Jesus Is On Trial Still

There is no question about who Jesus Christ claimed to be.  As He stood before the first of three religious trials (and three civil trials), He was asked to answer the charge of blasphemy.  The high priest asked Him straight up, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  Mark’s Gospel records His straight up answer, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 

Rather than examine the real evidence that Jesus offered as proof of His identity, the Sanhedrin conspired with false (albeit flimsy) witnesses.  Liars were encouraged by the Jewish Council to falsify the evidence against Jesus.  They were not interested in hearing the truth but in achieving their prejudiced sentence against Jesus.  They hated Him and rejected what He taught.  His good example made them insanely angry.  They would silence Him one way or another.

Their own law was meticulous about the proper use of witnesses.  The entire judicial system of Judaism was predicated upon faithful and trustworthy witnesses.  Just a quick reading of Deuteronomy 19:15–21 (ESV) will expose the trial of Jesus as a mockery of the Torah. 

15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed.  Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.  16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days.  18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother.  So you shall purge the evil from your midst.   20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.   21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

Objectivity, cross-examination, rigorously scrutinized witnesses and a fair trial are as old as time itself, with deep roots in the Old Testament Law.  A person is considered innocent until proven guilty, and that by multiple witnesses whose testimony bears evidence to the same.  But Jesus, in the end, was tried, sentenced, and condemned to die without one single witness to verify a single violation of God’s law.    

Why?  Why were they so enraged by Jesus?  The answer is unnerving.  It’s the same reason that so much of the world is angry at Him even now.  Jesus exposes our deeper and darker motives.  He explained the root of man’s resistance to Him in John Chapter 3.  He said, “19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.   20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.   21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

In a very real sense, Jesus’ trial didn’t end with His crucifixion on a Roman cross.  It’s acted out every day in the beating heart of every human being.  Each person is responsible to re-enact the trial of Jesus humbly considering the evidence of His birth, His life, His death, and ultimately His resurrection from the dead.  What is your judgment of Him?  Will you hear the truth as He described it? 

I’ll see you on Sunday morning at one of our two services when we will study Mark 14:53-72,  Jesus Is On Trial Still.   

Journeying with you towards Easter,
Pastor Deric


P.S.  Christianity, like its leader, is very much on trial in our prejudiced world.  At least in the West where I live, it’s easily demonstrable that Christianity is being subjectively scrutinized and unjustly sentenced without the evidence being objectively weighed.  False witnesses on the outside are multiplied against Christianity.  Faltering witnesses inside of the church aren’t helping our witness as the church.  But “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the church, so says Jesus.


I love mountains.  They inspire, challenge, and humble me. Here is a list of the few mountains that I have touched personally (most of which I have actually walked or climbed).  The first is Mount Katahdin which is the highest mountain in the U.S. state of Maine at 5,269 feet (1,606 m).  When we drive back east (home), Katahdin is the marker that we have arrived.  Cadillac Mountain is another one of our favourites.  It’s located in Baxter State Park in Bar Harbor, Maine.  We had several of our sweetest dates as young lovers in Baxter State Park and Cadillac Mountain.  I’ve been up St. Thomas Mountain near Chennai, India.  The spot that enshrines the martyrdom of Thomas the Apostle as the evangelist who travelled the greatest distance to preach the Gospel.

My youngest son, our “caboose” and I climbed Sharp Top Mountain in Virginia.  I’ve stood in breathtaking awe at the Rocky Mountains in western Canada.  I’ve been on top of Mount Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration) in Israel while imagining Jesus in His glory.  I’ve gawked several times at the splendor of Mount Hermon (pictured above).  And I crawled my way up parts of the mountains on Israel’s side of the Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat), a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian Peninsula.  Its coastline is divided among four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  I will never forget an early morning run along the coastline of the Red Sea (5.32K to be exact). 

But of all the mountains I have visited, “The Mount of Olives” is my favourite!  It’s more like a “ridge” on the eastern side of Jerusalem, from which it is separated by the Kidron Valley.  Its first mention in Scripture is during King David’s flight from Jerusalem due to the rebellion of his own son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:30).  David is described as going “up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered.”

The Mount of Olives (as you know) played a pivotal role in the ministry of Jesus.

  • It was from the mount that Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:37-44)
  • It was from this location that He gave prophecies concerning the global trials and tribulations that will occur just before His second coming (Matthew 24)  
  • After His death and resurrection, Jesus led His disciples out again over Olivet, to Bethany, and after a parting blessing ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50-51)
  • It is also to the very mountain that Jesus Christ will return in power and great glory according to Zechariah 14:4

Undoubtedly, the Mount of Olives is most famous for the agonizing prayer vigil that was held there by Jesus a short while before His betrayal and His arrest.  His suffering began in the Garden of Gethsemane where He would wrestle with the impending banishment from the Father’s presence and where He would surrender Himself with the famous words, “Not My will but Yours be done.”  This scene has been called the “Holy of Holies” of the New Covenant. 

Come join me on Sunday morning for our journey to Easter.  We have services at 9AM and 11AM.  I look forward to worshipping the Lord together with you.


Pastor Deric