Matthew 26:57-75
“A Paradox of God and Religion”

“The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God:  Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

With knowledge comes responsibility.  If I know that someone has committed a crime, I am responsible for that knowledge.  And even though I might ignore my responsibility to report the crime, it doesn’t excuse my responsibility.  

You see, inherent in the knowing is being accountable for what you know.  And that certainly is true in God and religion.

Our passage this morning identifies a person and a group of people with high accountability:  Caiaphas the high priest, and the Sanhedrin the religious ruling class of the day.  In Jesus’ time, these were the most religious people.  And yet, they didnot know God.  It certainly was a paradox, an enigma of the greatest order!

“Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God,” Caiaphas asked.  And Jesus directly answered him, “Yes, it is as you say” [Mt. 26:64].  I mean, talk about accountability!  Jesus himself said it directly to him [and the Sanhedrin] that He was Messiah, the Son of God.  But what did they do with that knowledge?  

Matthew records that Caiaphas tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy!”  They then began to beat Jesus and spit on His face and sentenced Him to death.  You can’t help but shake in your boots when you think about the judgment that awaited those “religious” men.

You see, God and religion sometimes really don’t mix.  Religion should be a beautiful expression our love for God, but here was exactly the opposite.  But how can that be? It truly was a paradox.

King David, the great songwriter of Israel wrote, “When You said, ‘Seek My face’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” [Psalm 27:8].  Those are the words of a man after God’s heart, a man who deeply loved his Lord.  He was the personification of real religion, a One-on-one relationship with his Lord.  

And that is the mark of true religion.  May the Lord help us to hit that mark.