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The Condemnation Which Condemns the Judges

The Condemnation Which Condemns the Judges

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Published by glennpease
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN



ST. MARK xiv. 55-65
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN



ST. MARK xiv. 55-65

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Published by: glennpease on May 14, 2014
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The Condemnation which Condemns the Judges BY ALEXADER MACLAREST. MARK xiv. 55-65 55. "And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death ; and found none. 56. For many bare false wit ness against Him, but their witness agreed not together. 57- And there arose certain, and bare false witness against Him, saying, 58. We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59. But neither so did their witness agree together. 60. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest Thou nothing? what is it which these witness against Thee? 61. But He held His peace,
 
and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed ? 62. And Jesus said, I am : and ye shall see the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses ? 64. Ye have heard the blas phemy : what think ye ? And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death. 65. And some began to spit on Him, and to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophesy : and the servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands "JV IT ARK brings out three stages in our Lord s trial J-VL by the Jewish authorities their vain attempts to find evidence against Him, which were met by His silence; His own majestic witness to Himself, which 191
 
192 The Gospel of St. Mark [Chap. xiv. 55-65 . was met by a unanimous shriek of condemnation ; and the rude mockery of the underlings. The other evange lists, especially John, supply many illuminative details ; but the essentials are here, and it is only in criticising the Gospels that a summary and a fuller narrative are dealt with as contradictory. These three stages naturally divide our lesson. I. The judges with evil thoughts, the false witnesses, and the silent Christ (verses 55-61). The criminal is condemned before He is tried. The judges have made up their minds before they sit, and the Sanhedrin is not a court of justice, but a slaughter-house, where murder is to be done under sanction of law. Mark, like Matthew, notes the unanimity of the "council," to which Joseph of Arimathea the one swallow which does not make a summer appears to have been the only exception ; and he probably was absent, or, if present, was silent. He did "not consent " ; but we are not told that he opposed. That ill-omened unanimity measures the nation s sin. Flagrant injustice and corruption in high places is possible only when society as a whole is corrupt or indifferent to corruption. This prejudging of a case from hatred of the accused as a destroyer of sacred tradition, and this hunting for evidence to bolster up a foregone conclusion, are pre-eminently the vices of Less. XIV] A Condemnation Condemning Judges 193 ecclesiastical tribunals not of Jewish Sanhedrin or papal inquisition only. Where judges look for witnesses for the prosecution, plenty will be found ready to curry favour by lies. The eagerness to find witnesses against Jesus is witness for Him, as showing that nothing in His life or teaching was sufficient to warrant their

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