WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?
Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Read Matthew 26:57–68
Jesus Stands in Front of the Religious Leaders
57 Those who had taken Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas. He was the head religious leader. The teachers of the Law and the other leaders were gathered there. 58 But Peter followed Him a long way behind while going to the house of the head religious leader. Then he went in and sat with the helpers to see what would happen.
59 The religious leaders and the other leaders and all the court were looking for false things to say against Jesus. They wanted some reason to kill Him. 60 They found none, but many came and told false things about Him. At last two came to the front. 61 They said, “This Man said, ‘I am able to destroy the house of God and build it up again in three days.’”
62 Then the head religious leader stood up. He said to Jesus, “Have You nothing to say? What about the things these men are saying against You?” 63 Jesus said nothing. Then the head religious leader said to Him, “In the name of the living God, I tell You to say the truth. Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “What you said is true. I say to you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated on the right hand of the All-powerful God. You will see Him coming on the clouds of the sky.”
65 Then the head religious leader tore his clothes apart. He said, “He has spoken as if He were God! Do we need other people to speak against Him yet? You have heard Him speak as if He were God! 66 What do you think?” They said, “He is guilty of death!”
67 Then they spit on His face. They hit Him with their hands. Others beat Him. 68 They said, “Tell us, Christ, You Who can tell what is going to happen, who hit You?”
New Life Version (NLV)
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ReflectThink of situations you know where injustice prevails. Check out the International Justice Mission website (www.ijm.org).
Everything about this first trial of Jesus is wrong from the point of view of justice, and Matthew does not want us to miss the irony. Caiaphas, the chief priests, and the Sanhedrin were tasked with upholding Jewish laws, but on this occasion they broke many of their own rules. For example, criminal trials were supposed to be held during the day, not at night.
To bear false witness was punishable by death, yet this group was actively looking for false witnesses. Evidence was to be corroborated by two witnesses, examined separately. And we could go on. The trial was illegal.
No, this trial was not about exercising justice; this was about the authorities wanting to get rid of Jesus. The very people who knew their Scriptures in the Old Testament were not prepared to look openly at the evidence that God had sent the Messiah—Jesus.
Frustrated with the mess created by witnesses whose testimonies did not agree, Caiaphas asks Jesus the crucial question (63). Jesus breaks his silence and essentially answers “yes.” He quotes from Daniel 7:13 (read 14 too). That is all the chief priest needs and with his cry of “Blasphemy!” chaos breaks out as Jesus is attacked and ridiculed.
God has called us to pray, give, and go. You can take the chance to pray now, but what can you do to give or go?
God is passionate about justice. Pray for situations where justice needs to “roll on like a river” (Amos 5:24).