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Believe it or not, the ones who plotted,
planned, and schemed to have Jesus crucified were all religious leaders.
In the scriptures, we find that all the Jewish religious leaders used accusations
to eliminate first Jesus and later, Christians. Pharisees (Matthew
8:6), Chief Priests (Matthew
23:2, 10; Acts
25:16, 18), the elders (Matthew
25:16, 18), teachers of the law/a lawyer (Mark
23:2, 10; John
24:9, 12), and the Sanhedrin (Mark
15:4) were all in on it. And once their plan was
set in motion and Jesus was illegally tried during the night, the Jews
joined in on the accusations (John
23:28-30, 35; Acts
And these weren't just any accusations.
It wasn't that these people just happened upon useful information to use
against Jesus. Oh, no. They tried using a question in order to trap Jesus
8:6). They literally looked for a reason to
accuse Him (Matthew
22:2). Not only that, but they must have thought
they needed to be sure they had "enough" to make it stick, because they
accused Him of many things (Mark
15:3-4). And that's not all. After an impartial official
didn't see any basis for a charge against Jesus, they continued with their
accusations, insisting upon them (Luke
23:2-5). And then they turned it up a notch–they
accused Jesus (Luke
And then, after they had successfully devised
a scheme, the Jews (the "regular" religious people) zealously joined in.
Eventually, all their accusations and evil efforts paid off–Jesus who was
without sin was crucified.
Then, after Jesus was crucified, dead,
buried, had arisen, and ascended into heaven, they turned their attentions
to those irritating followers of His. After all, they just wouldn't
shut up! Those Christians paraded around telling everyone about Jesus.
For goodness' sake, what would it take to be rid of Jesus, once
and for all!? Of course, the only solution would be to kill them, too.
Good riddance to bad rubbish, they must have thought.
The Bible gives us detailed accounts of
how accusations were used against the apostle Paul in an attempt to silence
him. Paul's accusers had a plot to be carried out against him–they conspired
and even took an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed him (Acts
23:12, 30). And even though accusations made against
Paul could easily be verified as being untrue (Acts
24:10-13), his accusers brought charges against him
and asked for him to be condemned without even being given an opportunity
to defend himself (Acts
Scripture indicates that we should likewise
anticipate false accusations; Christians are instructed to live such good
lives among the pagans that though they may accuse us of doing wrong, they
will see our good deeds and glorify God (1
So what is the point of bringing up all
of this information about accusations? On the surface, it would seem that
we aren't to trust anyone, not religious leaders, not "regular" religious
people, and not anyone else. But I don't believe that is the message we
should glean from these scriptures. We've covered the method they
all have in common–false accusations. But let's look at the motive.
Let's ask ourselves why these people felt the need to make
What was it about Jesus that the Pharisees,
Chief Priests, the elders, teachers of the law, and the Sanhedrin didn't
like about Jesus?
And, yet, with this long list of "reasons,"
the scriptures assure us that they hated Jesus without reason (John
15:25). Jesus was without sin. He was telling them
the truth, and they just couldn't stand it. Jesus was fulfilling the prophecies
and taking his rightful place as the promised Messiah, but they chose not
to see it. They simply hated Jesus because he was all of the good things
they weren't. And they decided to destroy him rather than to learn from
He told listeners that unless their righteousness
surpassed that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, they would not
enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew
He taught in their synagogues, preaching
the good news and healing every kind of sickness and disease (Matthew
He called them "wicked" and "adulterous" when
they asked Him to perform a miracle (Matthew
He told them that they broke the command of
God for the sake of their traditions (Matthew
He taught that some of the religious traditions
weren't valid, and said the Pharisees were "blind guides" (Matthew
He warned listeners to beware of the Pharisees'
and Sadducees' teaching (Matthew
He told them their hearts were hard (Matthew
He said through a parable that the kingdom
of God would be taken away from them and given to another group of people
who would produce fruit (Matthew
He said through a parable that though they
had been invited, they had refused the invitation and didn't deserve to
come to the wedding banquet (heaven) (Matthew
Jesus told his listeners that the Pharisees
did not practice what they preached (Matthew
He called them hypocrites and said they couldn't
enter the kingdom of heaven and wouldn't let others enter, either (Matthew
He called them hypocrites, sons of hell, and
said they made others twice as worse as they were (Matthew
He called them hypocrites and said they neglected
justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew
He called them hypocrites and said they were
full of greed and self-indulgence (Matthew
He said they were full of hypocrisy and wickedness
He called them hypocrites and said they testified
against themselves (Matthew
He said they honored God with their lips but
their hearts were far from Him, they worshiped God in vain, their teachings
were but rules from men, they had let go the commands of God, and they
nullified the word of God (Mark
He drove the money changers and merchants
out of the temple area and said they had made it a den of robbers (Mark
He knew their thoughts (Mark
He taught his followers to watch out for the
teachers of the law. He said they devoured widows' houses and made lengthy
prayers for a show, and that they would be punished most severely (Mark
He said they were full of greed and wickedness
and were unclean (Luke
He said they neglected justice and the love
of God (Luke
He said they were like unmarked graves which
men walk over without knowing it (Luke
He said they loaded people down with burdens
they could hardly carry and wouldn't lift a finger to help them (Luke
He said they were as guilty as their forefathers
who killed the prophets (Luke
He said they had taken away the key to knowledge,
hadn't entered themselves, and were hindering others from entering (Luke
He warned listeners to beware of the Pharisees'
hypocrisy and that their secrets would be revealed (Luke
He said they justified themselves in the eyes
of men, but God knew their hearts, and that they were detestable in God's
Many of their followers had instead begun
to follow Jesus (Luke
Through a parable, he called them murderers
He told them they would die in their sin (John
They thought that if Jesus continued to perform
miracles, the Romans would come and take away their place and nation (John
There are at least four vital lessons we
should learn from this:
All false accusations originate from the same
source-Satan. No, Satan does not force anyone to make false accusations,
but he is the one who places the notion or temptation to make them. We
know this because Satan is known in scripture as "the accuser of our brothers"
who will be hurled down for accusing us before our God day and night (Revelation
12:10) and because the devil is the father of lies
8:44). We must strive to never play into the hands
of Satan and aid him in making or supporting false accusations.
Not all accusations are wrong. Jesus expressed
plenty of accusations against the people. They were all true, and it was
the right thing to express them. Therefore, we should remember that sometimes
accusations do need to be made.
Before making accusations against anyone else,
we should check our facts and our motives first; otherwise, we may be just
like the Pharisees.
When we hear accusations made against a brother
or sister in Christ, we should search for the reason(s) behind the accusations.
The scriptures indicate that the accusations may be false ones. And if
we participate in false accusations, we're like the Jews who helped to
When we are wrongfully accused, we can take
comfort in the knowledge that we are in the best of company–that of our
Savior Jesus Christ and the Christians throughout the ages who stood firm
even though it meant severe persecution.
Fortunately, there is very good news for
all of Christ's followers–in God's eyes, we are free from accusation because
we are reconciled by Christ's sacrifice (Colossians
Copyright © 2002 Kimberly
B. Southall. All rights reserved.