Lesson 13 | Sabbath, 26 March 2022
“The attacks of the enemy must be met with the truth of His Word. Falsehood must be unmasked, its true character must be revealed, and the light of the law of Jehovah must shine forth into the moral darkness of the world. We are to present the claims of His Word. We shall not be held guiltless if we neglect this solemn duty. But while we stand in defense of the truth, let us not stand in defense of self, and make a great ado because we are called to bear reproach and misrepresentation. Let us not pity ourselves, but be very jealous for the law of the Most High.” –Evangelism, p. 625.
1. What manipulations and intrigues for the purpose of taking His life characterized the behavior of the Jewish rulers toward God’s Son?
Psalms 31:13; 2:2 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life…. 2:2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.
Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
“As soon as it was day, the Sanhedrin again assembled, and again Jesus was brought into the council room. He had declared Himself the Son of God, and they had construed His words into a charge against Him….
“‘Art Thou the Christ?’ they said, ‘tell us.’ But Christ remained silent. They continued to ply Him with questions….
“‘Art Thou then the Son of God?’ they asked with one voice. He said unto them, ‘Ye say that I am.’ They cried out, ‘What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth.’
“And so by the third condemnation of the Jewish authorities, Jesus was to die. All that was now necessary, they thought, was for the Romans to ratify this condemnation, and deliver Him into their hands.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 714.
OPPOSITION WITHOUT A CAUSE
2. What do the Scriptures relate about the deceptions and conspiracies used against the Innocent One?
Psalms 109:3; 35:7 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause…. 35:7For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
“The Pharisees had asserted that Christ’s teaching was opposed to the law which God had given through Moses….
“The leaders at Jerusalem had sent out spies to find some pretext for putting Christ to death. He responded by giving them an evidence of His love for humanity, His respect for the law, and His power to deliver from sin and death. Thus He bore witness of them: ‘They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love.’ Psalm 109:5. He who on the mount gave the precept, ‘Love your enemies,’ Himself exemplified the principle, not rendering ‘evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing.’ Matthew 5:44; 1 Peter 3:9.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 265.
3. What was prophesied about the charges that the enemies of God would level against His Son?
Psalms 109:2; 31:18 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue…. 31:18Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death.
“Our enemies may triumph. They may speak lying words, and their slandering tongue frame slander, deceit, guile; yet will we not be moved. We know in whom we believe. We have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Jesus knows us…. A reckoning day is coming and all will be judged according to the deeds that are done in the body….
“It is true the world is dark. Opposition may wax strong. The trifler and scorner may grow bolder and harder in their iniquity. Yet, for all this, we will not be moved. We have not run as uncertain. No, no. My heart is fixed, trusting in God. We have a whole Saviour. We can rejoice in His rich fullness.” –Reflecting Christ, p. 351.
4. Despite the ninth commandment and many Bible texts expressly forbidding false witness against one’s neighbor, what was presented against Jesus?
Psalms 27:12; 35:11 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty…. 35:11False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
Matthew 26:59-61 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60But found none: yea, though many false wit- nesses came, yet found they none. 61At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
“False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of inciting rebellion and seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 705.
“Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his virtue: so Christ was despised and rejected because His righteous, self- denying life was a rebuke to sin; and though guilty of no wrong, He was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 79.
5. What false testimony was spoken against Him? What must one conclude about the consciences of such people, who had seen so many blessings that Jesus poured upon the people and yet lied about Him?
Psalm 35:11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.
Mark 14:55-58 And the chief priests and all the council sought for wit- ness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build an- other made without hands.
“Above all others the priests and rulers should have seen in Jesus the anointed of the Lord; for in their hands were the sacred scrolls that described His mission, and they knew that the cleansing of the temple was a manifestation of more than human power. Much as they hated Jesus, they could not free themselves from the thought that He might be a prophet sent by God to restore the sanctity of the temple.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 164.
“It is a marvel to me that God will bear with the perversity of the children of men so long, bearing with their disobedience and yet suffering them to live, abusing His mercies, bearing false witness against Him in most wicked statements. But God’s ways are not as our ways, and we will not marvel at His loving forbearance and tender pity and infinite compassion, for He has given an unmistakable evidence that this is just like His character–slow to anger, showing mercy unto thousands of those who love Him and keep His commandments.” –This Day with God, p. 187.
NO REPLY TO FALSE ALLEGATIONS
6. What was Jesus’ response to the falsehoods spoken against Him? What principle did He establish for all who may be put in a similar situation–lied about and innocently condemned?
Psalm 38:13, 14 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. 14Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
Matthew 27:12-14 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
“Even as misrepresented by the false witnesses, His words contained nothing which would be regarded by the Romans as a crime worthy of death. “Patiently Jesus listened to the conflicting testimonies. No word did He utter in self-defense. At last His accusers were entangled, confused, and maddened. The trial was making no headway; it seemed that their plottings were to fail…. The high priest started from the judgment seat, his face contorted with passion, his voice and demeanor plainly indicating that were it in his power he would strike down the prisoner before him. ‘Answerest Thou nothing?’ he exclaimed; ‘what is it which these witness against Thee?’” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 705, 706.
7. What type of answer did Jesus give in such a situation? How can His children learn to repay evil with good deeds, as He did?
Psalms 109:5; 38:20 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love…. 38:20They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
“The leaders at Jerusalem had sent out spies to find some pretext for putting Christ to death. He responded by giving them an evidence of His love for humanity, His respect for the law, and His power to deliver from sin and death. Thus He bore witness of them: ‘They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love.’ Psalm 109:5. He who on the mount gave the precept, ‘Love your enemies,’ Himself exemplified the principle, not rendering ‘evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing.’ Matthew 5:44; 1 Peter 3:9.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 265
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one…. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 324.