“And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and elders were assembled . . . Jesus stood before the governor . . .”
— Matthew 26:57, 27:11
Have you ever had one of those days when it seemed as if everybody was ganging up on you? If so, then imagine what our Lord went through in the trials that lead to His crucifixion. Jesus had previously declared that He would be delivered into the hands of sinful men who would scourge and crucify Him. Now He had fallen into those cruel hands. The ordeal which would culminate in unspeakable horror for Him had now begun. The claw of the dragon was in His flesh. But Jesus mustered all His courage. He had come into the world to be the death of sin, and by that death He’d bring salvation to the world. Never before in any courtroom were the issues as momentous as when Christ stood trial. The eternal bliss or woe of countless people hung delicately in the balance.
Anyone who honestly examines Christ’s trials (both the Jewish and the Roman ones) must conclude that they were, in almost every one of their details, totally illegal—that Jesus Christ received nothing but injustice when He stood before the bar of human justice. We, who are so quick to demand our rights and to demand justice, may do well to fix our eyes upon the Son of God and how He fared when He stood before the bar of human justice, keeping in mind that one day we shall stand before the bar of God’s justice.
In another sense, though, Christ’s trial was perfectly legal. If we try to look at it from the divine perspective, we see it in a different light. Humans attempted to convict Jesus for His own sins, but He had none; therefore, they convicted Him illegally. But God convicted Jesus of real sins—our sins—which were imputed to Him. In the deepest and highest sense, God tried and condemned Jesus for us, making Christ’s punishment fit our crimes. How can we ever thank Jesus enough?
“It was in our place that He was tried, and it
was in our place that He was condemned.”