reader should note that a more extensive, comparative list of the trials of
Jesus may be found here.
Luke is rather brief about this, which produces a differing view of the
Expectation of Justice
is a commonplace to most middle class Americans that ours is a system which
renders justice. We certainly attach great significance to it; while most of
us are not willing to spend several months on a jury trial, we at least expect
it of others. Our system is portrayed as being honest, fair and dignified.
One out of three isn’t bad, I suppose.
think not? We have a clear idea of what we expect of our system of justice;
only when we get involved in it do we see that it is run by sinners and often
works to sinful purpose. The problem, I submit, is our expectation of our
justice system. We expect far too much from the sinners who run it. Indeed,
it could be argued that given the people in it, reasonable expectations would
fearfully vile – and we might just be pleased at how our system exceeds those
remember who and what you are: a Christian, a pilgrim in this world, one who
is in the world but not of the world. Justice – either in terms of being
fairly treated when accused, or properly rewarded for your achievements – will
not truly come until He returns.
It is normal for a true Christian to be persecuted. This is, in
a sense, not our fault – the world can’t stand to see a real Christian, because
in him they see Christ. Most of all they want to eliminate Christ; therefore
his followers will be persecuted.
you will be persecuted for Christ’s sake, it is reasonable to seek justice –
your reward – from Christ. Our Lord knows this; he also knows the pain of
persecution (none better!); therefore he will be generous with his reward.
is difficult to think of this as being a blessing. Like Tevye on riches (“if
riches are a curse, smite me!”) we ask, “If persecution is a blessing, give it
to someone else.” But it is a blessing. Christ makes it clear; if you are
persecuted for his sake, you join the ranks of people like the Old Testament
prophets. Do you think he will leave them unrewarded at his return?
understands that none of us would like to volunteer to be persecuted. He also
knows that we will be so persecuted. Therefore, to strengthen us, he gives us
his commands on how we should respond to persecution:
with love as much as you can.
Love is God’s weapon; pain belongs to this world. Against love, Satan has
in the Spirit.
Do not worry about what you will say; just let the Spirit give you words.
You need only be patient and enduring for this lifetime; you were designed
for eternity. A patient faith is the weapon of the conquering Christian.
with eloquent silence. When Christ was confronted with the ludicrous accusations
of the priests, his silence was more powerful than their babble.
us see what we can gather by the example of Christ.
the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and
they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, "Prophesy, who is the
one who hit You?" And they were saying many other things against Him,
blaspheming. When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled,
both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, "If You are the Christ,
tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell
you, you will not believe; and if I ask a
question, you will not answer. "But from
now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF
GOD." And they all said, "Are You the Son of God, then?"
And He said to them, "Yes, I am." Then
they said, "What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard
it ourselves from His own mouth."
(Luk 22:63-71 NASB)
note three things:
the mockery, blasphemy and physical pain, Christ said nothing. Why?
Because it did not suit the purposes of God to reply to this; Christ knew
answers only when it suits God’s purposes. For us, this would be only
when the Spirit leads us to.
tells the truth – even when it’s fatal. There are things worse than
seems so much like Christ is conducting a suffering while they think they’re
conducting an interrogation.
Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned
that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself
also was in Jerusalem at that time. Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus;
for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about
Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at
some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes
were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers,
after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous
robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one
another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.
(Luk 23:6-12 NASB)
so much represents the way of this world. He wants to see a miracle. We might
ask what’s wrong with that; it often seems that the Almighty is particularly
uncooperative in dispensing miracles at our request. It would certainly make
evangelism easier, we think. But the King of Kings is not a tame conjuror to
perform parlor tricks at our behest. For the wicked there is still only the
sign of Jonah – the resurrection. See how Christ ignores Herod’s desires.
Herod thinks himself a king; Christ behaves like one should.
Christ will not jump through the hoops, Herod turns him over to the soldiers.
Christ again endures in silence. He may be mocked but he is not defeated in
this war of words.
also, how the sin of this action changes Herod’s relationship to Pilate. Any
sin gives the devil a handle to grasp you with. Pilate and Herod now share a
guilty secret. They know the man is innocent, but both acted “for the public
good” – meaning, what the mob wanted. Perhaps it seems strange; courage is a
requirement for a successful politician.
the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to
accuse Him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and
forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a
King." So Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the
Jews?" And He answered him and said, "It is as you say."
Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no guilt in
this man." But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the
people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this
place." When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.
(Luk 23:1-6 NASB)
summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them,
"You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion,
and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man
regarding the charges which you make against Him. "No, nor has Herod, for
he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by
Him. "Therefore I will punish Him and release Him." [Now he was
obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.] But they cried out all
together, saying, "Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!"
(He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the
city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,
but they kept on calling out, saying, "Crucify, crucify Him!" And he
said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have
found in Him no guilt demanding death;
therefore I will punish Him and release Him." But they were insistent,
with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. And Pilate pronounced sentence
that their demand be granted. And he released the man they were asking for who
had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus
to their will.
(Luk 23:13-25 NASB)
please, that Pilate was honest and noble at first. That is something you can
not count on indefinitely. Christians are sometimes misled into thinking that
someone is an honest friend to us when in fact it’s just the way the wind is
blowing. For a time they will sail into the wind – but soon will turn about
and go the way the wind is blowing.
often yields illogical results. Why, for example, would Pilate flog him before
releasing him? It’s an attempt at compromise in a situation where there is no
compromise. The Christian should expect weakness from the judge and harshness
from his accusers.
Christian View of Persecution
only attacks the righteous
sometimes wonder, “why me?” But remember Job; he was greatly blessed by God
and greatly attacked by Satan. If you are a milk water Christian, Satan need do
little to turn you from the faith. Look also at Peter – Christ tells us that
Satan wanted to “sift him like wheat.” Even this saint had his difficulties,
and was ultimately to die for the Cross. Things have not really changed; Satan
still seeks whom he may devour.
is the normal state of the real Christian
persecution comes, we tend to ask “why me?” We try to work in the world with
humility and love, and look what we get. Why would the world want to pick on
its most loyal and obedient citizens?
because the state – or the system, or whatever – claims the supreme
obedience of the citizen. Sooner or later there will come a time when
obedience to Christ is disobedience to the state.
because we are salt and light.
Our very presence reminds them of their sins. To justify themselves they
it is well said that their pride is offended by our humility.
of the godly will be persecuted;
indeed, our persecutors will be convinced that they are righteous in doing it –
a favor to God.
It will happen to you; prepare your mind for it by meditating upon the example
put it this way: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.” It sounds
grim; perhaps it is. Why, then, should we embrace this role?
there is the eloquence of our scars. Does it seem evangelism is too
difficult for you? Let your wounds speak of your faith; let them be the
witness to how Christ is supreme in your life. Your words will be
believed because of your wounds.
is our chance to become imitators of God, so that we may “be perfect, as
He is perfect,” We have the privilege of overcoming evil with good.
sounds paradoxical, but our Lord clearly meant it: to save your life you
must lose it.
Life is no place to play it safe and only lose by a little bit. Put
everything you are and have into His hands, and trust Him for the outcome.
might answer: “I’m afraid. The power of the state is great; they will ruin
me.” Consider well whom you should fear: the one who controls the police
station or the one who controls the universe?
Fear God, Dread naught.