Scripture Reading — Matthew 26:59-68
They spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” — Matthew 26:67-68
The court of the Sanhedrin had standards for how it was supposed to operate.
Sanhedrin rules prohibited meeting during religious feasts. And yet the meeting to condemn Jesus took place during the holiest of feasts—Passover.
Sanhedrin rules required that there be at least a day of deliberation between presenting evidence and rendering a verdict. And yet this hearing sped to a verdict of capital punishment in one sitting, in the middle of the night, perhaps even within an hour.
Like in any fair court, the rules warned against any officer of the court attempting to bias the jury by courtroom drama. But the high priest of this court, at the crucial moment, jumped from the bench and tore his clothes to demand the verdict he wanted.
At some points during this travesty, Jesus the defendant was also blindfolded (Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64), struck, spit on, and challenged to say who had hit him.
Jesus was unjustly condemned, and the hands and fists of the guards and religious leaders assaulted him. So did their mouths—with mocking insults and spitting in the face of the Son of God.
How often do we turn a blind eye to injustice when it benefits us?
Lord Jesus, despising and rejecting you meant despising and rejecting justice itself. Unblind our eyes to unfairness and injustice in the world around us, and show us how to make things right. In your name, Amen.