When Yeshua was preaching in Jerusalem, thousands of people came to hear him, as did thousands when he was wandering from one Judean town to another.
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Yet, despite there being thousands who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised to send, after the Sanhedrin found him guilty of a capital crime and the power elite in Jerusalem aroused the crowds to ask for his death, the people followed their lead and called for his crucifixion.
Have you ever asked yourself, “If they knew he was the Messiah, why didn’t they rebel against the Sanhedrin to save Yeshua’s life?”
Most people will say because they didn’t want to be thrown out of the temple or made into a social pariah. In fact, we read in the Gospels how many who followed Yeshua were doing so in secret because the people had been told that anyone following Yeshua would be excommunicated.
But there may have been a different reason.
In John 11:47 we read that the Cohen HaGadol, Caiaphas, suggested that Yeshua be killed in order to save the people. The leaders of Judea were deathly afraid that because of the commotion being stirred up in the city and around the Temple, Rome would come down hard on the people and possibly no longer allow them to practice Judaism. You see, Judea was a rare example of Rome allowing the inhabitants to maintain their religion; normally, when Rome took over, the populace was forced to practice the Roman paganist religion. There were Roman soldiers stationed throughout the land, and especially around the Temple, so any commotion or public unrest, such as Yeshua throwing out the money changers or the argumentation between people about accepting or rejecting him, could cause Rome to no longer allow Judaism to be practiced. Besides the obvious horror that would cause, it also would mean the members of all the Sanhedrins and the Temple officials (meaning all the Levites and Cohanim) would be out of a job.
Alright, then, that explains why the leadership wanted him dead, but that doesn’t fully answer why the people didn’t rebel against their leaders when they believed Yeshua to be the Messiah.
I believe the answer is in the Torah.
In the Book of Deuteronomy (D’varim), Chapter 17 is one of the places Moses is instructing the people about their need to rid Israel of anyone who is rejecting God’s instructions, laws, commandments, or regulations. He also states that any case which is too difficult for the local judges is to be brought before the Cohanim where God places his name, which (eventually) would be the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.
Now, here is where the answer to the question of why the people didn’t revolt against the Sanhedrin is found. In Deuteronomy 17: 12, Moses gives this command to the people:
Anyone presumptuous enough not to pay attention to the cohen appointed there to serve Adonai your God or to the judge — that person must die.
Wow! The Torah says that anyone who goes against the decision of the judges, which in this case is the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, is to be killed. Not just excommunicated, as the Gospels infer, but killed!
And Yeshua had just been tried and convicted by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, who were calling for his death.
No wonder there was no outcry of “Unjust!” or “Down with the Sanhedrin!” The Torah, itself, forbade anyone to rebel against the judgment of the court. Even though those courts were not really filled with Cohanim, who were Levites, but often enough with political “hacks” who were appointed by Herod, the least qualified king Israel ever saw. Herod was not a descendant of David, and many of the members of the Sanhedrin throughout the land were not Levites or Cohanim, but political appointees. In the writings of Josephus, he records that Caiaphas was made high priest by the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus after Simon ben Camithus had been deposed.
Maybe, now, we can better understand why there was no civil upheaval or rebellion against the Sanhedrin, and why the people were behind the call for Yeshua to be crucified.
The Judeans weren’t against Yeshua: they were obeying what is written in the Torah.
Talk about irony.
It was just the other day when I read that verse in Deuteronomy and the Ruach (Spirit) gave me this connection, and since then I am convinced that the people who did accept Yeshua as the Messiah were between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they knew he was sent by God and that rejecting him was tantamount to rejecting God; on the other hand, they knew that to disobey the Torah was also to reject God. There was no way they could win, so they went with what made the most sense at the time, and obeyed the Torah. This did, also, keep them from being socially ostracized and excommunicated from the temple.
Eventually, as we all know, the followers of Yeshua continued to grow, and as more Gentiles entered into salvation through Messiah Yeshua, the teachings of Yeshua became more polluted, misunderstood, and eventually mutated into the form of Christianity we have today, which is nothing like what Yeshua taught but what Constantine created in 325 C.E.
But that, my friends, is a different story.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!