Today’s Reading: John 18:13-14 (NIV)
13 They brought Him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.
It wasn’t exactly the preliminary hearing Jesus’ disciples had hoped for. Taken into custody in the middle of the night, Jesus stood before Annas for questioning. Annas had been high priest for nine years, and even though Caiaphas was high priest this year, many considered the election of high priest to be a lifelong vocation. The people looked to Annas because they believed he had a brilliant mind and exercised sound judgment. What in the world was he thinking that night as Jesus was brought before him?
A preliminary hearing is an opportunity to hear evidence brought by a prosecutor, to determine whether and to what extent criminal charges should be filed. The outcome of this hearing sets the tone for the upcoming trial. It determines which court will hear the case, and what evidence will be admitted. In America’s judicial system, the accused is allowed to have legal counsel represent his or her interests at the preliminary hearing. If the accused cannot afford to pay for legal services, free legal counsel is provided.
Did anyone speak for Jesus at this secret lynching? Who could have adequately represented the Lord God Almighty in a human kangaroo court?Fact-finding questions are asked at the preliminary hearing, to determine if the alleged crime occurred within this court’s jurisdiction, and whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant actually committed the crime. If the judge determines there is sufficient evidence to believe the defendant did commit the crime, the judge would set a date for arraignment, at which time the defendant could enter his plea of innocent or guilty.
As the sun came up over the Jerusalem that morning, Jesus had already been arrested, arraigned, tried and convicted. At best, this was a total mockery of justice. At least Jesus knew He would not die in vain. The blood He shed for the sins of the world is the same blood that continues to wash and cleanse us today.
If you had been there, what charges would you have leveled against the Son of God in a preliminary hearing? Would you stand up in defense of the Master, or accuse the Lord of blasphemy? Would you have cared enough to get up in the middle of the night to attend the preliminary hearing?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2008, Deb Spaulding
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