The Trial of Jesus
Translated by Allan Liang
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Although the Jewish authorities always wanted to arrest Jesus and kill him, they did not wish to carry it out during the passover, saying, “not during the Feast...or the people may riot” (Mark 14:2). But God’s will cannot be obstructed by human wills. What the Jews did not know was: The passover, a time remembering the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, led by Moses, was prepared by God for his Son Jesus, who would come into the world and “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). In the Scriptures of Mark that we read of today, we see in God’s eternal will that: First, Jesus as the true passover lamb who was slain, must be sacrificed on the passover. Consequently, Jesus handed himself over and appeared before the high priest on the very night of the passover. Second, according to the laws concerning sacrifices, the male sheep or goat for the atoning sacrifice must be determined to be without defect, before being offered (Exodus 12:5); as a result, before Jesus was killed, he was also repeatedly tried before the high priest, King Herod and then, Pilate. They looked “for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.” All the accusations against Jesus contradicted one another and were entirely inconsistent (Mark 14:59). Even the accusations of inciting rebellion brought forth by the Jewish authorities against Jesus, were denied by Pilate (Luke 23:13-15). Third, all animals offered as atoning sacrifices, must have the hands of the high priest and elders placed on their heads, so that the sins of the people may be placed on the offering that would be killed (Leviticus 4:14-15, 8:14-15). This indicates that the offering never dies for itself; the substitutionary charge of sin must be added by the one who offers the sacrifice. The reality was truly as thus, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, revealed in the Sanhedrin while they plotted to kill Jesus, this motive: “it is better for you that one man die for the people than the whole nation perish” (John 11:50). But although Jesus needed to have died a substitutionary death, there was a need for a criminal charge for which he would die the substitutionary death. The Scriptures tell us, when the high priest could not find evidence of Jesus’ wrongdoing, and could not prove him to be guilty, he asked Jesus: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered clearly, “I am...And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Daniel 7:13, Psalm 110:1). Upon hearing this, the high priest tore his clothes, a sign of extreme astonishment, declaring that the words of blasphemy spoken by Jesus were enough to condemn him to death. To them, Jesus was only a man, but made himself equal with God, declaring himself to have the same glory and power as God. According to the law, “anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16). As a result, the members of the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death on the basis of this charge. To express their rejection of Jesus in their righteous anger, they spitted on Jesus’ face and used their fists and hands to strike him (Isaiah 50:6). Dear brothers and sisters, please thoroughly read today’s devotional Scripture. Please meditate in prayer: Have you discovered among the trials in the courtrooms of this world, any case more pride-revealing and ridiculous than the trial of the Lord Jesus? The ones who were created dragged the one who created and sustains all things, the Holy Son, to the place of trial. The sinners who turned away from God and considered themselves to be God, dared to place their greatest sin on him who was righteous and perfectly obeyed the Father - Jesus. This sin was: “though only men, they saw themselves as God, able to live independent of God.” Does not all the sin of humanity come from this? Just as God said, through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The high priest of that year wrongly made the reason for Jesus’ conviction, his declaration of truth concerning who he was, but without the high priest intending, this precisely accomplished the fundamental reason for which Jesus died for our sins. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33). Brothers and sisters, we have received the exceedingly precious mystery of Christ’s salvation; can we still live trusting in ourselves, and not give all thanks and glory to God?