v 3. Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes
It is a horrible thing to be falsely accused of some crime. In recent years there have been a number of notorious cases of wrongful conviction, when innocent men and women have been imprisoned for lengthy periods of time. How much worse it would have been if they, being innocent, had been executed. That was exactly the situation in which Jesus found Himself – the spotless and holy Son of God falsely accused and heading for death on a Roman cross. Peter put it this way: ‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.‘ (1 Peter 3:18)
I wonder sometimes what these many crimes might have been. Could it have been that they imagined Him as a leader, organising a popular rebellion, or a mischief-maker wanting to gain notoriety? The picture I get however is of Jewish leaders afraid of losing their own influence in society, running scared of someone else claiming their precious role as preeminent in the religious life of the nation. Did they think it a crime to heal the sick, or feed the hungry, or teach about loving one another?
More likely His ‘crime’ was to rebuke their selfishness, their love of being seen as important, or the way they made money out of their religion.
These were crimes for which Jesus died, and for which a way of forgiveness has been opened up.
How easy it is to see the glaring inconsistencies in the lives of those who stood in judgement over Jesus.
And how difficult it is to see similar inconsistencies in our lives! It was my sin, our sin, that nailed Jesus to the cross. All the accusations levelled against Him should have been directed against me – I am the sinner and He is the Righteous One. The judgement that should have been laid on me was laid on Him and the punishment meted out to Him should have been mine. Paul puts it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:21 ‘ For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.‘ I think of it as ‘The Great Exchange’; although innocent He was accused, and suffered, so that when I am accused I can share His righteousness.