Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

The Lynch Mob

 

When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by a lynch mob of religious leaders and was bound with ropes and taken to the palace of Annas and his son, Caiaphas, the High Priests, and judged by His enemies;  it was the worst travesty of justice in human history. Our holy God, in the person of Jesus, stood before the judgment seat of sinful men.

A travesty of justice

This judgment of Jesus took place sometime around midnight and continued until about 5  in the morning. That in itself was illegal; for according to the Mosaic Law, people were to be judged only during daylight hours.

Though God’s Law given in the Old Testament for the conduct of trials  and the treatment of defendants is extremely fair and merciful;  the Jewish religious leaders broke every law in the Old Testament concerning the treatment of prisoners and the conduct of trials when they tried Jesus. They punched him and slapped Him and spit in His face, They blindfolded him and scoffed Him. They hired false witnesses who could not even agree on their stories.  The lynch mob that arrested Jesus hated Him with a passion and  were determined to find some cause to present to Pilate to warrant his execution by crucifixion by the Roman soldiers.

Since the Roman Empire now occupied Palestine, the responsibility for capital punishment by stoning was no longer in the hands of the Jews. Now only Rome had that responsibility.

The only charge they could bring against Him was that He claimed to be God in human flesh, a fact that all genuine Christians accept as true; but a fact that Israel as a nation  rejects.

Several hours later Jesus was murdered by the people who hated Him. His blood was shed  by God the Father, as a final and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Those who by faith, whether Jews or Gentiles, receive that blood as the sacrifice for their sins are saved for eternity.  Those who reject that sacrifice continue in their sins, lost for eternity.

The final and ultimate event that led to Jesus’  trial and crucifixion.

 

A few weeks before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, an event occurred in Bethany that eventually brought this shameful treatment of Jesus to pass. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Read the story in John 11.

As many witnessed this supernatural event, it had a huge impact on the people.  As the news spread, the crowds grew and it led to the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  The masses of people were ready to receive Jesus as their Messiah and King.

The Jewish religious leaders were furious with Jesus.  They called a Council to determine what action they should take to bring a halt to this worship and adoration of Jesus by the crowds.  They determined that day, a week before the crucifixion, that Jesus must be arrested and executed.

Read John 11:47-53 to understand the thinking of Caiaphas, the High Priest, as he reasoned with the Jewish religious leaders concerning Jesus. His reasoning was that Jesus must die, or the nation Israel would  die, and the religious leaders would lose their position and power with the people.

Actually, Caiaphas as High Priest was prophesying a truth he did not even understand.  ” Jesus must die to save the nation-  (and the world)”

The mockery of a trial before Caiaphas

 

The arresting mob bound Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and took him first to Annas, the former High Priest and then to his son, Caiaphas, the current High Priest.  It was more of a lynch mob than a trial.  They could not even get false witnesses to corroborate their stories.  Finally, the basic charge was determined that Jesus was making Himself the Son of God. Of course, if that were not true, then Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, deserving to die.  But if Jesus was indeed the Son of God, then the crowd was being blasphemous.  Regardless, no defendant should have ever been treated as Jesus was; slapped, beaten, spit upon and mocked. 

These Jewish leaders who knew well the Law of Moses had to know that they were breaking every law in the Book concerning trials and the treatment of defendants. 

At the conclusion of this mockery of a trial before the High Priest, they asked Jesus if He was indeed the Christ or the promised Messiah. Jesus answered in Luke 22:67-71  “If I tell you, you will not believe and if I ask you, you will not answer Me nor let me go.”  Then Jesus announced His future return. “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, “You say that I am.”

And they said, “What need we any further witness?  For we ourselves have heard of His own mouth.”  

With that conclusion, they led Him to Pilate to be sentenced to death by the Roman Empire.

(Let me add a personal note here. When I placed a link to this message on Face Book, my son, Steve and his wife, Margie. after reading my message each added personal comments to the message.  As I reflected on the comments, I realized that they are indeed a fitting conclusion to this message, so I add them here just as they added them in Face Book.)

Here is Margie’s

And yet God used “the worst travesty of justice in human history” to accomplish the greatest good the world has ever or could ever know. What an incredible God we serve!  What hope and courage it should give us to know that even Satan’s very worst can never be enough to thwart the purposes of God but will, in fact, always be turned to do God’s bidding.

Here is Steve’s

Not to be too redundant to Margie, but I think this hit me the same way. The lynch mob to be sure, was culpable for their own sins, but I think they played a comparatively minor role in this grand story. Isaiah wrote that “it pleased the Lord to bruise him!” Amazing words! They remind me of this old hymn. I’ll just share two versus from the middle.

“Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

        by Thomas Kelly 1804

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,

Was there ever grief like His?

Friends through fear His cause disowning

Foes insulting His distress:

Many hand were raised to wound Him,

None would interpose to save;

But the deepest stroke that pierced Him

Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,

Nor suppose the evil great,

Here may view its nature rightly,

Here its guilt may estimate.

Mark the Sacrifice appointed!

See Who bears the awful load!

‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,

Son of Man and Son of God.

(And then Steve fittingly concludes)

“To be hard on the Jewish mob and the Romans is to let me off the hook. I blame no one but myself that Christ had to die like that.”

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February 3, 2010 - Posted by | Passion Week

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