Summary: The path to the Cross finds it judgment before the religious. Matthew 26:57-68 holds truths that should shock all who read them.
Jesus Before A Religious Spirit
A Biblical Examination of Jesus' Trial Before The Religious of His Day
The path to the Cross finds it judgment before the religious. Matthew 26:57-68 holds truths that should shock all who read them. The Jewish religious leaders question our Lord's authority, seek for false witnesses, mock and beat the heavenly final high priest, Jesus Christ. We read, "Those who arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled." (Matthew 26:57)
There are several key truths to Jesus standing before a religious spirit which needs to be considered. Understanding these truths will keep our spiritual hearts in good order for the Easter season.
1.) Jesus was taken before an illegal trial, Jews were not to hold trials at night or during festivals. (Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 85). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books; Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Mt 26:57). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press; Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 85). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) Jesus faced opposition from the religious. The Apostle Paul face oppositions from those in the synagogue and from Jews who claimed to be God's children. We have just observed St. Patrick's Day, he faced opposition from the church of his day. Martin Luther face opposition from the established church of his day. Christians will face opposition from a religious spirit of their day. Especially if their work for the Lord challenges the cancer of traditionalism produced by the will of mankind not birthed by the whole counsel of God's Word.
2.) The religious were looking for false witnesses. "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus..." The Gospel of Mark tells us, "Many testified falsely against Him, but their statements did not agree." (Matthew 26:59; Mark 14:55-56) It is not uncommon to see the so called church attack those in a Christ appointed work. They search to find evidence to bring down a work that does not fit in with the cancer of traditionalism. God pronounces a truth through Hosea, The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God." (Hosea 9:8) God sends His message of warning and direction, yet "those who have abandon their faith in the true Christ" will reject the words sent through the watchmen of God. (The Pulpit Commentary; Craigie, P. C. (1984). Twelve prophets (Vol. 1, p. 59). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press) All through church history there has been hostility to God and His servants among those who are like the Israelites of old, a people who claim to be a people of God, yet the fruit of hostility arises as the whole counsel of God's Word is taught. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 10, p. 81). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)
3.) Jesus Testifies About Himself: The Gospel of Mark tells us, "...the high priest asked, 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?' Jesus answered, 'I am.'" (Mark 16:61b-62a) The Jewish Church of Jesus' time boldly proclaimed their verdict, "The high priest tore his clothes. 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' he asked. 'You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?' They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at Him, they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said, 'Prophesy!'" (Mark 14:63-65) The Religious have only two choices. Jesus is the Messiah: aa.) They give their entire life in adoration, worship, and service or bb.) They reject Him.
A question that should never be asked, but sadly is, "Why was Jesus despised and rejected by religious people who claim to be God's people?" Psalm 22 is often called the psalm of the Cross, catch this heart breaking truth, "scorned by everyone, despised by the people." (Psalm 22:6) Isaiah hold's another truth, "He was despised and rejected by mankind..." (Isaiah 53:3)
Getting to the heart of the reason why religious people despise the true Christ. He opposes traditions of worship which are not of the whole council of God's Word. Jesus addresses the issue clearly with the Pharisees as He quotes Isaiah, "...people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules." (Mark 7:6-7; Isaiah 29:13)
A.) Churches will fight over key Biblical Christian observances, while neglecting the heart of the purpose of the observances. aa). There is the conflict of mode of baptism while neglecting the heart of baptism. bb). There is the conflict how often to observe Communion, what happens during the Communion service, while neglecting the heart of the Lord's Supper and it purpose. cc). There is the conflict on were and how Christians should congregate while missing the heart of God's purpose. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' time the cancer of traditionalism blinded their eyes to what all God is doing. An elderly pastor stood before a congregation and insulted an expanded view point of preaching the Word of God which would have been a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 4:2. "Preach the Word." The congregation was incorrectly influenced, thus the expanded vision from God's Word had to be exercised with a different ministry. Unfortunately, the cancer of traditionalism often prevents the expansion of God's work in the church He wants to do a work in.