And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. — Mark 14:55-56
Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, in Massachusetts. Being raised in a devout Quaker family, she developed a keen sense of justice and moral behavior. Because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak publicly about her convictions, and consequently she joined the women’s rights movement in 1852.
While she actively organized meetings and made speeches, she became accustomed to hostile mobs making threats and various objects being thrown at her. She was even hung in effigy, and in one major city, her image was dragged through the streets. In spite of all the persecution, she continued to campaign for a woman’s right to vote and own property, and she remained active in these causes until her death on March 13, 1906.
In June of 1873, Justice Ward Hunt found Susan B. Anthony guilty of the federal crime of voting without the right to vote. Before pronouncing her sentence, he asked if she had anything to say regarding the guilty verdict. She replied, “Yes, Your Honor, I have many things to say. My every right, constitutional, civil, political, and judicial has been tramped upon. I have not only had no jury of my peers, but I have had no jury at all.”
In our text, Jesus was subjected to an unfair trial by the religious leaders of His day. They secured false witnesses to say things that were twisted or untrue, but the witnesses could not agree with each other because their charges against Jesus were without foundation. Just as the men in Susan B. Anthony’s day felt threatened by a woman’s ability to vote and have a voice in public affairs, the religious leaders in Jesus’ day felt threatened by His influence with the common people. They perceived it as a threat to their authority over religious and political affairs. Jesus came to show everyone, including religious leaders, the way to true salvation. However, those who preferred holding their position instead of receiving the blessing of God, rejected Him and tried to destroy Him once and for all.
In our Christian walk, there may be some who will make false accusations or even threats against us because of our belief in Biblical truth. We may be faced with situations where we have to take an unpopular stand against society’s attempts to convince people that the truths of God’s Word are not relevant or necessary. We must purpose to remain true no matter what comes.
Susan B. Anthony’s commitment to women’s rights gave women the opportunity to vote. Far more importantly, Jesus’ willingness to endure severe persecution and die on the Cross for the sins of humankind gave everyone the opportunity to obtain salvation. Let us follow their examples. Our steadfastness and loyalty to uphold the truths of God’s Word will also have an impact on those we come in contact with in our day-to-day lives.
After Jesus was arrested, He was taken before the Sanhedrin, which consisted of the chief priests, Sadduccees, Pharisees, and elders. In Matthew’s account (see Matthew 26:58), it was implied that Jesus was taken to the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas. Some scholars state that because this took place in a home, it was likely considered an initial hearing and not a full trial. The Sanhedrin attempted to secure witnesses to testify against Jesus, but their statements did not agree with each other. Because the Law required numerous witnesses to agree with the charges, the Sanhedrin was unable to condemn Jesus through the testimony of false witnesses.
Jesus did not answer any of the charges against Him until Caiaphas asked Him if He was the Christ. Then He responded that He was, and that they all would witness His power and union with God when He returned at His Second Coming. This affirmation of Jesus’ claim to be the promised Messiah enraged the Sanhedrin. The Jewish leaders stated that His response gave them the legal right to condemn Him for blasphemy. Such condemnation by the religious leaders caused some to persecute Jesus by spitting on Him and striking Him.
While Jesus stood before His accusers, a fearful Peter stood outside in the courtyard. Although Peter had assured Jesus many times that he would never deny Him, the intensity of his fear broke down his resolve. Three times he denied that he knew Jesus, each time feeling more panic as those around him began to recognize who he was. After hearing the sound of the cock crowing, Peter remembered the warning of Jesus, and the dreadful realization of his failure caused him to weep bitterly.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VII. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Son of God
G. The trials
1. The trial before the religious leaders (14:53-65)
a. The false testimonies (14:53-59)
b. The questioning (14:60-62)
c. The resultant findings (14:63-65)
2. The denial of Peter (14:66-72)
Although we may face times when standing for God’s Word will bring persecution and false accusations, remember that if we remain faithful to Biblical truth, we will win the crown of eternal life.