GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 03/07/04
The six trials of our Lord. Matthew 26.
Philippians PHI 4:8 (corrected translation) From now on, members of the Royal family of God, whatever is [keeps on being] true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Of the six principles listed here, the first is “true,” which is the Greek adjective alethe. This refers to the doctrines, principles, and policies of God as preserved His Word of God and transferred to our souls by the daily function of perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Therefore, we must “let our minds dwell on these things.”
It was the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who asked that most important question in JOH 18:38, “What is truth?”To Pilate, truth was about self-preservation, however, to the One he was addressing, the Lord Jesus Christ, truth meant self-sacrifice. While one was trying to save his flesh, the other was giving His flesh for the sins of the world.
Truth withstands the test of experience, MAT 23:1-3. Truth (doctrine) will make you stable, secure, and certain concerning the future. It will enable you to be certain, confident, positive, and assured without being arrogant, because a vital aspect of truth is humility, PSA 25:8-9. If these virtues are being developed in you, it is a good sign that you are under the right teaching, LUK 6:40. We have the responsibility to check out and verify what we are being taught, ACT 17:11.
Aletheia (noun form of alethe) means integrity of character. An individual with integrity of character will be constant, dedicated, devoted, loyal, and steadfast. When he lives in aletheia, he will not be hypocritical, phony, or deceitful, but will have the proper motivation. It is impossible to serve the Lord without truth as one’s motivation. You cannot be sincere and serve the Lord; you must possess the truth, JOS 24:14, 1SA 12:24.
Doctrine is the first basic ingredient that the believer needs to serve the Lord; it enlightens the believer and guides the believer in the angelic conflict and spiritual warfare, in PSA 43:3. Truth leads us to worship God properly, but it is something that we must be taught; it does not come naturally, PSA 25:5. God the Holy Spirit uses the doctrine we have been taught to protect us from deception, JOH 14:26. The Apostle Paul warns us that in the last days truth will be rejected and deception increase, 2TI 4:3-4. Truth alone protects us from deception-not our feelings and emotions. Truth also protects us from many unnecessary self-induced problems. Lying makes a problem part of the future while truth makes a problem part of the past. God desires truth in us, because truth is who God is, PSA 51:6. He reveals grace and mercy by His truth, 2PE 3:18.
None of us could ever face truth if it was not accompanied by grace and mercy, PSA 85:10-11. Grace is for our present need; mercy is for our past. In fact, mercy is God’s grace in action directed toward our past. God’s righteousness looks down from heaven on His truth in us. His righteousness and justice are completely satisfied when He sees his truth functioning in man. In JOH 1:14, the Lord Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth, and He said in JOH 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” It is through spoken words of truth that the believer becomes clean, JOH 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.” You cannot change the truth, but the truth can change you.
Only grace and truth can deliver us from the power of sin and the influence of evil, PRO 16:6, an without truth it is impossible to worship God properly, JOH 4:23-24; JOH 14:15-17 (God the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of aletheia,” the Spirit of doctrine). If anyone loves the Lord he will study His Word, Bible doctrine, 2TI 2:15, 3JO 1:4. Truth will always prevail, even though it is the direct enemy of the kingdom of darkness in spiritual warfare, 2CO 13:8. People involved in religion and self-righteousness despise truth, and Paul said to the legalistic Galatians inGAL 4:16, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?” The key to capacity for life is Bible doctrine resident in the soul. The truth that sets people free is unfortunately the truth that most people refuse to hear.
The next word we need to consider in PHI 4:8 is “honorable”: “From now on, members of the Royal Family of God, whatever is [keeps on being] true [according to doctrine], whatever is honorable”
This is the Greek adjective semna, which means honorable, noble, or respectful. This area of capacity deals with the principles of freedom, honor, and respect. We are to show honor and respect to both believers and unbelievers. The human must be perpetuated under freedom, giving people the opportunity to choose for or against Jesus Christ, and for or against Bible doctrine after salvation, and freedom requires the principles of honor and respect, the establishment principles.
The Lord has made it possible for each one of us to choose between the Tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Tree of Life is your choice for truth, the word of God; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the satanic policy, the satanic genius of human good and evil, and creature credit over creator credit. In His matchless grace, God the Father ensured that, when man chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the human race would be perpetuated till the end of time, without compromising man’s free will. From the fall of man to the end of time, the angelic conflict goes on, because the volition of the human soul is protected.
