The Messiah on Trial
Open Your Bible
Luke 22:66-23:12, John 18:28-38, Isaiah 53:7-8
BY Guest Writer
Text: Luke 22:66-23:12, John 18:28-38, Isaiah 53:7-8
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
– Isaiah 53:7, NASB
It’s a little known fact to anyone who steps into my homeschool classroom (in actuality, a small breakfast nook crowded with a well-loved child’s play kitchen, sticky high chair and watercolor-stained dinner table) that I used to be an attorney. Don’t judge.
As someone who has read textbook after textbook of case law and learned the rights guaranteed by the Constitution backwards and forwards, the trial of Jesus has me shaking my head at how such a tragedy of justice could take place. Due process? Hardly.
The list of injustices is lengthy:
The trial was illegally held in a private home.
Witnesses were illegally called at night.
Jesus’ accusers “tried on” various charges until they found something, anything, on which Pilate had jurisdiction to rule.
When Pilate didn’t want to rule, he shipped Jesus off to another judge, Herod. Herod mishandled the defendant and let his jailers mistreat Him—dressing Him mockingly in an elegant robe—after which Herod returned Jesus back to the first judge.
Jesus had every right, every opportunity and, obviously, full capability to protest. When you are the Son of God, I would assume you are more than equipped to argue your case pro se—that is, on your own. And yet, He didn’t.
There’s a phrase that makes any attorney cringe when they hear their client say it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard, whether the client is technically on the right or wrong side of the law. That phrase is, “I don’t care what it costs; it’s a matter of principle.” When you hear those words you then know this case is out of your hands, because your client’s ego, pride and need to prove him or herself right is on the line. Nothing is going to stop them.
I’d argue that no one is any more “in the right” than Jesus. Yet He endured every injustice, every step of the way, without ego, pride or the need to prove Himself. He let go of standing up for the principle of the matter by standing up for those that principally matter to Him. You. Me.
As pastor and writer Adrian Rogers explains, “If Jesus had taken up His own defense with the intention of refuting his accusers and proving his innocence, he would have won. But we would have lost, and we would be lost for all eternity.”
Jesus had a totally different case strategy—to take His case, and ours, to a higher Judge. He is the ultimate example of turning the other cheek. In those instances when we want to stomp our feet and cry, “No fair!”—or “But I’m the one who’s right here!”—we have the freedom to say nothing at all. Christ is our perfect defense. We can take our satisfaction not in proving ourselves right, but in the knowledge that our ultimate fate has already been sealed by a higher Judge—One who sits not on a bench with a gavel, but on a throne of clouds, wielding mercy and unending compassion. Case dismissed.
Sarah Matheny is an ever-growing, ever-changing gal, laughing and living in the Pacific Northwest. One-time attorney, food blogger, and author, all-the-time wife and mom to three wild-eyed, spunky girly girls, she’s passionate about her family, her friends and growing in her walk with Christ as He dishes up an always unpredictable, but totally delicious life.