Sunday, April 14, 2024

A modern story of faith

by PASTOR BUD McCONNAUGHEY / Contributing Writer
| March 29, 2024 1:00 AM

There were four powerful groups allied against one man. Most of the time these groups were so opposed to each other that no two of them could agree on the color of the sky on a clear day, but hatred for this one man brought them together. They had to get him out of the way.

Various strategies were tried. False charges and false witnesses fell apart. The witnesses just were not smart enough to get their stories to agree. They tried implicating him in a moral question that would discredit him. Again, he answered them. They walked away starting with the oldest first. Young hotheads are much easier to sway. Perhaps getting him in trouble with governmental powers was the way. Yes, that’s it. Let’s see if he can be implicated with tax evasion. His answer to the charges dumbfounded them.

It was frustrating. Every time he was able to answer and their hopes of getting him out of the way would stumble. There’s a last ploy. Getting him out of the way isn’t enough. We have got to kill him and one or two others as well. One of his friends was particularly dangerous to have around since he was supposed to be dead. Here he was walking around not dead. Let’s take it to the highest governmental authority with some charges and we’ll pay some witnesses to corroborate these false charges. We’ll state it is treason and a capital offense. We’ll stir up the crowds to scream for execution.

It worked! He was arrested and the jailors abused him horribly without any evidence or conviction. He was to appear before the judge the next day. The judge was an outsider. He wasn’t for the prosecution or the defendant. He could see these were drummed up charges and it was envy and hatred. No matter. He just wanted to maintain order and stay in favor with the powers that governed.

Since the accusers had a bigger crowd and seemed more influential, I’ll give them what they want and agree with capital punishment, thought the judge. The judge’s wife even sent him a message that read she had received evidence the man was completely innocent. Charges should be dismissed, and he should be set free. This was getting out of hand. If rumors of chaos and riots reached international headquarters in Europe, then heads would roll, and the judge wanted to make sure his head wasn’t among them. Let’s get this done quickly. The conviction and execution order were expedited. It’s done.

What’s this? He’s alive?

Can you guess who the parties are? The defendant is Jesus of Nazareth. The prosecution — the Pharisees, Sadducees, Hellenists, and Zealots. The judge — Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea. International headquarters is Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire.

I hope I inspired you to go read more about it in the book that has withstood critics and revisionists for more than 2000 years. The earliest portions of the Old Testament are twice as old. There are thousands of manuscripts and portions of the Bible, more than any other book in antiquity by the way. People who tried to prove it false converted when they examined the evidence objectively and honestly.

So, we, as a nation, have been actively rejecting the Bible and Judeo-Christian values since 1962 when prayer and the Bible were banned from public school. Tell me how much better things are now. Less violence? Less divorce? Less suicide? Less abuse? Less drugs and alcohol? Less crime? Less chaos?

What I see is more of all of these things along with more hopelessness, more fear, more broken families, and more trauma. So, how’s this working out for us as a people?

Oh yeah, now somebody will bring up religious wars. So, the 20th Century had more carnage and death than any other century in history. The architects of death were the declared atheists Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler. Communists and socialists all. Nazi stands for National Socialist. Tell me how great this is working out.

Bud McConnaughey serves on the staff of North Summit Church, 201 N. Division, Sandpoint.