God has provided and protected freedom while Satan has had a plan to interfere and remove freedom from the beginning of the human race. It is Satan’s objective to destroy freedom so that no one freely make the choices to believe in Christ and commit themselves to Bible doctrine. The Gospel is available to all, and God has preserved the Gospel, the doctrine of salvation. Because the unbeliever is spiritually dead, he cannot comprehend Gospel information, 1CO 2:14, however, God the Holy Spirit, acting as a human spirit, makes real to him and makes his faith effective for salvation.
The yearning for the Lord and for His Word will drive you to Bible class and enable you to overcome the distractions of life. Man’s frame of reference is philosophical speculation, but human I.Q. is not a frame of reference for the perception of doctrine. Our frame of reference is the human spirit and the predesigned plan of God. The omnipotence of the Holy Spirit inside the predesigned plan of God produces receptive comprehension, enabling us to understand and utilize divine viewpoint.
Your real spiritual status quo is known only by you and the Lord. Under the privacy of the priesthood, you are not subject to investigation by other believers. The Bible teaches in 1CO 11:28, 2Co 13:5, GAL 6:4, that we are to examine ourselves and our own work. Under the doctrine of privacy, we do not have the right to examine other believers because we do not have the power look inside their soul and examine their motivation. There are times we can expect unjust and unfair treatment, and we need to give it over to the Supreme Court of heaven and the Supreme Court Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1PE 2:9, we are members of the Royal Family of God forever, and we our “God’s own possession.” Our royal priesthood must have privacy to fulfill its mission in this life, therefore, no believer has the right to intrude on the privacy of another. Throughout the Gospels the Lord dealt with the disciples privately, MAT 17:19; MAT 24:3;MAR 4:34; MAR 9:28; LUK 10:23. Paul respected the privacy of the leaders of the Jerusalem church when he presented the Gospel to the Gentiles for their consideration, GAL 2:2. In Joh 21:21-22, Peter was sticking his nose into John’s business, and the Lord told him to pay attention to his own life. Judging others is a violation of privacy,ROM 14:4,10, and apostates always violate the privacy of other people, 1TI 5:13. Freedom means the right to life, property, and privacy, and it is violated by gossiping, maligning, and judging.
Freedom is the basis of true evangelism and for spiritual growth. You are free to make your own decision, and it must be a free decision without coercion. The freedom to choose gives the human race the right to life and liberty, sometimes called the pursuit of happiness, provided that it does not violate establishment principles and the law of the land.
The next characteristic Paul mentions in PHI 4:8 is “whatever is right”: “From now on, members of the Royal Family of God, whatever is true, whatever is honorable [noble, worthy of respect], whatever is right” The predicate nominative neuter plural form of the adjective dikaios means righteous, equitable, fair, or just. There are many injustices in life, and if you let your mind dwell on those things, they will destroy your peace of mind. Normally dikaios connotes righteousness as the attribute and characteristic of God, or the fulfillment of that which God requires of men. However, the neuter gender denotes the obligation to be fair and just. As you advance in the spiritual life from supergrace to ultra-supergrace (from spiritual maturity to the qualification to be a witness in the historical phase of the angelic conflict), you need to let your mind dwell on that which is just and fair. Supergrace capacity for life includes this sense of justice, of fair play, and of right treatment toward all in one’s personal life.
When you enter No Man’s Land, you will be tested by people. People are going to be unfair and unjust, and you must not lower yourself to their level. Capacity for righteousness and just treatment of others enables the believer to avoid divisiveness, conspiracies, vengeance, and cruelty to others. To be fair and equitable, regardless of any personal feeling in the matter, is essential in any type of leadership.
No greater example exists of one being just and righteous while being treated unjustly than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the only celebrity of the Christian faith, JOH 15:20, 1PE 2:13-24. The greatest injustice ever conceived is the treatment of our Lord during his six trials before the religious Jewish leaders and the Romans. With the exception of one short interrogation, these six trials were unfair and unjust in every way. On trial was the unique Person of the universe, undiminished deity and true humanity forever, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In His humanity, He had no sin nature nor did He ever commit one act of personal sin, 1PE 2:22. He performed only absolute good, and He was indwelt and filled by the Holy Spirit at all times. One of the greatest systems of jurisprudence was abused to condemn the One who was not only innocent, but absolutely perfect.
