Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
Matthew 26: 57 – 61
As soon as Jesus stepped into that courtyard it became immediately obvious that this was going to be a kangaroo court. The charges were flimsy, the witnesses unreliable, all they could pin on him was a comical misinterpretation of his comments on the temple. It is clear here that Jesus wasn’t arrested for any particular offence, he was arrested for being a threat to the state, and legal niceties weren’t going to get in the way of their ultimate goal: ridding themselves of this troublesome preacher.
The right to a fair trial is one of our most key human rights. In the UK we enjoy a long-standing legal tradition which, while not without flaws, does give most people a fair hearing. Many countries in the world don’t enjoy those rights. Dissidents are locked up with no due process. In many places simply being a practicing Christian is enough to face persecution. As we read and remember the story of Jesus facing a miscarriage of justice, we should remember in our prayers the people in our world who lack access to justice and be ready to use our voice and resources when the time comes.
Prayer: God of Justice, thank you that you are always fair with us. We know your heart breaks for a world filled with injustice. Help us to be tankful for what rights we have and bold in pushing for an end to all injustice in our world.
Action: Read about access to justice in our world, and if you feel called, pray about the movement for a fairer world https://www.amnesty.org.uk/