Jesus Judged A Blasphemer

My Jesuit mentor via the old book I have on daily Ignatian meditations offered this week a startling but true set of thoughts on Christ before the Sanhedrin.

That God the Son was accused of blasphemy was a blasphemy itself. I want to make numbered points out of this meditation, as each point must be seen in the stark reality of evil.

  1. The High Priest planned the death of Christ and knew he could not accuse Him falsely; therefore, Caiphas had to ask a direct question which Jesus had to answer truthfully–…”’I adjure thee by the Living God, that Thou ell us if Thou be Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thou has said it.’”
  2. The High Priest knew Christ was the Son of the Living God and hated God and yet planned His death. Malicious people hate God.
  3. The show of the tearing of the robe at Christ’s answer is a great hypocrisy, as the people would think that Caiphas was horrified by Jesus’ answer. As the good Jesuit notes, “The wicked are indeed very ingenious.”
  4. Dissimulation is concealing a “fair exterior” to conceal a “wrong intention”. The Jesuit asks the readers of this meditation to examine their consciences.
  5. The author states, “The judges who pronounced this sentence upon the All-holy were men inflamed with hatred and blinded by passion. They hated Him because He had confessed the truth, and done righteously….In this world, the innocent are often calumniated and oppressed by the crafty, and it is permitted by God, for wise and merciful reasons.”
  6. Christ was condemned by Caiphas, an instrument of God, so that Christ could complete the sacrifice to God, the reparation for Original Sin. “That wicked sentence of death opened to us all the gates of eternal life.”
  7. Now comes the main point of God’s holy plan, and I remind readers that if any one denies Original Sin and the necessity of baptism, they are in the place of the High Priest—denying the one, true God’s sacrifice on Golgotha. The Jesuit notes that, “If we look on Jesus according to the expression of the Apostle, as the new Adam, and the innumerable sins of his whole posterity in His Own Person, then indeed, ‘He is guilty of death.’ Reus est mortis. It was in this sense that Eternal Father ratified the sentence pronounced against His Son, and He Himself accepted it in loving silence.”

Only those who understand the true teachings of the Magisterium of the Church can appreciate the depth of meaning in this passage. A good priest, who not only studies Scripture, but knows how to meditate on the passages and reflect on the meaning, like this amazing 19th Century Jesuit, can share such insights with others.

Christ is our substitute in death. We all, because of Original Sin and our own sins, deserve not only to die, but everlasting punishment in hell. As this author notes, “The sentence, ‘He is guilty of death,’ has been pronounced by divine justice against thee; but the Son of God made man became thy substitute, accepted it in thy stead, and gave back to thee eternal life.”

One could ponder this one meditation for the rest of Lent, in good Ignatian fashion.