Of the six trials recorded throughout the Gospels, two were held before Pontius Pilate, where Scripture declares that Jesus testified the “honorable confession,” 1TI 6:13. The first trial was held before Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest. After Judas made a deal with the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver, he began looking for an opportunity to betray Him, Joh 18:2-4, Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth, and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” He knew He was about to be terribly treated, but He did not shrink away from the plan of the Father.
JOH 18:5-10,12-14 continues, “They answered Him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said to them, ‘I am.’ And Judas also who was betraying Him, was standing with them. When therefore He said to them, ‘I am,’ they drew back, and fell to the ground. Again therefore He asked them, ‘Whom do you seek?’ And they said, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am; if therefore you seek Me, let these go their way,’ that the word might be fulfilled which He spoke, ‘Of those whom Thou hast given Me I lost not one.’ Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus&ldots; So the Roman cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.”
Annas was not a judge, therefore, this was an illegal trial. Annas was a political leader of Jerusalem. He was a very wealthy and powerful man who was engaged in criminal activities connected with every system of corruption in Jerusalem. And he is the one is who is about to judge whether our Lord is guilty or innocent. Those who brought the Lord to trial were all self-righteous and religious-the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, who the members of the Sanhedrin, the religious organization around which all Judaism was centered. Annas, the most religious of them all, approved this trial, and following the counsel of Caiaphas, he said, in effect, “Take Him in and kill Him!” JOH 18:14.
The first trial alone is filled with more injustice than we have ever faced. Is it any wonder that a few days earlier, our Lord had said in MAT 23:23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others!”
From the palace of Annas, our Lord was taken to the palace of the high priest Caiaphas. The second trial is described for us in Mat 26:57, “And those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.” Think of how fair this trial one must have been, when Caiaphas was the one who had said, “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation do not perish,”
JOH 11:50. Caiaphas knew that Rome was preparing to demand that the lawlessness in Palestine be rectified by the death of a culprit. Therefore, he advised that it was better for one man to die than all of them losing their power and wealth. The Sanhedrin therefore, would try to palm off Jesus as a scapegoat. The perfect Son of God is to be presented as a master criminal by the criminals themselves.
Jesus was already considered guilty, and now we see the wheels of injustice grind on our Lord Jesus Christ, MAT 26:59-60a, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death. And they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.” At least two eyewitnesses of the same act were required, DEU 19:15. All they needed to draw an indictment against the Lord was two people to agree in their lies. This was the greatest liars’ club that has ever existed. But no two of them were able to agree.
1. The trial was held at night, in violation of Jewish jurisprudence, MAT 26:31,34. They were in a hurry, because the next day was the Passover, and they had to get their dirty work out of the way.
2. There was no defense attorney.
3. The court also sought false witnesses.
4. The court was prejudiced and even violent.
Finally, two of them managed to agree, MAT 26:60b-62, “But later on two came forward, and said, ‘This man stated, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days [JOH 2:18-21].”‘ And the high priest stood up and said to Him, ‘Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?'” The Lord did not answer back! As lie after lie was spoken against Him, the uniqueness of Christ should have been apparent to all who watched this blatant injustice. In fact, from their own Bible they should have been reminded of ISA 53:7, He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
The Lord Jesus Christ put the entire matter in the Father’s hands, according to ROM 12:19. Every moment the Lord Jesus lived, He lived in the moment-by-moment Sabbath, the faith-rest life. He would continually cast His cares upon the Father, and He would leave them there. He quietly rested in the Father’s promises and held His peace, MAT 26:63-67, “But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes, saying, ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? [Caiaphas took a clear statement of fact, which in no way condemned our Lord, and said it was a confession of guilt.] What do you think?’ They answered and said, ‘He is deserving of death!'” [The penalty of blasphemy was death.] Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him.”
Now the violence begins. They spit in the face of the Son of God! They abused and insulted the One who would hang on Calvary’s Cross and be judged for every sin they ever committed, including spitting in His face! They whipped and punched Him without mercy, ISA 52:14, “His appearance was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” When they were through with this second trial, Jesus no longer looked human. His face was destroyed and His eyes swollen. Yet He stood fast, His eyes set on the Cross, and our salvation.