WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 13, 2022
TOPIC: EXECUTE JUSTICE
BY T. O. BANSO
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Isaiah 53:7-8 New King James Version).
When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by a mob, there was no charge against Him. Mark says Judas, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders (Mark 14:43). They led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year (John 18:13).
After the illegal questioning there, Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest (verse 24). The scribes and the elders were already assembled there (Matthew 26:57. Because there was no charge against Jesus on which His arrest was made, the Council presided by Caiaphas, in its desperate plot to kill Jesus, engaged in the illegality of seeking false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death (Matthew 26:59). Unfortunately, the testimonies of their false witnesses didn’t agree (Mark 14:56). This should have warranted the dismissal of the case. But because the trial was a charade, they continued working towards achieving their premeditated result.
Then, they got two witnesses who claimed Jesus said He was able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild in three days another made without hands (Matthew 26:60-61). They didn’t provide any proof but Caiaphas the High priest asked Jesus to defend Himself. Jesus kept silent. Mark 14:57-58 also records this false accusation.
The witnesses claimed Jesus said, “I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands” (Mark 14:58 New King James Version). That was a misquotation. Jesus never said so. Here are the exact words of Jesus: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19 New King James Version). The two statements are not the same. I hope you note the difference. Jesus was referring to His crucifixion and resurrection, not the Jewish temple.
But suddenly the Kangaroo court changed the charge against Jesus from the issue of temple destruction to blasphemy, which was contrary to the Hebrew law. This followed the answer of Jesus to the question of the High priest to tell him if He was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63). “Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. 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.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?’ They answered and said, ‘He is deserving of death’” (Matthew 26:64-66 New King James Version). Just like that! What a travesty of justice! But they were ignorantly fulfilling the Scripture.
The next thing they did was to arraign Jesus before Pilate since they had no power to kill anyone without the approval of the Roman authority. And realizing that Jesus could not be condemned on a charge of blasphemy by Pilate since it had nothing to do with the Roman government, they changed the charge to treason. They were desperate to kill Him and went about it in such a crude way, changing charges and making it clear that they were not interested in doing justice.
Before Pilate, they accused Jesus of perverting the nation and forbidding people to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He was Christ, a King (Luke 23:2). They also said He stirred up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to Jerusalem (verse 5). These were lies. It is condemnable that the leaders of the people who should be doing justice were the ones perverting it. Even when, eventually, Pilate found Jesus innocent, they pressured Him to deliver Him to them to crucify.
When Pilate tried to release Jesus by allowing the people to choose between releasing to them a criminal, Barabbas, or Jesus, an innocent man, they influenced the people to demand the release of Barabbas. If the chief priests were sincere that Jesus was guilty of treason, why did they ask the people to demand the release of Barabbas who was guilty of insurrection and murder, and was subsequently imprisoned? (Luke 23:19, 25; Mark 15:7).
Jesus never led any insurrection against Rome but the Jewish leaders accused Him falsely. Barabbas was convicted and imprisoned for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem. However, the people demanded his release. Was Barabbas a better choice than Jesus? The chief priests were not honourable. They allowed envy to becloud their sense of justice. They succeeded in crucifying Jesus but this was in fulfilment of the Scripture.
The trial of Jesus and crucifixion were totally a perversion of justice. Before Annas, the Sanhedrin headed by Caiaphas the High priest, Herod, and Pilate, Jesus did not get justice. Annas, the former High priest, who still wielded much influence at that time as the father-in-law of the serving High priest, Caiaphas, shouldn’t have had any role in the trial of Jesus. But He was taken to him first after His arrest, as I said previously, and he questioned Him. This was illegal. Even in his presence, one of his officers slapped Jesus. That was wrong.
Also, the Jewish Council, the Sanhedrin, observed the law in the breach such as in the time of trial and the speed of passing a guilty verdict on Him. The trial was conducted illegally at night and just before the Sabbath. Caiaphas was already biased. He had earlier advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people (John 18:14). As I said previously, because there was no charge against Jesus, the Council procured false witnesses whose testimonies could not agree.
It was not surprising that the Sanhedrin rushed the trial of Jesus and passed a death sentence on Him within hours. According to the Hebrew law, Jesus could not be convicted on the basis of his own testimony. But the Council convicted Him.
There are other proofs that the trial of Jesus was a perversion of justice. What about the trial before Herod? After Pilate had sent Jesus to Herod because His case was within His jurisdiction, Luke 23:11 says Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Him. How could you do that to an accused person who was supposed to be presumed innocent until he was proven guilty? They treated Jesus like a convict when He had not yet been pronounced guilty.
In his prophecy about Jesus’ suffering, the prophet Isaiah said, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken” (Isaiah 53:7-8 New King James Version). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.
Although God ordained the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, we must learn from the perversion of justice that took place in the process of the fulfilment of the prophecy. Jesus was denied justice. Perpetrators of injustice may enjoy it but they should know that whatever anyone sows, he shall also reap (Galatians 6:7). Therefore, it’s always good to obey the Word of God and execute justice. Promote justice; don’t pervert it. The people who pervert the course of justice often cry the loudest when they become victims.
God is a God of justice. He gave the Israelites laws that had to do with justice for all, including the poor and needy, strangers, afflicted, fatherless, and widows. The laws related to issues of bribery, false witnesses, fair hearing, sanctions, and so on. These are still relevant today (Exodus 23:2; Deuteronomy 1:17; 16:19; 24:17; 27:19; Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 17:23; 21:3). Execute justice; don’t pervert it.
God does not pervert justice (Job 8:3). “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4 New King James Version). Emulate Him. Whether you’re a magistrate, judge, leader, or whatever, don’t pervert justice. Do justice to all and injustice to none. As Amos 5:24 says, let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Execute justice.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall not pervert justice in the name of Jesus. Holy Spirit, enable me to do justice to all and injustice to none. I pray that in our courts, societies, and the world in general, justice shall run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. We shall execute justice and not pervert it in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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