Hello and welcome to Tuesday’s foundations podcast. My name is James and as I mentioned yesterday I am married to Lucy and we have a one year old called Joshua. I was brought up in the beautiful North West of England… a fantastic place called Wigan, in-between Manchester and Liverpool. It is a place made famous for its love of pies and rugby league… an odd combination that featured heavily through my childhood.
As good and as Godly those things are, today’s podcast is about neither of those things… It is about accusations and truth.
We’re looking at Luke 22:66 – 23: 12. It is 17 verses long but we are going to focus on the 4 verses at the start of chapter 13. Let me read them now.
Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”
So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
Brilliant. Over today and tomorrow we have the trials of Jesus – we have two stories that mirror each other. Jesus gets trialled by Pilate and then again by Herod… In today’s story Jesus is being brought by the “the chief priests and the teachers of the law”: together they formed a religious and political pressure group called “the council of the elders of the people.” They have conspired to bring Jesus to justice. They accuse him of blasphemy and when they cannot pin blame… then they accuse him of opposing Caesar, and then they accuse him of disturbing the peace.
We have been looking through the gospel of Luke together since the middle of December. Next week it will come to an end. With the last 3 months of reflections in our minds, do we think these 3 accusations are true? In part the answer is yes.
Now, hear me correctly, I do not think Jesus is a blasphemer. But there are some ways these accusations reflect truth. For example:
- It is true that… Jesus is challenging their perception of the God they believe in. They are offended.
- It is true that… Jesus came to oppose Caesar. We have heard time and time again that Jesus is Lord… He is the King of Kings and he came to establish an everlasting Kingdom.
- It is true that… Jesus disturbed the peace. Everywhere Jesus went there was often radical response… either for or against Him…
On the other hand, there are subtle ways that these accusations are simply false.
- It is not true that Jesus opposes God… the word used is ‘blasphemy’. Blasphemy in the sense of showing a lack of respect towards God or Gods purposes… it is not in his nature to oppose God if we believe He and the Father are one.
- It is not true that Jesus came to oppose Caesar and take his taxes (as we heard earlier)… to make a connection with another part of the Bible. Jesus says in Matthew 22:21 “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Again connecting the broader story of the Bible in here, it says in Romans 13:1 “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.” Jesus’ agenda was not a political campaign, but for the whole world to be saved.
- Finally, It is not true that Jesus came to disturb the peace. Jesus came and died that we might have peace with God – true peace – not just a pause in-between conflicts – but that our very souls might find their rest in Him who made us.
What does all this mean for you and I?
Over today and tomorrow we have the trials of Jesus – he is found innocent yet accused and punished. There might be times when we too face accusations… either by people or by the accuser (that is, the devil) the same entity that tempted Adam and Eve. Say for example, that you have stood up for Jesus recently in the work place and you have received some pushback – that happens from time to time. The tactic of the enemy is consistent: to use semi-truths to undermine the work of God.
So if that happens, what we are doing here is so important! We’re learning how to handle future tough moments through Jesus’ example in the Bible… through reading and praying together daily. It’s part of our initiatives to grow in relationship with God this year to hear his voice louder than any others. I think that is part of Jesus’ secret to not crumble here under the weight of accusation from the community and from the state. Just before this scene – Jesus retreated onto the Mount of Olives (part of the story that Mick shared last week) – Jesus has heard God’s purposes for him, and I believe this is what gives him the strength to make his stand against the status quo and the powerful forces of the day.
Have we heard God’s voice today? Let’s pray for a spirit of wisdom and revelation – to know his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Are we facing accusation today? Let’s pray – as we do in the Lord’s prayer – to be delivered from the evil one. For God’s is the Kingdom, the power and the glory.
Here is a simple prayer to finish the podcast today.
God, thank you for Jesus’ example. Would you help us to learn from the Bible. Would you prepare us for things coming our way in the future. Would you deliver us from any tough things today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
READING: Luke 22:66-23:12
At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. ‘If you are the Messiah,’ they said, ‘tell us.’
Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’
They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’
He replied, ‘You say that I am.’
Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’
Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.’
So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’
‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man.’
But they insisted, ‘He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.’
On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.