Power And Privilege

Scripture

If we let Him {Jesus} go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in Him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”

~John 11:48, MSG

Quote

What men prize most is a privilege, even if it is to be the chief mourner at a funeral.

~James Russel Lowell

The blogs are daily devotions but now and again, I will do a political rant. Of course, I do not consider this either political or a rant but I promise, it will be considered such by some. I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of John 11:48 and I fully believe that he hit the nail on the head. Caiaphas had called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. The raising of Lazarus from the dead was upsetting to the Jewish religious leaders. In response, Caiaphas convened the high court to discuss the matter. They perceived Jesus as a threat to their tiny empire. The Romans ran the government so the Jews had lost the privilege of ruling themselves but the Romans allowed them to observe their religion. Civil cases were handled by the Romans and religious cases were relegated to the Jews. This meant the Jews were free to run the Temple which was a huge money making scheme. The Temple and the High Court were controlled by the Sadducees. They were not the majority but they were the richest and the most corrupt. The Sadducees were driven by their lust for power and privilege.

How does one come to gain such power and privilege that the Sadducees possessed and cherished? The answer is money or wealth. They believed that money makes the world go round. Their philosophy was simple: if you acquire enough money: you will have power and privilege. The Jews as a whole were religious people and prone to ritual. Visiting the Temple was a big deal and so were the sacrifices, vows, and purification rites. All of these things required money. The Sadducees had an intricate system set up: first, they took only Jewish money [coins] but the Jews had to use Roman coins in everyday life so they kept no Jewish coins on hand. The Sadducees had their money changers set up like a bank and they exchanged Jewish coins for Romans, at a fee of course. The upper echelon of the priest were Sadducee and they graded the sacrificial animals. They would reject the animals that people brought by finding a defect: then they would have buyers waiting to buy the animal at a discount while they charged full price for a new animal. A few days later, they would sale the rejected animal as a sacrifice. Twice Jesus came in and threw them out: this really hurt their business. Thus, they hated Jesus and wanted to do away with him.

If you have any intellect at all, you probably believe the above to be true but what I can’t seem to get folks to believe is that nothing has changed. We still have these same power hungry aristocratic Jews to contend with today. Michael Bloomberg spent 188 million dollars on his recent presidential campaign. Of his 55 billion in total assets, he had given away over 8 billion but not to charities as we know them. All of his so called charities are politically motivated, like the millions he gives to fight coal mining of the millions he spends on lawyers to fight Trump policies. What about the poor Jews in Eastern Europe? Or the poor Jews in Israel–if not poor, lower middle class? What about World Vision or Samaritan Purse or any relief organization? The starving Jews in Eastern Europe could have used that 188 million he threw to the wind. Bloomberg is a Sadducee. He does not believe in Jesus, the bible or a resurrection. He believes in money and power. I am telling you, nothing has changed.

I have 17,000 steps on my fitbit and it is not even dark. Had a ball working with Mandy and the crew yesterday. I think they made over 40 deliveries: Kudos to DBC and their feeding team. What a great idea; I think we will borrow it and put it into action at GPBC. Ministry is fun: there is nothing like it. Belinda and April, we are going to do ours a little differently next week: I will tell you all about later.

We get mixed reports but it appears the virus is getting worse in our part of the country. I heard yesterday that there are 18 confirmed cases in Morgan County. If you are afraid but don’t want anyone to know, Franklin Graham and the BGEA has a hot line to call. Let me just share Franklin’s exact words….

If you are struggling with worry in the midst of this crisis, call us at 888-388-2683β€”or share this number with your loved ones, friends, or others on social media. We know that prayer does make a difference. This line is open 24/7 and your call will be in complete confidence. Grace Point Baptist Church is thankful to be a financial partner with BGEA. I pray for Franklin and Will everyday. America should be thankful for the Graham family.

It is a little early to be posting but I have had another long day and when I get in and shower, you’ll be able to stick a fork in me cause I will be done.

God bless you have a great day and don’t read this until Tuesday morning.

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