The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Mountains of Bashan, #15

But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. (John 12:10,11)

One wonders at the mental processes of men who made a profession of belief in God, seeking to kill a man who had been raised from the dead because the miracle was threatening their position as leaders of God's people.

Lord Jesus, deliver us from such blindness. Make us lovers of truth. Drive from our personality the mountains of Bashan.

Jesus of Nazareth was an exemplary rabbi. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. No one, including Pontius Pilate, could find any wickedness in Him.

Yet, the hills of Bashan persisted until Pilate felt compelled to crucify Him in one of the most outstanding miscarriages of justice in the history of the world.

Cain, Korah, and Absalom would understand the motives of the chief priests. So would countless other ambitious men and women. Personal ambition, choosing to do our own will instead of God's will, is the source of the anguish of the creation. Sin is a bondage, a chain. Personal ambition is the murderer of the prophets, of Christ.

Jesus was not murdered by the Jews but by the spirit of envy in the religious leaders, by the mountain of Bashan that dwells in all who imitate and usurp the place of God.

The Adversaries of Paul

One may note in the Scriptures the tendency of the Lord to entrust important work to one individual. The Scriptures to a great extent are the record of individuals to whom God appeared.

Noah, Abraham, Moses, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul the Apostle—these are among the stars that to this day guide God's elect.

The gift given to the Apostle Paul was remarkable. To him alone, apparently, was entrusted the understanding of the transition from Moses to Christ. The subtle distinction between keeping the Torah when written on stone and keeping the Torah when written on the heart was presented clearly by Paul, but misunderstood and perverted to their own destruction by Christians to the present day.

The revelation of the Body of Christ, an important topic of Paul's exhortations, was mentioned by no other writer.

What if Paul had failed!

Whenever God chooses a man as He did Paul and entrusts him with the wealth of the Kingdom of God, we can be sure that the mountains of Bashan will spring to their feet. "If Paul can explain the new covenant, so can we—and in a much better fashion. Why should Paul receive all the credit? Paul has many faults. We can do a superior job. If we can convince the Gentiles that Paul is not worthy of their reverence and love, maybe they will turn to us."

There were many Jewish teachers who believed Jesus to be Christ. They wanted to show their superiority to Paul so the Gentiles would acknowledge their learning and high status in the Kingdom of God. A substantial part of Paul's writings were defenses of his apostleship against men who never had been sent to the churches by the Lord Jesus. The faithful "Cushite," Paul, had been sent by the Lord. The Judaizers, like Ahimaaz, also desired to run. They brought confusion to the churches in their desire for preeminence.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (II Corinthians 11:13)

To be continued.