By Rev. Ronald Stelzer
Caiaphas The High Priest Demands Impeachment
Hello and Welcome. This initiates the impeachment trial of Jesus of Nazareth. We are going to give strong, irrefutable evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is guilty of Bribery, Treason, and Other High Crimes and Misdemeanors that deserve highest censure and the stripping of all reputation and position of honor. We are going to accuse him on numerous counts, all based on the Ten Commandments. We are going to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth has flagrantly and egregiously defied and deliberately violated the Commandments of Almighty God.
The first article of impeachment accuses him of blasphemy. Blasphemy is usurping the honor and glory that belongs to God alone. Jesus has claimed for himself the rights and privileges that belong only to the Holy One. He has made himself equal to God.
Jesus Calls God His Father
He calls himself God’s Son. God’s “only begotten Son.” He himself has even said, “I and the Father are One.” He has said, “All men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who honors not the Son, honors not the Father who sent Him.” He has plainly said, “I come from God.” One of our members of the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the Jews, heard him say: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” He claims to have existed with God the Father from all eternity. He said: “Before Abraham was born, I AM” -- “I AM” he says. That’s God’s Name. This fellow really thinks He’s God!
Jesus Claims That He is the Only Way
He’s either extremely crazy or extremely arrogant – probably both! He’s so full of himself. Hear his claims: “I am the Light of the World. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Resurrection and the Life. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes unto the Father but by Me.” He dismisses all other religions as Dead Ends. He says , “It’s My way or the highway.” In fact he says, “My way is the Highway, the ONLY Way.” He claims our Jewish religion without him is not enough. That Moses is not enough. He thinks he’s God’s gift to the world.
Some of our elderly fathers can testify that this fellow has been delusional since childhood. He hid from his parents in the Temple, and his excuse was that he must be in his Father’s House doing his Father’s business.
Everyone Knows Only God Forgives Sin
Unfortunately, some have encouraged this delusion. John the Baptizer, who was frankly a little crazy and eccentric himself, once said of him: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus ran with that one. Once when he was brought a paralytic – at least that’s what some say he was – Jesus told him, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Everybody knows only God has the authority to forgive sins.
His vanity knows no bounds. He thinks the Sacred Scriptures are all about him. He told some of us: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are they which testify about Me.”
Jesus, if I sang you a Psalm, “You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you, don’t you!” Ha!
Are You The Christ, the Messiah?
If there was any doubt about his blasphemy, it was removed at his trial, when I myself, Caiaphas the high priest, asked him directly who he was: “Are you the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God? He responded under oath: “I am. And in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty God, and coming in the clouds of Heaven.” Thus referring to himself as the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s Messianic prophecy. Then I, the high priest, tore my clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! What need have we of further witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death!” they answered. It was unanimous.
And through the centuries many will concur with me when I say, “He is impeached forever.”
The prosecution rests its case for the first article of impeachment. Is there anyone who dares to speak in his defense?
SIMON PETER TAKES THE STAND
My name is Simon Peter. I was with Jesus from the beginning of his 3-year ministry. He stayed at my house. He healed my mother-in- law. I knew him as humble, gentle, unselfish, kind. In fact, I find no fault in him. No sin. After three full years of being with him night and day. Nada. Nothing. Not one. Not once.
You say he claims to be God. You call it blasphemy. It’s not blasphemy if it’s true. If He really is equal to God. He once asked us, “Who do men say that I am?”
I was the first to speak up – like I usually am, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
He answered, “Blessed are you Simon Peter. That truth was revealed to you by My Father in heaven.”
Once another disciple, Thomas, fell at the feet of the resurrected Jesus and called Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus didn’t correct him. So you are right, Caiaphas. He did claim to be God. So the question is, “Was he or wasn’t he? Was he who he claimed to be?”
The Evidence is Overwhelming
Look at the evidence: He demonstrated his miraculous power over the forces of nature, illness, the demonic, even death. He has fulfilled three hundred prophecies in our Holy Scriptures. His entire genealogy is recorded there. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem -- as it was predicted of “Emanuel, God With Us.” His death and resurrection is recorded in detail in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, written hundreds of years before people even had heard of crucifixion. He appeared to us alive and gloriously well after his death and burial, just as He said He would. We saw Him. We heard Him. We touched Him. We ate with Him. He took us through the whole Scriptures saying and showing: “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”
The Man is Innocent
After He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me,” we saw Him ascend into heaven. Then, ten days later, just as He promised, we experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Say what you want about me, and do whatever you want with me, but I confess with my lips that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. This man is innocent. This man is the Son of God. To call him anything less is Blasphemy! Amen.
The Impeachment Continues
Read Article 2: Sabbath-breaking
About The Author
Pastor: Rev. Ronald Stelzer is a 3rd generation minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and 2nd generation teacher and coach in Lutheran schools. He was raised in a six-child family in Kansas and Indiana, graduated from St. Paul's Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Davidson College in North Carolina and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Fort Wayne. He and wife Margaret of 35 years have six grown children and six grandchildren. He has served two years in sports ministry with Athletes in Action, a year in youth missions with Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, four years as chaplain/teacher/coach at his high school alma mater, and 35 years as pastor of Our Savior, where he helped found and lead Our savior New American School 28 years ago.
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