Lesson 3 -- third quarter 2005
June 19, 2005
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Have you ever pursued your interests at the expense of justice?
How do you respond to false accusations?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
The rulers had no interest in justice.
The chief priests and their cohorts had closed their hearts to truth. They hated Jesus and the threat He represented to them and their system. They concluded the only solution was to eliminate Him, so they decided to kill Him. Knowing they lacked just grounds for executing Him, they discarded justice. We must take heed in our attitudes and responses toward them -- our flesh is no better than theirs and therefore just as capable of terrible injustice.
The rulers tried to cover their evil with an aura of godliness.
The rulers compounded their sin by trying to use God. God had declared that the witness of one person was insufficient (Deuteronomy 19:15). The rulers looked for witnesses against Jesus, caring only that two witnesses would agree (truthful witnesses would be an unessential bonus). God had also stipulated death for anyone who blasphemed His name (Leviticus 24:16). What a relief for the rulers when Jesus openly declared Himself to be the Christ! Now they could use a specific portion of the Law to be rid of Jesus (not that they really cared about God being blasphemed). Again, we must beware of such calloused abuse and misuse of God's Word.
The Lamb of God offered no defense, meekly bearing injustice.
Jesus could have destroyed the false witnesses along with those who plotted against Him. He could have challenged every statement and exposed every heart. He easily could have escaped. Instead, He chose to bear the injustice and shame...meekly and without defense. He knew that was the Father's plan for that time. We also need to be well-attuned to God so that we too can respond to injustice as He would have us to at any given time.
Questions and Responses
How could Israel's spiritual leaders descend to such injustice?
"Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matthew 15:7,8).
Most of Israel's spiritual leaders made pretense their spirituality. Generally speaking, they were far from God. Many of them wielded the Law as a tool for their purposes and not God's. Though these people knew the Scriptures, they loved neither the Scriptures nor the God who breathed them. Their inspiring speech could cover the deadness and uncleanness for only so long, and it certainly couldn't counteract the unclean deadness.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27).
With such hearts, how could they be just? In fact, how could anyone (even those of us reading this) avoid injustice and all other sins of the spirit if the spirit is in such condition? We need to cry out to God for cleansing and renewal!
Why did Jesus not escape or defend himself?
"Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners" (Matthew 26:45).
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:21,23).
Isn't it ever right to set the record straight against false accusations?
Yes, there surely must be times when stating the truth is in order, but we must do so in the spirit of Christ. As hard as it may be, we must implement precepts like these that follow.
"When ye do well, and suffer for it...take it patiently" (1 Peter 2:20).
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
"Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat" (1 Corinthians 4:12,13).
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