We see it happen all the time on television and in the movies. A character despises his enemy so much that he will stop at nothing to orchestrate his or her downfall. Often driven by over-zealous rage to the point of irrationality, the self-righteous person becomes blind to their own flaws and enamored with those of their nemesis. Their ruthless tactics cause us to cringe and wince, hoping and praying that we never find ourselves in the crosshairs of anyone so evil in real life.
Often the charters portrayed before us on screen and in film demonstrate their willingness to do whatever it takes to win, at all costs. They make it clear from the start that nothing will stand in the way of them getting what they want. And, it is patently obvious that they will do anything and everything necessary to accomplish their goal, which often includes breaking and/or manipulating the law.
I hope and pray that none of you have been on the receiving end of anything remotely like that during your lifetime. But it would not surprise me to learn that it has indeed happened to one of you with a group of our size. Sadly, things like this happen far too often in real life and incidents like this are not just rich fodder for blockbuster movies. Regardless of how much New York and Hollywood love to glamorize it, this is not a modern motif. It has roots dating back as far as recorded history goes. Innocent victims have been paraded before courts and tribunals for millennia, based upon trumped up charges corroborated by phony witnesses who substantiate all kinds of wildly fabricated false and fictitious claims concocted by the wicked.
How do I know that? Because just such an event is documented in our focal passage this week. Unless you have recently joined us on this journey through the Gospel of Luke, you know that the Sadducees, Pharisees and other religious leaders despise Jesus to their very core and they have been plotting to kill Him for years now. And as we come to the end of chapter twenty-two, they finally have him in their hands, and they are relishing every minute of it. They will finally have their justice, at long last, or so they believe.
Swiftly, under the cover of darkness, they arrange a series of illegal trials in a ravenous attempt to convict Jesus before dawn. In the wee hours of the morning, they parade Him around from place to place and they present a string of witness at each stop. There’s just one problem, the witnesses can’t seem to agree on anything, so their testimony is falling short of corroboration. Imagine their concern; if something doesn’t change soon, they may have to release the accused and they can’t tolerate even the thought of that happening. The vicious prosecutors stand perilously close to the precipice of defeat! “No, this can’t happen” they must have thought, as they see the cliff approaching.
Then something astonishing happens that is totally unexpected, and it likely turned them giddy with glee. The accused had made a major misstep in their eyes. He had given them a monumental gift and the intended to exploit it. They could not believe their good fortune; they never expected anything like this would happen. They could hardly believe their good fortune. Finally, they had bested Him, and the victory would be theirs. Or so they thought.
I hope you can join us tomorrow as we watch this spectacular scene unfold. The climax of this this story is unlike anything you have seen come out of Hollywood. You won’t want to miss it. I promise it will be worth it.
For those of you who were unable to join us in person, here is a link to the video on our new YouTube channel. Also, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. Lastly, you can download files for previous weekly studies by visiting the following webpage: Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.