Our discovery of the truths about Jesus leads us today to evaluate the words of His critics. Why do we focus on what critics are saying about Jesus? We can learn a lot about a person by what his critics say and how he responds.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about criticism:
1. Critical mouths come from an overflow of a critical heart.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
If the heart is joyful, sad, or critical, the persons words will express it.
2. Criticism is defined by the critic.
It is important to keep in mind that what a critic says doesnt necessarily describe the thing he criticizes, but rather himself.
3. If Jesus is criticized, then as His follower you will be, too.
Just as Satan criticized Jesus, Satan is eager to point out our shortcomings and use the same critical tactics on us.
Jesus is criticized harshly and often by the Pharisees in the gospels. But what exactly do His critics say about Him?
1. The Pharisees attempt to discredit Jesus miracles.
By what authority are You doing these things? the chief priests, scribes, and elders ask Jesus in Matthew 21:23. Jesus has been performing miracleshealing the blind and lame and driving out demonsall over the land. Ignoring the impact of the life-changing work Jesus has done, the Pharisees simply want to criticize Him by asking for His credentials. Notice, however, that their goal is only criticism; they dont deny that He has truly performed miracles.
2. Jesus critics plan to use false testimony.
In Matthew 26:59 says, Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death. Why does one seek false testimony? To prove something falsely. Think of this as if a person is on trial for a crime he didnt commit and the only way to convict him of the lie is to bring false evidence against him. False evidence is only needed if the truth actually supports the person in question. In this case, the religious leaders seek to lie about Jesus, so this tells us that Jesus is speaking the truth.
3. There is an attempt to kill Jesus because He claims to be God.
A little further down in verse 65 we read, The high priest tore his clothes, saying, He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses?... Now Jesus critics are angry because Jesus has claimed to be the Son of God. Whether or not these leaders believe the statement or not, their criticism is important because it confirms that Jesus Himself stated that He is Gods Son.
4. The Pharisees plan to sabotage the resurrection.
Jesus has said that three days after His death He will rise again, so now the Pharisees go to great lengths to see that this does not happen. In Mathew 27: 62-64, they approach Pilate and the priest says, Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away Pilate agrees to this and has the tomb sealed and guarded.
But in the end, all the critics efforts to keep Jesus down fail! In fact, their act of sealing and guarding the tomb only serves to prove Jesus resurrection from death; the tomb is empty even though it has been guarded and sealed, so we know that indeed no one has stolen His body, but He has risen from the dead!