WE WERE LIARS BY TRADE (Matthew 26:59-68).
We were in the secret service of the high priest. We were nameless to the public, but we were very valuable to our religious bosses. We had to do the work they did not want to be identified with. We were experts in plotting and inventing lies. Of course, we were well paid for our services. And this one event was important to our bosses. It had to do with a man called, “Jesus of Nazareth” in Galilee. We were given the instruction to spy and inform on Him and turn the truth into a lie.
It was not easy to find fault with Jesus, but it was harder to live without the support of our religious leaders. They held us in their power and in their purse. They always threatened us with excommunication and held hell over our heads. Working for them was also working for God. They believed that they were God’s true representatives. What I am trying to say is, we did not have much choice in the matter. We had to find lies that would support their decisions. We had no problem enlisting Judas to hand Jesus over to the high priest. We convinced him that our priests could not keep Jesus from breaking free from the power He had. We had watched Him perform miracles and we, too, had the idea that we could hasten Jesus’ Mission to restore our nation to glory. We had no idea that Jesus had no intention to take on the priests or politicians.
We were gathered at the home of Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, the high priest and awaited the arrest and arrival of Jesus. He would not speak to us and none of the charges against Him could be proven. We took Jesus to Caiaphas and began to question and accuse Him all over again. And, as before, none of the charges could be validated. Our high priest knew of a prophecy that predicted that some one had to die for the nation and then suggested that it could be Jesus. He called for witnesses against Jesus and no one had any substance. Now, it was up to us to help our boss. We had nothing concrete, but we knew how to twist the truth. We had heard Jesus speak of destroying His body and He would rebuild it in three days. We took it to mean our precious Temple. We said before everyone, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'” That was exactly what our religious boss needed. “Answer the witness,” our boss shouted! “I order you under oath by the living God, are you the Anointed, the Son of God?”
Jesus broke His silence and replied, “If you say so. From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the Mighty One and return in the clouds of heaven.” It was what Caiaphas wanted to hear. He tore his clothes and declared, “This is blasphemy. We need no more witnesses. What do you think we should do with Him?” We had to agree with our religious heads and replied, “He must die.” To please them, we did spit in Jesus’ face and did hit Him with our fists. We slapped Him and then wanted Him to tell us who had hit Him? We had absolutely no sympathy or shame on that very early morning. Jesus was half dead before we dragged Him to the Roman governor and we demanded that He be sentenced to die. Pilate was suspicious of our hasty and early demands to terminate the life of a peaceful man. Jesus had been no trouble to the Romans. He wanted to know why He was troubling us Jews?
On that particular morning, we were instructed to stand our ground and insisted that we were doing what our religious leaders demanded. Pilate found no fault with Jesus. He had Him chastised, mocked, and brought out several times to show us that He was harmless. He even washed his hands to tell us that he was innocent of what we wanted him to do to Jesus. Pilate wanted to give Him back to us for our Passover; but, we were ordered to ask for Barabas, a killer of Romans. It was a slap in the governor’s face and an insult to Rome if he released Jesus. We were to shout, “Crucify Him” over and over. Pilate complied with our wishes and we followed Jesus to Golgotha. After the Roman soldiers had hung Him on a tree, we kept on reviling Him with insults. We had another lie for Him. “If you saved others, and you are the Son of God, you should have no problem saving yourself.” We were celebrating our victory during the Passover. It did not, at all, occur to us that we had helped to condemn and kill our Deliverer. Now, we had to come up with a bigger lie, why His grave was empty and why was Jesus roaming the country? There just was no end to lying. Yes, the world cannot make out without us.