Blasphemy or Divine Reality
Today the legal maxim “innocent until proven guilty” has an established place, not only in American courts, but also in international courts. It was formally settled into American law by the Supreme Court decision of 1894 in the Coffin vs. U.S. case, but when we go back to the Middle Ages and the ecclesiastical courts of the Inquisition we find the use of torture, secret accusations, and arbitrary procedural injustices to condemn heretics to death in the flames.
It was cold in the early spring of AD 33 as late at night Jesus, the accused, was brought before a hastily called meeting of the Sanhedrin. The proceedings foreshadowed the injustice of the Inquisition rather than the justice and fairness of the principle, “presumed innocent.”
“Now they led Jesus to the high priest, and the gathering of all the chief priests, elders, and legal religious experts of the law. And Peter followed from a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. He was sitting with the guards who had gathered around the fire to keep warm.
The chief priest and the whole Sanhedrin were seeking testimony against Jesus so they could put him to death, but they were not finding any. Many false witnesses testified against him, but their accounts didn’t agree. Then some witnesses stood and began falsely accusing him. They said, ‘We heard him say, I will destroy this handmade Temple and in three days build another not made with hands.’ But their testimony didn’t agree either.
Then the high priest stood and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer these testifying against you?’ Jesus remained silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus replied, ‘I am! And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand in the position of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’
The high priest tore his tunic saying, ‘Why do we need any more witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’” Mark 14:53-64
The question “What do you think?” is one that none of us can escape. If Jesus claim to be the Messiah, the divine Son of God who will one day return to judge the world is a lie, than he is a blasphemer, and the Jewish high priest based on the Law of Moses justly had the right to condemn him to death. If this point of view is correct, then we live in a world where the most influential teacher for self-sacrificial love, humility, care for the powerless, forgiveness, and hope is the biggest deceiver who has ever lived. Or if the point of view of Mark who wrote this Gospel is correct, , then all of us need to trust in Jesus’ ability to rebuild his body in three days after it is torn completely down at the cross.
LORD, help me even when it comes to accusations made on social media not to forget the fairness and justice of presumed innocent until proven guilty. Help me care about truth and to reject those who are willing to lie to accomplish their own ends.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!