April 04, 2012

The Mistrial of Christ

Luke 22:66-71
"And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth."

If ever there was a miscarriage of justice, it was the trial of Jesus Christ. He was arrested under the cover of darkness, whose betrayl was arranged by one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, the money man. In league with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, who wanted to capture and kill Jesus Christ for what they perceived as a threat to their religion.

Imagine the reaction of these men upon hearing the report of Lazarus' resurrection at the hands of Jesus Christ. The word had spread about Lazarus who had been dead. Wouldn’t you go to see for yourself somebody who had been in the grave dead for 4 days? Think about it. The guy is dead! Well, he was dead and then alive. I’d walk if I had to to see someone like that.

Exhibit #1: John 12:9-11
"Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus."

Thus, the religious leaders desired to kill Christ and the testimony of His power, Lazarus. You see, he was evidence of the true nature of Jesus. Jesus was more than a carpenter’s son from Nazareth. He was the Messiah, the Son of God. The religious leaders weren't going to stand for any of that.

It should be of interest to you, Reader, that there are men, religions and governments that are trying to kill the message of Jesus Christ. Because the threat posed to the Pharisees of yore is the same threat modern people experience when they encounter the truth of the Gospel and see its effects on the believers.

These effects include happiness, joy, peace, love (Gal. 5:22-25). These are evidences of the indwelling of Christ in a believer. Some peoples and governments want to restrict, hide, or even destroy in some cases the Christians.

The peaceful way to control people is through falsehoods, deceits, distortions and outright lies. When these dark methods are exposed by the brilliant light of the Gospel, is it any wonder that the ungodly and governments move to more violent methods.

And back to our story of Lazarus, that is exactly what we witness when Christ meets a dead religion. All hell (pardon the pun) breaks loose. But, why did this have to be so?

Exhibit #2: John 11:46-48
"But some of them went their ways [after seeing the resurrection of Lazarus] to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation."

In common parlance, it was all about the Benjamins; that is, it was about power and money and influence. Sounds like one of those Hollywood conspiracy theories, huh? In this case, the evidence and documentation is recorded for all posterity. The motive is clear.

It's scary to think what hardened hearts can do when confronted with the Truth. Jesus Christ was no mere man. No one else could do -or, can do - what He did! Yet, rather than repent, the Pharisees chose to have Him killed.

Enter Judas.

This petty thief walked and talked with the Messiah, the Living God and yet was not stirred by the words that He spoke nor moved by the miracles He wrought. Why? Because his heart was hardened as well.

And so, Christ was taken to a star chamber, as it were, to be tried, judged and condemned by the religious elite. There was no jury, no evidence or cross examination. Simply, blatant lies and false testimonies that contradicted each other. When it was all over, they took Jesus to shop around for the death sentence they wanted: crucifixion.

BUT, this was part of God's plan. Don't think for one minute that Christ was a victim. No, sir! He willingly laid down his life and took it up again (John 10:17-18).

Make no mistake, Friend, you're just as guilty as those Jewish elders and the mob who demanded that Jesus die on the cross. When Christ said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  (Luke 23:34), He meant you as well.

Your sins held Jesus on the cross, Reader. But, Jesus has forgiven you, too. Have you asked Him to forgive you? Please Forgive Me Jesus!

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

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