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Standing before the judge E-mail
Thursday, 08 March 2018 12:54



Regarding those who put Jesus on trial, it appeared that they were the authorities and he was being judged. But the reality is that they – and we – are the ones on trial. 

The Passion Week was an emotional, passionate time. It’s easy to blame one group or another for crucifying an innocent man – perhaps Jews, Romans, political leaders. Jesus’ own words, however, state that he placed himself there. “‘If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me’” (John 12:32). He also told his followers, “‘Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends’” (John 15:13). 

There are at least three kinds of people who stood before Christ during the passion, many of whom were motivated by self-preservation. Caiaphas was the high priest, son-in-law of Annas who had held that position, and he led the Sanhedrin. They were the ruling Jewish council under Roman authority. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it was they who determined that Jesus should be killed, along with his resurrected friend, to destroy evidence of the miracle (John 12:10). 

Unwittingly, Caiaphas uttered words of prophecy, “‘…it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish’” (John 11:50). Despite all his efforts to control the situation, it was also Caiaphas who identified the one who stood before him. His later questioning of Jesus led to one of the greatest pronouncements in Scripture. “‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’” and Jesus replied, “‘I am’” (Mark 14:61, 62). These were the same words uttered by God to Moses at the burning bush, and they threw the religious leaders into a frenzy at the blasphemy. 

Another character, whom I can’t help but admire in some ways, was Pilate. A Roman ruler, he found himself as we often do, caught in the middle. Yet, despite having the One who could handle any conflict standing before him, Pilate chose the safe way out. The Jews “pushed the Roman button again” by shouting, “‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar’” (John 19:12), and Pilate responded by handing Jesus over. But, he wrote on his cross, “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews”. 

Two others stood with Jesus in those awful days. Peter’s self-will, believing he could do anything, prevented him from remaining loyal in the heat of accusations. Jesus foretold his denial, but “Peter [had] insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you’” (Mark 14:31). Finally, Mary Magdalene stood with Jesus, full of service and devotion. 

Not much is known of Mary except she had had seven demons cast out (Luke 8:2). And according to Mark, many women including Mary Magdalene followed and ministered to Jesus (15:40-41). Mary stood in sharp contrast to Caiaphas, who worked for the will of the Romans; to Pilate who found himself caught between the will to do right and listening to the Jews; and to Peter who relied on his own will. 

Before the trial Jesus prayed, ‘…yet not what I will, but what you will’” (Mark 14:36). On the cross, His last words from the cross were, “‘It is finished!’” (John 19:30). Peter wrote after Pentecost, “This is the will of the father that none should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) and so Jesus chose to die in our place. “‘For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from me, but I lay it down on my own initiative” (John 10:17-18). 

Paul wrote later about the events of the Passion Week. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:3-4). Standing before the judge of the world, we must consider – is there something we’re unwilling to turn loose of? Our hope depends on Easter and the will of the Father. 




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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