Today's verses are Mark 14:59,60: "Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, 'Have you no answer?' What is it that these men testify against you?'" The high priest, the Jewish officials and the elders of the Sanhedrin are trying to find the charges they need in order to pronounce the death sentence upon Jesus. It's in the middle of the night. It's a mock trial, illegal by all Jewish standards for a Jewish citizens. But their prejudice against and hatred for Jesus knew no bounds. They were desperate to kill him.
They tried to drum up witnesses to bring charges against Jesus. One had said Jesus threatened to tear down Herod's temple, then rebuild it in three days. Yet even having witness after witness come forward against Jesus, their own testimonies did not agree or match. They'd been hatched from evil hearts that didn't seek truth but simply wanted him dead.
The fact that their own testimonies were contradictory to one another broke one of the Ten Commandments, "You shall not bear false witness against one another" (Exodus 20:16). Because of the inconsistencies of these testimonies, legally, they could not be used in a charge against someone, according to Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 17:6).
There is a word to describe such behavior: prejudice. It means "pre-judging" someone, arriving at a conclusion based not on the truth but on selfish desires. Prejudice is usually rooted in pride and hatred. Therefore, the outcome is so ferociously desired that the decision has already been made before all facts are known.
Prejudice is a plague that has hurt all people and societies for all times. We all commit prejudice. Sometimes it's racial prejudice. Sometimes it's class prejudice. Sometimes it's religious prejudice. Sometimes it's personal prejudice. We can all fall prey to it.
How do we fight prejudice? There is only one way: we passionately desire to know the truth above all else. We look at all people equally, creatures created in God's own image. We think the best of someone first before arriving at a conclusion. We refuse to believe something simply because a lot of other people believe it. We dig deeply toward truth, no matter what the cost.
Prejudice against Jesus cost him his life. Prejudice was one of the supreme emotions that motivated people to nail him to the cross.
As his followers, we are called to fight prejudice at every level.
Why? Because it kills at every level.