Lent Devotion for March 23
Reader: “Malicious witnesses… "
Response: “…testify against me.”
11 Malicious witnesses testify against me.
They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26:59-61
59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Did you ever put together that there were two thieves crucified with Jesus, two false witnesses (who couldn’t agree in Jesus’ trial), Joseph and Nicodemus put Jesus’ body in the tomb, Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and two men on the road to Emmaus? Is there a connection? The answer is yes. Jewish law requires at least two witnesses to verify the truthfulness of any event or act (Deut. 19:15). A person may not be convicted of a crime with only one witness. Furthermore, if the witness proves to be false, that witness must suffer the penalty of the crime. Though there were false witnesses against Jesus, since their stories didn’t agree, neither suffered any penalty for lying because the whole trial was a sham. God always deals with truth. In the Trinity, two members validate the third member of the Three-in-One God. We live in a world where false witnesses proclaim untruth regarding the Savior because, like the false witnesses in Jesus’ trial, having rejected the claims of the Messiah, their minds are blinded to the truth. May we be faithful and truthful witnesses to the person and work of Jesus Christ. May you have that opportunity today in the various places God leads you.
MUSIC: “Witness” by University of Utah Singers
Give us courage, O Lord, to stand up and be counted, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, to stand up for ourselves when it is needful for us to do so. Let us fear nothing more than we fear you. Let us love nothing more than we love you, for thus we shall fear nothing also. Let us have no other God before you, whether a nation or party or state or church. Let us seek not other peace but the peace which is yours, and make us its instruments, opening our eyes and our ears and our hearts, so that we should know always what the work of peace we may do for you.