“The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.”
Within this sentence we find the flawed process in which the Pharisees relied upon in order to accuse and sentence Jesus to death. They took counsel…among themselves. That is, among like minded or single-minded individuals that had an inherent interest in putting Jesus to death.
In the business world there is an old saying that goes something like this, “when two people always agree then one is not necessary.”
I don’t know about you, but I have participated in many meetings that were a waste of time. In my previous post, I had the unfortunate obligation to attend a weekly meeting that would last for hours, at times literally four hours! It was a waste of time not because it was long but because honest and thoughtful points of view were not really welcomed, questions were never really encouraged and therefore progress was never really made. The final decisions were usually made in the unofficial “after meeting” meeting, attended by only the boss of the day and the one who hoped to be the boss some day.
In Scripture, one notices immediately that there is never any dissension among the wicked. The greatest tragedy to befall the Pharisees was their lack of ideas. G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “Ideas are a dangerous thing, especially for those who have no ideas.” Therefore, the free flow of ideas must be stifled by legal maneuvering or downright nasty threats! Once I told my boss, “Don’t give me the argument of your power, but the power of your argument!” I was moved to another ministry the following year.
What happened two thousand years ago continues today. Recently, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) secured a court order that halted a New York City ordinance from going into affect. The ordinance, supported by pro-abortion groups and the city’s mayor, threatened non-medical, pro-life pregnancy service centers with heavy fines and possible closure if they did not provide posted, printed, and oral notices crafted by the city that encouraged women to go elsewhere!
This ordinance was the fruit of like minded (selfish), business driven (greedy) and highly educated and politically crafty (prideful) individuals coming together to regulate free speech in order to achieve their own twisted ends. And in this case, they failed. A federal court sided with ADF and halted the ordinance. Even more, the court was critical of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s defense of the city ordinance: “Given the NYCLU’s usual concern for First Amendment rights, its amicus brief supporting the city’s view…is puzzling.”
It’s not puzzling at all for like-minded (selfish, greedy and prideful) individuals to want to suppress the free speech of others when the other side’s arguments are stronger than their own. It is a lesson we continue to learn.
What I enjoy reading most in Sacred Scripture are the arguments, the debates and honest and frank discussions we find with those who pray and worship God. Moses was continually debating with God while he was continually being attacked by his own men. Job was furious with God, and Job was righteous in God’s eyes! His friends “sided with God” and were absolutely wrong! God is not pleased with those who speak in His name without asking Him! The Lord’s Apostles were constantly questioning Christ’s wisdom and decisions. Peter openly questioned the Lord. Thomas openly doubted the Lord. John openly curried favor with the Lord. You have it all! And it has been a huge success ever since!
Throughout history there have been men who spoke in God’s name but did not seek Him. Individuals such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, John Lenin, Fr. Martin Luther, Fr. John Calvin and Fr. John Wesley considered themselves as a one man army, a one man band, and a one man nation. But in the end, the lie came apart, pulled by the thread of truth.
Sometimes God’s will will not always agree with my will. Sometimes God’s ideas will not correspond to mine. Let us be careful that pride, greed and selfish interests do not hinder the work of God in our lives. Let us seek counsel with those who do not always agree with us. It’s okay to have debates. “Truths turn into dogmas the instant they are disputed…We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us.” (G.K. Chesterton)