MORNING MEDITATION

“Say ‘No’ To Any Travesty Of Justice!”

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“Say ‘No’ To Any Travesty Of Justice!”(Mk. 14:53-72).
Two stories feature in today’s passion narrative. Firstly, after his arrest Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin. The other story is about Peter denying three times that he didn’t know Jesus. There’s however credit to Peter for being bold enough to follow Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest; albeit from a distance.
The Sanhedrin was the high court of the Jews. Its membership in New Testament times included the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law.
Before this court Jesus was hurriedly tried and found guilty – even when there was no justifiable evidence to prove him guilty.
By all indications, after the trial, a mistrial would have been pronounced by an unbiased jury. But as it was, the trial was a farce and was biased. Because “the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against” him “so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.”
False witnesses were bribed to testify against Jesus, just to fulfil the law that at least two witnesses whose testimonies corroborated each other were needed to pass the death sentence.
It is regrettable to note that even today there are so many people who have been incarcerated on trumped-up charges. And there are always paid false witnesses whose fictional testimonies are considered by the judges as undisputed truth.
However, after leading questions from the high priest, Jesus gave them the answer they wanted.
The high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the blessed One?” Jesus answered, “I am…” This was blasphemy enough to cause the high priest to tear his clothes. According to the high priest there was no need for any more witnesses. Jesus had uttered the unpardonable blasphemy to boldly declare, “I Am!” This is God’s sacred name as he gave to Moses in the burning bush. And here was Jesus claiming it of himself. And so “they all condemned him as worthy of death.”
Some years back a modern day missionary from Nigeria approached us at the Synod Office saying that it was necessary for Africans to look for a forum to apologise to Jews because of the way the Egyptians ill-treated the Jews. I argued against it saying that the Jews and the entire Christian world should rather offer a vote of thanks to Africa for having provided a safe haven for baby Jesus at a time when Herod was after his life. Besides, he is a Nigerian, so I asked him why he has not presented his vision to Nigerians and he said the vision was for Cameroon to lead. Those who bought the sham led a delegation to Ethiopia for that purpose. Nobody is mentioning it because it was money wasted.
Some few years ago a Kenyan lawyer made a case against the Jews for killing Jesus. We too can confidently ask the Jewish Sanhedrin to declare a “mistrial” in the overnight hurried trial, judgment and condemnation of an innocent man!But we would not; because what happened was in the will of God!
Yes, there was a travesty of justice; warranting a mistrial. But it was all in the will of God.
That notwithstanding, we Christians should at all times decry false verdicts that condemn the innocent on trumped-up charges; just because it serves the interests and protection of some criminal bigwigs!
My friend, we are not going to thank the head of state, but we thank the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus. Through that condemnation Jesus became the Christ of our salvation.
Passion prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, we are sorry that your friends abandoned you when you needed them most. We would have done worst. Forgive us too. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.

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