“Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.”
In Mark 14:55-65 is told the details of the “trial” of the LORD Jesus Christ before the high priest, and the rulers of the day. Verse 55 tells us, “And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.” From the beginning, the goal was that Jesus be put to death. In keeping with the law (related in Deuteronomy 17:6, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.”), they sought for witnesses that would bring a death-worthy charge against Jesus. But they found none.
In Matthew 21, Jesus told a parable. He told of a King who desired to receive the harvest from His own land. But the farmers to whom He had lent the land refused to give to the King’s servants what He desired. In the parable, we read, “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.” See what the farmers said, “This is the Heir…” They knew Who He was!
Conventional wisdom says to not ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer. Because he could find no testimony worthy of death from many witnesses, the high priest put the question to Jesus Himself, recorded in Mark 14:61, “…Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” The high priest knew what Jesus’ answer would be.
His answer was the truth; “…I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:61). It was then that the verses above came to pass. The high priest accused Him of blasphemy, and the whole crowd, having heard what Jesus said, declared Him to be worthy of death. Knowing full well Who He is, because He told them, they called Him a blasphemer, and called for His death on the cross. This is rightly called a mock trial, the greatest miscarriage of justice this world has ever known. A wholly innocent man, God Himself, was declared to be worthy of death.
Since the beginning of time mankind has determined to remove God from their lives and thinking. Upon their sin, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God. But, He was looking for them. The Israelites heard with their ears the voice of God speaking the ten commandments to them. But the rest of their history showed them to be uninterested in God, disobeying the commandments He had given them. 1 Samuel 8:7 tells about Israel’s desire for a king, rejecting God’s reign over them. But, lest we look down on them, the behavior of the Israelites in fact reveals the heart of the whole human race. As Paul told the Romans, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The whole human race is guilty before God. We do not desire His ways and rule in our lives. In the “trial” of Jesus Christ, not only Israel, but all of mankind, rejected God, knowing Who He is, but refusing Him just the same.
But, at the same time, God’s plan was unfolding. Isaiah 53:6 puts it this way, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” As He was being arrested, Jesus said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53, 54). Jesus went to the cross intentionally, not accidentally. This was God’s plan.
God loves mankind so much, that He came as a perfect, sinless man. And to show that love further, He submitted to the worst death that mankind could devise, so that mankind could be reconciled to Himself. On the cross, Jesus endured the punishment we deserve for disobeying God’s commandments. Through His death, God’s justice was satisfied. Now, the promise of eternity in heaven with God is available to anyone who will take it. To those that still reject Him, God’s wrath for refusing His great Sacrifice still awaits. Turn to Him, He is risen!
Jesus, our Lord, with what joy we adore Thee,
Chanting our praise to Thyself on the throne!
Blest in Thy presence, we worship before Thee,
Own Thou art worthy, and worthy alone.
Lord, Thou art worthy: Lord, Thou art worthy;
Lord, Thou art worthy, and worthy alone!
Blest in Thy presence, we worship before Thee,
Own Thou art worthy, and worthy alone!
Verily God, yet become truly human,
Lower than angels to die in our stead;
How has that long promised “Seed of the woman”
Trod on the serpent and bruised his head!
How didst Thou humble Thyself to be taken.
Led by Thy creatures and nailed to the cross.
Hated of men, and of God too forsaken,
Shunning not darkness, the curse, and the loss.
How hast Thou triumphed, and triumphed with glory,
Battled death’s forces, rolled back every wave!
Can we refrain then from telling the story?
Lord, Thou art Victor o’er death and the grave. (H. D’A. Champney)