The Perils of Faithfulness
Matthew 12:14
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

That he might be "in all points tempted like as we are," our Lord had the experience of rousing enmity even in doing faithfully the duty of the hour. It was his life-work to heal and save. He was not going to allow himself to be hindered, in doing his great life-work, by the claims of merely rabbinical rules. But the penalty came, which comes to all men who are persistently faithful to their sense of right: "The Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him." It is important to note that the Pharisaic opposition to Christ was raised on the distinct ground that he would be true to himself - he would say just what was given him to say; he would do just what was given him to do; he would not trim his words or his ways to please any parties. And this in no spirit of stubbornness; only in supreme loyalty to the supreme Authority which he acknowledged, and those Pharisees professed to acknowledge. If any man means to be faithful to the best he knows, he had better take due account of the fact that he will be misunderstood, misrepresented, and socially persecuted. The man who means to get through life easily has no very positive opinions, and is quite ready to shift and change his views if they do not quite please. But such men never yet led, ennobled, inspired, or reproved any generation. Men of positive convictions alone can lead to noble things; and they may be well content to bear the perils of faithfulness.

I. THE FOES OF FAITHFUL JESUS. "These Pharisees passed for the best persons in the country, the conservators of respectability and orthodoxy. They cannot be accused of having neglected Jesus. They turned their attention to him from the first. They followed him step by step. They discussed his doctrines and his claims, and made up their minds. Their decision was adverse, and they followed it up with acts, never becoming remiss in their activity for an hour. This is, perhaps, the most solemn and appalling circumstance in the whole tragedy of the life of Christ, that the men who rejected, hunted down, and murdered him, were those reputed best in the nation, its teachers and examples, the zealous conservators of the Bible, and the traditions of the past." But this is always the supreme bitterness of the lot of faithful men; their worst foes are the good people whom they would die to serve, if they could, with supreme loyalty to God.

II. THE SCHEMES OF THE FOES OF FAITHFUL JESUS. They began with trying arguments; but as they did not succeed at that, they attempted to silence Jesus; and even were led on to scheme his death. They represent the gradual embittering and blinding which always follow on cherished religious prejudice. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

WEB: But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.

The Greater than Jonas
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