In the middle of Wednesday night of Passion Week Jesus was arrested and taken to the palatial estate of the High Priest. He had just hours earlier celebrated the Passover with His disciples in remembrance of the Jewish nation’s deliverance from its bondage in Egypt, and there established the Lord’s Supper for a remembrance of its greater deliverance from the bondage of sin that He was about to accomplish. Due to an ambiguity in determining the start of the new “moonth”, the religious leaders in Jerusalem were celebrating the Passover a day later, and so Thursday was for them the day of Preparation. Because of the celebration that was about to begin, and before word got out that He had been arrested, it was important that they act quickly to have Jesus put to death before His supporters could rally to His aid, which also accomplished God’s own purpose that the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world would die at the very time they were sacrificing their Passover lambs! Hence, they needed to act quickly and build a case against the most righteous man who ever lived.
And so the ruling council of the Jews, or at least those on it who could be counted upon to prosecute Jesus, were gathered together in the dark of night to dig up whatever evil they could against Him, which they would then present first thing in the morning to a formal meeting of the Sanhedrin to condemn Him. Finding, of course, no valid testimony against Him that could be used to have Him put to death, they were not even finding any credible false testimony that could be used against Him. The best they could come up with was two witnesses with inconsistent testimony that twisted His words to say that He would destroy the temple made with hands and in three days build another made without hands, Mar 14:56-59. Any threat to destroy the temple, or even defile it, however impossible it might seem, could be charged as sacrilege, as they would in a similar manner later charge both Stephen and Paul; Act 6:13-14, 21:28-31. What does this teach us about the way that the world uses religious sentiment to incite people to action, and how does that contrast with the way that God’s people use spiritual truth? And what about the part of rebuilding another temple in three days without hands? See Mat 12:24 and consider how this twisting of Jesus words could be used to portray Him as a sorcerer and recast the popular perception of His miracles as the work of the powers of darkness, as they had earlier charged. What do these charges teach us about the way that those who are led by the spirit of Satan, the Accuser, regardless of how righteous they may appear, will malign and distort the words of the righteous in order to accomplish their own will and purpose? Cf. Isa 5:20. Although they may pretend to be, are such really interested in the truth, or rather in fulfilling their own lusts and desires? Can one who does not love the truth ever be saved? See 2Th 2:9-12. What does this again teach us about the first importance to our salvation of having a love for the truth?
How did Jesus respond to the false accusations made against Him? See Mat 26:62-63a, 27:14, and notice that the Greek uses the imperfect tenses in this episode to indicate that just as His accusers kept trying to obtain false testimony against Him, He kept on remaining silent and answered them nothing (Mar 14:61a, KJV). For what reason might He have remained silent? Cf. Psa 38:12-15, Pro 26:4-5, Isa 53:7, Dan 3:16, and consider that when the truth is plain but men have rejected or are blind to that truth, there is nothing to be gained by engaging them, as they have already made up their minds, and such engagement can do nothing to open their eyes but only confirm them even more in their deception while soiling us with the mire in which they themselves are ensnared; cf. 2Ti 2:24-26. What does this teach us about the importance of remaining silent when falsely accused? Have we the faith to believe that God Himself will in His own way and time advocate for us and deliver us from our accusers, even as He did our Lord Jesus? Cf. Zec 3:1-5, 1Co 4:5.
Because of Jesus’ unwillingness to answer their false charges, thus depriving them of their hope to incriminate Himself, and the inconsistent testimony that was presented by false witnesses, did they have the strong case they hoped for that they could use to prosecute Jesus to the Romans? What additional false charges did they therefore heap up to paint Jesus as a malefactor and bolster their case against Him to Pilate? See Luk 23:2,5. In what way were each of these crafted to make Jesus odious to the Romans, especially the charge that He claimed to be Christ, so that they would put Him to death? See Luk 23:2-3, Joh 19:12; cf. Mat 22:15-17 and consider that central to Roman rule and its authority, symbolized by its fasces, was the united enforcement of its Pax Romana, so that any instigator of trouble would die.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?