It’s one thing when politicians lie. It’s another thing when religious leaders blatantly make false statements, especially when it’s in a court of law where the verdict could be death. The ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” is at the heart of the Mosaic Law, the moral core of Judaism. Yet in the trial of Jesus, listen to the Sanhedrin’s accusations against Jesus before Pilate.
“And all of their assembly (the Sanhedrin) stood and brought Him to Pilate. They began to accuse Him, ‘We have found this one misleading our nation and forbidding paying taxes to Caesar. And he is claiming to be the Messiah, the King. So Pilate questioned Him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus responded, ‘You are saying this.’ Pilate said to the High Priests and the crowd, ‘I find no grounds for charges in this man.’ But they grew stronger in their accusations, ‘He is inciting the people teaching throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee all the way to here.’”
Remember the question the religious experts raised about paying taxes to Caesar? How did Jesus respond? (Lk. 20:20-26) It was a boldfaced lie, and so was the charge of inciting the multitudes. Pilate could make no claims to moral decency, but even he saw through their lies. What’s amazing is that because Jesus is the King of the Jews, He did not resist these false charges but took the full brunt of this evil and died so that we can be forgiven.
LORD, help me not to play the role of the lying priests in this trial before Pilate. Give me an abhorrence of bearing false witness. I pray that all of us who claim to be Your disciples will not twist and stretch the truth in order to maintain power, influence, or even in the name of patriotism.
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