Jesus was bound and He took the 5th

The readings for this section are found in John 18:19-24 and Matthew 26:57-67.

They bound him and took him to the home of Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the High Priest. There he was pressed to repeat the essence of what He had taught in over three years. But Jesus had bound his lips too. As a smart defense lawyer would do, he gave them nothing that could be used as evidence against Him. “Go do your own investigation,” He essentially told them. Not because there was any incriminating evidence, Jesus simply wanted to establish the fact that this was an illegal trial. Nothing He had done was in secret. He was in the public square every day. The trail of His words was long and the impact was broad. Grab somebody, anybody. If there is dirt, you will likely find something. That response, however, only got Jesus slapped across the face by one of the temple guards.

It was late night already. They had walked Jesus back into the city. He had been exhausted from the day before. He had agonized with blood in the garden. Now a different kind of blood would be exacted from His body. I often think what that guard who slapped Jesus may have thought afterwards when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead. Was he afraid Jesus would take revenge? Or did He come to believe in Him as the Messiah? A slap across the face of God. How does it make one feel?

Next, bound again, they took Jesus to the home of Caiaphas, the one who had prophesied that it was necessary for one man to die for the sins of the whole nation. But did he know that he was going to have a hand in bringing that to pass?

An assembly of the Sanhedrin was called up in the middle of the night. You just have to wonder: were these men sleeping and had to be awakened or had they been tipped off that something was going to happen that night? This is way before the advent of cell phones. How did they gather the Council with such short notice? It seems to me that like gangsters they had picked that date. They were lurking in the shadows and waiting for the catch to fall in the net.

An illegal trial was quickly transacted. A mockery of justice. So badly jumbled that even the people they had hastily assembled to bear false witness against Christ were so bad they couldn’t use any of them. Finally, they had to try to catch Jesus at His own words. “Are you the Messiah?” Jesus responded with His own “Son of Man” shorthand for God. “Blasphemy!” the High Priest exclaimed, as he tore his robes. Honestly, this sounds like a horribly scripted second-rate movie. But the theatrics worked, bad acting and everything.

They fell upon Him, screaming, “He deserves to die!!!” and punching Him as one would their worse mortal enemy. In the dark perhaps anonymous hands flew in the direction of His holy face. The cowards who would not do it in broad day light, the small men who had had a bad day and were simply using Him as a punching bag, and the religious zealots who thought they were doing this for God. In a moment all of those forces came together against the Lord and His Anointed, like the Psalmist had predicted in Psalm 2, “… the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

And like a spurious jury in a dictatorial regime ruled by a military despot, in a few minutes, the Sanhedrin found Jesus worth of death. Death penalty was the verdict in the greatest miscarriage of justice ever to fall upon the annals of jurisprudence in the entire world.

And just as Jesus had entered the scene, bound and resigned to His appointment with suffering, without even the decency of rudimentary rights to a proper defense, Jesus was taken in the middle of the night to another trial, this time in the hands of the Romans who prided themselves in having invented the best judicial system known to man. Supposedly, He would find more able hands and more just minds as He entered the court of Caesar, but would He?

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade