“Then the Pharisees went out
and laid plans to trap him in his words.”
Matthew 22:15 (NIV)
“So from that day on they plotted to take his life.” John 11:53 (NIV)
It is tragic to read of how the hatred of the religious leaders fuelled their hostility toward Jesus. Many times they sought to make Him stumble in His words. Sometimes they would pose a trick question to Him. One time they asked Him if it was lawful to pay tax to Caesar or not.
If Jesus said it was right to pay taxes to Rome—they would accuse Him before the Jews of supporting the much despised Roman occupational forces. If Jesus said the Jews should not pay taxes to Rome—they could then go to the Roman authorities and accuse Him of being a traitor Who was teaching the people to rebel against them. They were not looking for an answer, just an opportunity to create problems for Him.
So our Lord suffered a lot of opposition to the good work He was doing for the people. It is one thing when we are criticized for what we did that was wrong. It is something else to be hated because we seek to walk with the Lord and do His will. Jesus experienced a lot of opposition because of His good works.
John 11:53 is in the context of Jesus having just raised Lazarus from the dead. The enemies of our Lord had long looked for a way to prove that Jesus was a fake, an impostor. Had Lazarus not really been raised from the dead by Jesus they would have pounced on the matter to show Jesus up as a phoney.
But, as it was, they knew very well that Jesus had truly raised a man from the dead. This good work caused many of the people to believe in Jesus (John 11:45). Those who hated our Lord realized that they had to stop Him quickly or else Jesus would have all the people following Him and their authority and rule of the people would be removed.
Perhaps you have experienced some of what Jesus did. People in your Christian community are jealous of your work and so they criticize you in public. They use any possible means to destroy your work. They magnify the mistakes you make and, by doing so, they seek to ruin your good reputation.
Be like Jesus and go on doing good in spite of the opposition toward you. Remember that your Master also walked this difficult road before you did. Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”