“If a malicious witness testifies against someone accusing him of a crime, the two people in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and judges in authority at the time. The judges are to make a careful investigation, and if the witness turns out to be a liar who has falsely accused his brother, you must do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from you.” Deuteronomy 19:16-19 (HCSB)
“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus, so they could put Him to death. But they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.” Matthew 26:59-60a (HCSB)
Anyone who approaches “the passion story” with an open mind understands the trial of Jesus was a sham. Perhaps, this passage in Deuteronomy helps us better understand just how much of a sham the trial of Jesus was and how much it offended the Lord.
The chief priests and Sanhedrin were more than lenient toward the false witnesses. They actually went as far as to seek out false witnesses. This is how distorted things got when Jesus came on the scene. Instead of stoning false witnesses, they were hiring them!
Is it any wonder why the people of Israel were crying out for the Lord to send Messiah around the time of Jesus’ advent? It is understandable why the people wouldn’t trust the Roman government or their pagan neighbors. But what happens when you can’t trust your own religious leaders to act on your behalf in a God-honoring way?
To be fair, there was more than one “false testimony” going-on on the evening of Jesus’ trial.
“Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest where the scribes and the elders had convened. Meanwhile, Peter was following Him at a distance, right to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and was sitting with the temple police to see the outcome.” Matthew 26: 57-58 (HCSB)
Peter’s actual testimony preceded the false testimony in the Sanhedrin. None of the testimonies of the Sanhedrin’s false witnesses are recorded in the Bible. But God chose to allow Peter’s testimony to be recorded three times.
Perhaps, today’s passage is a stern reminder of how God hates a false witness, especially from His children.
Question: When you’re around your non-believing friends, how bold and accurate is your testimony about Jesus?
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