It was one, two, three strikes and they were out. The mission was an utter failure, but the lessons are clear.
Jesus was teaching at the feast of tabernacles and many believed on Him, but the Jews, the religious hierarchy didn’t like what was happening, so John wrote in 7:32 “So the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest Jesus. But then John wrote in 7:42, “Finally the temple guards went back to the temple priest and Pharisees who asked them, why you didn’t bring in Jesus? The temple guards replied, no one ever a spoke like this man does. The temple guards went out to arrest Jesus, but they came back empty handed and in complete awe of Jesus. The mission was a failure. They didn’t arrest Jesus. In fact, John wrote, no one even laid a hand on Jesus.
Then the high priest, who knew some people believed on Jesus, began to question the guards and asked; surely you are not deceived also? If there was any chance of the guard believing in Jesus, the high priests were there to talk them out of it. The high priests and the Pharisees believed it was wrong for anyone to believe in this man named Jesus. But they were wrong and it was strike one! Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the father except by Him. The only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ.
Then the high priests dug themselves further into the hole and started to cast judgement upon the crowd. They said the crowd didn’t know the law! The Jews of that day had 613 commandments to live by. They took great pride to live out each and every one to the very jot and tittle! They saw the crowd, the common people as scum, as worthless and of no value. They did not associate with the crowd. They did not hang out with the crowd. They did not eat with the crowd. They were too impressed with themselves. They were too high and mighty to associate with such scum as the common people. But they were wrong and it was strike two! Paul wrote in Galatians, “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions without comparing themselves to someone else. If you need to compare, compare yourself to Jesus. Then you will see your need for a savior.
Mark Twain once said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt!” For the Jews, it was strike two and they were ready to remove all doubt. Nicodemus, the man who went to Jesus at night time and Jesus told him he must be born again was present at this conversation of the Jews. He spoke up for Jesus, maybe in a timid way, but he spoke up. He said, “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him?” The Jews wanted Jesus arrested and done away with. They were ready to arrest Jesus without cause. But Nicodemus reminded them that Jesus had not had a fair hearing yet. The rulers of the law, those who were in charge of keeping the law, were ready to abandon the law, just to do away with Jesus. Apparently the Jews saw themselves above the law.
So it was strike three and they were out at the old ballgame so to speak. The Jews had 613 laws to abide by, yet Jesus said in Mathew 5:20 “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law; you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also said if you have broken one of these laws you have broken all of them.
You cannot meet the righteous requirements of the law. You cannot earn your way to Heaven. The righteousness that God requires is only found through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby men must be saved.