[Sept 23]--“Trial”

Matt. 26:57-68

There's a good reason why the title is in quotes: The “trial” of Jesus was a show-trial, an utter mockery of justice from start to finish, with the verdict never really in doubt. If you do just a bit of research, you’ll find why Jesus’ arrest and trial were completely illegal. Just a few examples: 1) He was arrested and tried at night, and Jewish law only allowed daylight proceedings. 2) The witnesses against him didn’t agree, which completely contradicted Mosaic law. 3) He was required to testify against himself, which was also illegal (which is carried over into our legal system). 4) The charges against him were switched. When he was brought before the Sanhedrin (a religious court), the charge was blasphemy, but when he was brought before Pilate (a secular court), he was accused of claiming to be "King of the Jews," which would mean inciting insurrection.

When they charged him on oath and asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God, his answer literally is “You have said it,” or as some translations put it, “It is as you said.” This was an idiom meaning “The short answer is ‘Yes,’ but you don’t know the full meaning of the question.” In other words, he answered affirmatively, but made it clear in his answer that they had no idea who the Messiah was supposed to be.

Please notice that our Lord’s last words to the religious leaders of Israel were those of warning. They expected the Messiah to come down from the clouds in power and glory, and he will. This first time he came in humiliation and submission, barely even raising his voice. It won’t be like that the next time he arrives.

There seem to me to be two main applications from this passage. The first is to stop whining. We're so quick to defend ourselves when someone slanders us or misrepresents us to others. We trip all over ourselves to “set the story straight.” Friend, if you claim to be a follower of Christ, then why would you be surprised at this? Earlier Jesus warned us: “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!” On the other side of the coin, we should take heart if we’re lied about and treated with contempt because of false accusation. We’re in the best of company, aren’t we?

Lord Jesus, when I start to complain because someone is talking bad about me, please shut my mouth. When they hurled their insults at you, you didn’t retaliate; when you suffered, you made no threats. Instead, you entrusted yourself to him who judges justly. I want to be like that, please.

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