“The chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death” (Matthew 26:59).

Perjury is the crime of intentionally lying after being sworn to tell the truth. Such false statements can be made in a court of law, in administrative hearings, in interrogations, or even by signing or acknowledging a written legal document known to have false information. Prosecutions for perjury are rare since defendants will usually argue that they made a mistake.

People often think judicial systems are infallible, but sometimes in- nocent people are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Occasionally someone is even put to death based on false testimony. Ruben Cantu was seventeen years old when he was convicted of capital murder. In 1993, the Texas teen was executed. About twelve years later, further investigations revealed that Cantu likely didn’t commit the murder. The only eyewitness recanted his testimony, and Cantu’s co-defendant later admitted that he allowed his friend to be falsely accused. He said Cantu wasn’t even there the night of the murder.

For a couple of years Sanhedrin spies had been shadowing Jesus. They reported His words and movements but found nothing that could be used to convict Him of a crime. When Christ was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin court, the evil leaders tried to find false witnesses to speak against Jesus, but none of their stories agreed. (The Mishnah outlines how all witnesses must be cross-examined in order to determine if their statements are accurate.)

The religious leaders had already decided they wanted Jesus dead. After repeatedly breaking Mishnaic judicial laws, they condemned Christ to death. Jesus was tried before a group of prejudiced judges, He was treated as a criminal before being found guilty, and He was sentenced to death. In the end, the very law used to attack Jesus condemned the Sanhedrin.

Christ bore all this injustice in order to stand in your place. Are you grateful for what He has done for you?

Dear Jesus, thank You for suffering unjustly for my sins, for standing condemned that I might be set free.

For Further Study: Matthew 26:47–68; John 3:17; Isaiah 53:7

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