Today's Reading: Matthew 27, Mark 15
Today, I decided to follow a group of characters not usually followed in these passages. Check out the priests and you can understand why the people were oppressed, not just by the Romans, but by the very ones who were called to shepherd the flock of Israel.
#1 Priests are supposed to be "Holy to the LORD." The band upon their foreheads declares this. Their loyalty to God is compromised as soon as they begin to plot and scheme against an innocent brother of theirs. Like the older brothers of Joseph, these jealous priests wish death for their kinsman and sell him to foreigners as worse than a slave.
#2 Priests are supposed to be in the business of reconciliation, mediation and forgiveness by overseeing the confessions and sacrifices of their people. Judas comes, siezed by remorse, repentant and in need of forgiveness. He comes to the priests. He falls on his knees and begs for mercy. The priests turn their noses up at him and say, "What is that to us? It is your responsibility!" WRONG! The Holy Spirit worked on his heart, brought him to the place of repentance and the priests shirk their duty of compassion and love. I believe it will be easier on Judas on the day of judgment than for the priests.
#3 Priests are supposed to follow the laws of Moses. They break one of the ten commandments as they bear false witness against one of their own. They stir the crowd and misuse their power for political gain. They stand on the side of a violent criminal and do not protect their people.
#4 Priests are supposed to honor God in all things. Instead, they mock God, laughing at God, baring their teeth and snarling like dogs.
Poorly done, Priests. May God have mercy on your souls.