Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
The Pharisees had kept a close watch on this man Jesus. Everywhere He went, they were there, waiting to see what He would do. They saw Him perform miracles and heard Him speak the words of truth. They opposed Him at every turn, condemned Him for healing and helping, and sought to trip Him up on any occasion. Then the Pharisees make their final choice when confronted with the person of Jesus Christ—the long-sought-after Messiah, the very Son of God. They decide they will plot to put Him to death. So with their heart decision made, Jesus walks no more among them. Their fate is sealed within their stone-cold denial of Christ.
The same is true for us today. We’re all confronted with Jesus and what He has done for us. We witness the same miracles in the pages of Scripture and read the words He spoke. We see His love and compassion as He heals the multitudes and spends time with sinners. We see His power over the forces of nature as He calms the storm and walks on water. We see His power over sickness and even His power to raise people from death to life.
We stand beside the Pharisees and watch Jesus brought before Pilate. We see Him mocked and beaten. We see Him bearing His cross through the crowded street, past the scorners and the curious, up the hill. We see the nails hammered in, the blood flow, the cross raised up. He looks out upon the multitude, makes eye contact with each of us. There we are confronted with the question of what we will do with this man Jesus. He is there because of us, dying for our sins, suffering beyond imagination in our place, taking the punishment we deserve.
He gives His life. He is buried and rises again in power and glory. He lives today and seeks the answer from each of us. Will we stand beside the Pharisees and plot to put Him to death? Will we close our hearts to Him and His love, to the salvation He offers? Will we force Him from our presence into the wilderness in complete rejection? Or will we decide to let Him into our hearts to dwell within us until we can meet Him face-to-face? Will we accept this man called Jesus? He wants us to. He wants us close to Him because He loves us dearly, more fully than anyone else can love. He walks no more among those who reject Him, but He dwells continually with His own.