbas and Jesus. People are still voting between them, today, in the valley of decision. The kingdom of this world remains in rebellion against the kingdom of God. It will continue, until the full number of God’s elect have been brought into Christ, and then, He will return to execute final judgment on His enemies (Mt 24:14).
Friend, the sovereign King of the universe employs preachers, to call all men everywhere to repent of their sins against Him (Acts 17:30). Have you done that? The sovereign also demands your faith-filled allegiance to Jesus Christ (Heb 11:6), who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18). Will you kiss the Son in betrayal, as did Judas (Lk 22:48), or in humble submission, to the One who holds your place in eternity (Ps 2:12)? This is what it means to fear God.
First, you must value Him above all else. God values Jesus and is well-pleased with Him (Mt 3:17). Why would you value Jesus any different? God has given Jesus the name above all other names (Phil 2:9), to the effect that every knee will bow to Jesus, either today or on the Day of Judgment (Is 45:23; Phil 2:10). If you truly value the Son, you will gladly submit to Him.
Second, look at the competition to the perfection of the Son of Man. How will you fare with Him versus a life and death void of Him (See Eph 2:12)? If you knew the team to win this season’s World Cup or World Series, and you were assigned to that team mid-season, would you be so perverse as to miss out on the glory to follow?
Christ was victorious in defeating all competitors, at the cross. You know Him to be the ultimate Dread Champion (Jer 20:11), who always leads in triumph (2 Cor 2:14) over sin, death, the devil, and his world system. By His grace, alone, He gives faith to His chosen followers (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29). As a result, they value Him above their own lives. They love Christ, and loathe Barabbas, the wrongfully released criminal.
On this day and from this time forth and forever, who will you and your house serve? Examine yourself to see that you are in the faith, and if you find yourself apart from Christ (Jn 15:5), then do not delay…flee to Christ. Do you hear His voice calling you to come to Him (Jn 10:27)? He will in no way cast you out, if you go to Him (Jn 6:37), repentant, seeking mercy and forgiveness. Humble yourself before Almighty God (2 Chron 34:27). Cry out to Him, calling on His name, for the King has issued His summons, and you must value and honor His command with expedience. By His grace, you will. Without His grace, you will not.
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 4, 2022