Twisting the Truth
For many people who have been wrestling with a problem, coming to a decision is a big relief: even if the decision is wrong! The religious court had already agreed that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy by admitting to be the Messiah (Mark 14:61-62), and that according to the Jewish law, He should be put to death by stoning (Leviticus 24:14-16). But the Roman occupiers did not recognise blasphemy as an offence, and although the Sanhedrin had considerable authority to regulate Jewish society, only the Roman government could sentence a man to death: although stoning was an unofficial punishment by a mob in which no individual could be accused of murder (John 10:31-33).
So, having arrested Jesus, the religious leaders had to find a Roman offence that would achieve their desired fatal result. Luke 23:2 tells us that they decided on treason. To support their case, they would say that Jesus preached civil disobedience and claimed to be a king. And so the truth was twisted to condemn the Truth, the Life-giver was bound, the Way was led away. Pilate's question was truthfully answered - Jesus was the King of the Jews, anointed by God but not yet crowned by the people (Acts 4:26), and the formal Roman trial began.
All this happened just after dawn. The religious leaders had been working through the night to pervert the course of justice, to bring God the Son to death. Priests, academic theologians, rabbis, religious lawyers all conspired to kill the Truth of God. Driven by self-interest, power-lust and fear of being removed from power by the Romans (John 11:48), these men who should have been the guardians of truth replaced it with parallel lies (Romans 1:26). And they were not ashamed: nor as men of God had they any concept of the offence they brought to His Name.
As always, the truth, when twisted, is much fouler than an outright lie. It is the hallmark of Satan's trade (John 8:44). We see it in business, family, friendship and even fellowship - it provides an excuse for behaviour when there is no valid reason. It achieves its objective by deception; often it assassinates character, and stops at nothing until proud self-interest apparently wins. We need to look for those tell-tale signs in ourselves. When we see even hint of twisted truth in our own hearts, we need to repent. When we see them in others we need to beware. Yet the God of truth will always have the last word - as Jesus did when He rose from the dead, and as He will when He comes in Judgement on the Last Day (John 12:24).
© Dr Paul Adams