2016-06-09 - Falsely Accused
The Cross Series, Part 30
Originally Published 1998-03-12
Luke 23:1-5 Then the whole body of them arose and brought
Him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying,
"We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar,
and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King." 3 And Pilate
asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and
said, "It is as you say." 4 And Pilate said to the chief
priests and the multitudes, "I find no guilt in this man."
5 But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the people,
teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as far as this place."
Jesus is publicly accused of sedition against the Roman Empire. While technically
correct in the sense that Jesus did claim to be King, He never claimed His
title to the world at that time. Later, Jesus will correct Pilate that His
followers are not of this world. The Procurator must have wondered if Jesus
quite sane, but found Jesus guiltless. At no time did Jesus pose a threat
to the Roman government or the Emperor, other than the theft of the hearts
of it's citizens.
Privately, the Jewish Council had accused and convicted Jesus of blasphemy.
The punishment would be automatically prescribed as death. But, the Romans
had taken the right to preform capital punishment from the Jewish nation
when the region was occupied. There are records that the High Priest walked
through the streets of Jerusalem with his head covered in ashes and his priestly
robes torn at the proclamation that removed this right.
Gen 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor
the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall
be the obedience of the peoples. (NAS)
The right of self-determination in this very vital area had been taken from
the Jewish people. The scepter had been taken from Judah. Rather than take
this as a sign that the Messiah must certainly be alive, the leadership of
the nation claimed that the Word of God had been broken. Jesus would
have been a very young boy, quite likely still in exile in Egypt with Mary
The Council could not take the charges of blasphemy to Pilate. That would
have been a religious, internal matter. So they modified the charges to fit
their purpose. They rationalized to make the end fit the means required.
Christians are not immune to this before we get too puffed up. Now, we don't
go around trumping up charges to have people executed. But we do gossip under
the guise of sharing something that needs to be prayed about, etc.
Jesus stood falsely accused before Pilate. And the Master warned us that
we would also stand in the same place.
Matt 5:11-12 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at
you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely,
on account of Me. 12 "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward
in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Here in America, Christians are accused of being narrow-minded, unthinking
robots, and some worse. In other parts of the world, children are taken from
their parents, or the professing parents are simply killed - sometimes without
even a mock trial. Jesus never promised us a rose garden, not here. Following
Jesus has a cost that should be counted to see that we are willing to pay.
The price will be exacted whether we are ready to pay or not.
Christianity is in vogue in some circles, watered down to the point it is
hard to recognize. In other cases, it is ridiculed as antiquated, narrow-minded,
arrogant, and preposterous and more. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Christianity, vibrant Christianity, is relevant, open to the possibilities
of an omnipotent God, humble. Jesus' life is better documented and studied
than the life of the great William Shakespeare.
If you think these are arrogant, presumptuous statements, please remember
two things. Not everyone who names the name of Jesus Christ is actually living
out Christianity. Christians make mistakes and outright blunders too. Few
of us claim perfection. And, don't dismiss the thought of arrogance as a
knee-jerk reaction. There is a great deal of press and manipulated public
opinion that could drive that kind of reaction. Think it through for yourself
carefully and over some time.
Are there arrogant, presumptuous Christians? Yes, sadly that is true. There
are also charlatans of the worst kind who hide behind the cross of Christ.
Does that mean that Jesus is not who He says He is, or that He does not love
you and did not die for you to save you? Not at all. I present to possibility
that these are false accusations.
Christian, when you are accused, the best defense is to have lived so that
no one will believe that it is true. Billy Graham comes to mind. In his years
as a Minister of the Gospel, he has made a few errors. But he has always
been careful to correct the problem. The corrected missteps have never been repeated.
Now, Dr Graham is a man - flesh and blood like you and me. He would be the
first to point this out. I doubt anyone would believe any accusation raised
against him. Pilate did not believe the accusations raised against Jesus
either. There is the standard we are to humbly reach for in our lives.
Lord Jesus, through our proud hearts, teach us to live lives beyond reproach.
So that, when we are falsely accused, no one will believe the accusation
could be true. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
CFD | June 2016
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