God Knows…When I Wonder if Anybody Loves Me – Part 1
Everyone has moments of feeling unlovable and/or unloved. When I KNOW someone cares about me, loves me enough to forgive my clumsy blunders, is willing to go out of the way to help me, wants to be with me—how much better I feel! If we ever wonder whether anybody loves us that much, we can travel back in time to Jerusalem, the year AD 27, and look around.
We shiver. It’s before dawn on a Friday. First we go to the court room. Judges—council members—are seated on both sides of Caiaphas, the chief justice and high priest. On a platform below him stand Jesus with his hands bound, and a squad of Roman soldiers. Bribed witnesses are accusing Jesus of stirring up revolt and trying to set up a new government. They can’t agree on ANYTHING. When questioned, a witness changes his story. Everybody seems rattled except this calm, noble-looking prisoner.
Two false witnesses are finally found who bring the same story: “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days’” (Matthew 26:61). You can find in John 2:19-21 what Jesus really had said. He was talking about the temple of His body, predicting His own death and return to life.
Quietly Jesus listens to His confused and angry accusers. The trial is getting nowhere fast. The chief justice loses his cool. “Do You answer nothing?” he rages. Jesus holds his peace. So Caiaphas, as a last resort, raises his hand and says, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Respectfully Jesus responds, “It is as you said.” He adds, “Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Someday the scene will be reversed: Jesus will be the Judge and His accusers the defendants.
The high priest acts horrified. He tears his clothes. “What further need do we have of witnesses?” he yells. “Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” (Blasphemy is disrespect, slander, damage to God’s name)
Back comes the answer: “He is deserving of death.” By law, a prisoner could not be tried at night. This has just been a practice run. At dawn they will make it legal. In the meantime? Jesus is led out to the guardroom. The Son of God is being treated terribly. Christ’s innocence, His kingly patience, and His calm gentleness, make the rough crowd furious. They spit in His face. They slap Him. Satan moves them to try again and again to rouse Jesus to anger. They fail.
Day is dawning. Color is coming into the eastern sky. Again Jesus is taken before the court. Judas has been watching the trial, expecting Jesus to make a break for freedom. He could do it! Why doesn’t He? Things are beginning to look bad! Fear grows. He wonders: Did I sell my Master to His death? What will people think? What future do I have? Judas pushes headlong through the crowd to give back the 30 pieces of silver to the priests. Here at last is the surprise witness who speaks to the goodness of Jesus: “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They reply, “What is that to us?” In despair at the way things are turning out, Judas goes out and hangs himself. Meanwhile, the court condemns Jesus the second time.
Christ’s enemies still have a problem. Only a Roman officer can hand down a death decree. So about 6 am, everybody shows up at Pilate’s place. Pontius Pilate is the Roman governor and he looks none too happy to have this group at his door so early. Now he notices Jesus. He’s never before seen a prisoner that looks like this. So quiet. So dignified. “Who is this Man?” he asks. “What law has He broken?”
Nobody wants to answer that question. They know that Jesus has done nothing against the Roman laws. So they hedge. “Would we bring Him here if He weren’t a criminal?” Again lying lips bring false charges: “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King” (See what He really said in Luke 20:22-25).
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asks Pilate.
See Christ’s face light up as He answers, “It is as you say.” The mob joins its leaders in a deafening uproar, demanding the death sentence. Pilate is astonished at the silent, innocent bearing of Jesus. He talks briefly with him, then announces. “I find no fault in this Man.”
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