Sunday, February 21, 2016

The High Court 2000 Years Ago and the High Court Today

This Sunday's Gospel reading is Luke 13:31-35 in which Jesus gives his followers a foretaste of his fate in the city of the highest court of the day,

"At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” ’
Why Jerusalem? Matthew Henry  (1662-1714) was one of many who offered the following explanation,
"Now none undertook to try prophets, and to judge concerning them, but the great sanhedrin, which always sat at Jerusalem; it was a cause which the inferior courts did not take cognizance of, and therefore, if a prophet be put to death, it must be at Jerusalem." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the whole Bible)
As Lent progresses and as I prepare to remember the events surrounding Jesus' crucifixion, I am drawn to the thoughts and motives of those who accused, judged, and executed our Lord. Time and time again I find that if I were somehow to be transported back into that time that I would probably find myself in the position of accuser, judge, or executioner. Such is our nature that we reject God, not always intentionally, but out of blindness. If there were any other reason to believe that we needed a Savior who might restore our sight, this would be it: there is no doubt that we would be every bit as blind as the members of the Sanhedrin.

Today's U.S. Supreme Court has often been the subject of controversy particularly when it comes to the subject of life or death decisions (i.e. Roe v. Wade). I complain about individual justices when decisions do not go my way. Perhaps if people would remember the judgment of the Sanhedrin, then they would understand that the members of the U.S. Supreme Court are just as capable of making a terrible mistake.

Because of our fallibility, we must pray that the Lord helps guide the United States as our system works through the process of selecting a new member for out highest court.

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