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Night Court


Mark 14: 43-65

Today in the passage that was read you see Jesus arrested and put on trial.

The question that we will be faced with this morning is, “What do you say about Jesus?”

Today we are going to see Him go to “Night Court” and maybe His appearance in “Night Court” will be your day of decision.

In verses 43-52 we read about Jesus’ arrest.

And you can imagine the fear and the threat that the disciples felt.

And then Judas comes forward and He signals to the mob which one they were after by kissing Jesus.

And when he does that verse 46 says that the mob, “laid hands on Him, and seized Him.”

They seize Jesus and in verse 47 Peter jerks out his sword and he swings at the face of one of the high priest’s slave with every intention of ending his life.

Had Jesus not picked it up and placed it back on the head of the man who was injured and healed him, there very likely would have been 4 crosses the next day at Calvary.

Look what Jesus says in verse 48. “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as against a robber? “Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me.”

This scene in the middle of the night was so unnecessary.

Because they are afraid of the people.

So they arrest Jesus, but I want you to notice the very end of verse 49. Jesus says:  but {this has happened} that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.”

This was an ugly, frightening scene. And I think that is confirmed by verse 51 and 52.

And as he was watching, some in the mob grabbed him…and to escape he dropped the sheet and ran away naked.

 And I think Mark wants his readers to ask the question, “Is that like you? Are their some prices just too high to pay when it comes to following Jesus?”

In verses 53-65 you read about the trial…that is if you can call it a trial.

And they want to condemn Jesus so badly that in verse 56 they bring in witnesses to lie.

And so in verse 60 the high priest stands up and he begins to question Jesus.

And look once again at verse 65.

65        And some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps {in the face.}

This whole trial was a sham! This was a Kangaroo Court.

First of all, according to Jewish law, the arrest was illegal.

Secondly, the arrest is illegal because it was brought about by the word of a traitor…and you could not arrest on that basis.

Third, the court proceedings themselves, this hearing before the Sanhedrin was illegal because a trial could not take place at night….it could not take place before the morning sacrifice.

It was also illegal to have a preliminary hearing in private. Any kind of hearing like this had to be public.

It was against the law for the high priest to question the witness. The high priest was not allowed to directly question the witness.

Inconsistent and conflicting testimony is being accepted.

The witness himself is condemned based on his own testimony…that was against the law.

He was charged with blasphemy…and even though the charge was serious…under Jewish law that charge was not specific enough to condemn Him.

Once the accused is found guilty, 24 hours had to pass before sentencing could occur. They passed sentence immediately.

The Judges were not polled individually for their verdicts. They were supposed to ask each one individually what his verdict was.

And under Jewish law, any verdict that was unanimous was considered invalid because they said that a unanimous verdict was clearly the action of a mob or the result of emotional fervor.

You see, this whole thing was a sham.

But there is something here about Jesus I want you to notice.

But they have got to find something to justify their actions against Jesus….so the high priest asks Him in verse 61, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

And now, if there was ever a time to keep silent, this is it!

But guess what?

 And look what he says in verse 62: “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

 That is not a confession, that is a warning!

The high priest knew he got the answer he wanted.

And they beat Jesus with their fists, and slap Him, and tell Him to prophesy….and they don’t even realize that as they do so they themselves are fulfilling prophesy.

Now, let me give you 3 lessons from this story.

  1. In the midst of all of this Jesus stands alone.

And the point is, when you follow Christ, you too may find yourself at times, standing all alone.

Jesus stands alone and His courage and His conviction does not rest on others.

And if we are going to stand alone…we must do the same….we must develop a faith of our own that gives us the courage and conviction to withstand any and all charges that people might make against us because we follow Jesus.

  1. Jesus told the truth.

Jesus told the truth and the question is, “Will you?”

Will you tell the truth about Christ? Regardless of how painful it might be?

  1. You stand on one side or the other…there is no middle ground.

You see, that is why this story is here: For you to ask “where do I stand?”

Two things about your verdict:

 You see, Jesus is no longer on trial, but we are.

Don’t miss Marks point.

It might mean a cross for you too.

And so what will you do? Will you stand up with Him or will you flee.

This morning, you are before the bar…He is watching you…what will your answer be?