Did False Testimony Kill Jesus?

By Royce Frederick

Fearing the multitudes, the armed mob came to arrest Jesus when He was praying alone. There was no evidence of guilt in His reaction. He stepped forward, and His captors fell backward in fear (Jn. 18:6). When Peter defended Him with a sword, Jesus stopped Peter, rebuked him, and healed the enemy whose ear Peter had cut off (Jn. 18:10-11; Lk. 22:50-51). Jesus would not quit doing good to His enemies.

The religious leaders attempted to convict Jesus by using false witnesses. But He watched in calm silence as their false testimony collided and broke apart harmlessly (Mk. 14:55-59). Finally, the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt. 26:63). He freely answered, “It is as you said” (Matt. 26:64a). That was enough for the high priest. The court made no attempt to hear evidence which would support His claim. They triumphantly declared: “He is deserving of death” (Matt. 26:66).

The enemies of Jesus did not base their verdict on the testimony of the false witnesses. His bold confession of His true identity brought the lawless wrath of the court down upon Jesus. Pilate likewise heard Him confess His identity as a king — but of a kingdom which is not of this world (Jn. 18:36-37; 1 Tim. 6:13).

Judas confessed to the religious leaders, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matt. 27:4). Pilate said he found no fault in Jesus (Jn. 18:38). Herod examined Jesus, returned Him uncondemned, and Pilate again declared Jesus innocent (Lk. 23:6-16). Pilate’s wife advised him not to be involved with this righteous man (Matt. 27:19). But Pilate’s moral fiber broke under pressure from the mindless mob. With a feeble gesture of self-acquittal, Pilate again pronounced Jesus innocent — then delivered Him to be scourged for execution (Lk. 23:22-23 and Matt. 27:24). Twice more, Pilate declared Him innocent, trying to stop the execution (Jn. 19:4, 6). But fearing an evil report to Caesar from the crowd, he delivered Jesus to be crucified (Jn. 19:12-16).

After hearing the gospel, believing it, and repenting of our sins, we are called upon to make the same confession which Jesus made: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37; see Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10). We must then be “baptized into His death” to freely receive the salvation which Jesus purchased by His death (Rom. 6:3-4; Heb. 10:12; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mk. 16:16).

The “good confession” (1 Tim. 6:13) which led to His death for our sins is the same confession which leads to our death to sin.