“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Why was the teaching of Jesus well received among the poor, the sinners, and the outcasts of society while He was rejected by the rich, the religious, and the well-respected of the day?
It boils down to this one issue: the love of money is the root of all evil. As John recorded the Pharisees and chief priests saying, “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (John 11:48).
Covetousness leads to competition. Competition leads to rivalry. Rivalry leads to lying, cheating, stealing, and then violence. The chief priests sensed that the growing tension between Rome and Judea would soon boil over, so they took a step that many have in history and chose a scapegoat in order to save the nation:
“It is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish” John 11:50.
This statement by Caiaphas has two layers: political and religious. John indicates that the Spirit was speaking through the High Priest concerning the reconciliation of man to God, but the audience of this saying would not have understood the death of Jesus in this way. Instead, they looked at His death as a way to temporarily appease Rome by showing that they would not accept the teachings of someone who appeared to be a zealot leader.
Why did they want to kill Jesus so badly? The love of money is the root of all evil. When Jesus began His ministry, He did not flip over beds in a brothel; he turned over money-changing tables in the temple. He did not spend entire sermons condemning the lifestyle of the harlots with whom He spent much time; instead, He condemned those who thought they had no sin.
Jesus attacked the root of the problem. It was the leader’s greed that led to an economic and social situation in which a woman would feel like harlotry was the only way to survive. While Jesus didn’t approve of their actions, He spent more time dealing with the root of the problem and not the symptoms of it.
Those at the top who commit the invisible sins of covetousness, greed, and the love of money are just as guilty, if not more so, than those who commit visible sins that usually come about because of the system that is benefiting the wealthy.
Like it or not, the problems in Jesus’ time (and in ours) are caused just as much by the socially accepted, clean, proper, and religious people as those who commit visible, easy to condemn sins. The reason being that if the upper class does not use their wealth for good (like many of the saints did in Acts 2-3), then the lower class is forced into an evil game of survival of the fittest.
This is why Jesus died! He refused to leave these individuals behind, and he condemned the leaders for ever doing so. Furthermore, He revealed the ugliness behind the curtain and caused the manufactured beauty of the religious elite to crumble. In any age, this will be met with resistance. In fact, those at the top will generally persuade the very ones whom they marginalized to join them in rejecting the one who exposed them. This is exactly what happened with Jesus. The very ones whom He dined with, fed, and healed shouted, “Crucify Him!” Certainly, the love of money is the root of all evil.