MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: Of The False Witness In The House Of Caiphas

DÜRER, Albrecht 
Green Passion: Christ before Caiaphas 

But the chief Priests, and all the council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death, and they did not find it, where as many false witnesses were come in. For many spake false witness, and their testimonies were not convenient. But at last came two false witnesses, and rising up they gave false witnesses against him; for we heard him speaking: I will destroy this Temple of god, made with hands, and after three days I will build another, not made with hands, and their testimony was not convenient. 

Consider first when the high Priest could draw nothing worthy of death from the words of Christ, then he asked the standers by, who had been often at his Sermons, and every one spake that, which they though might help to condemn him, and were very earnest and desirous to find out some capital crime, according to that saying: They searched for iniquities, searching they fainted in their search, they invented councils which they could not establish.

Consider secondly the purity of the life of thy Lord, which was so great, that it was hard to frame such a lie of him, as might carry any color of truth, even by the testimony of his adversaries themselves. Learn thou first to accuse no man unjustly; For a Detractor and false witness are bound to restitution of good name. Secondly to avoid all lies: For a liar cannot please even the wicked. Thirdly according to the example of Christ to live in such order that the very enemies of Faith, may find nothing in thy life to object against thee, but considering thee by thy good works may glorify God our Father. Fourthly never to seek out reasons against thy conscience to excuse thy sin: For those testimonies are false, and not convenient, whereby God is not deceived, nor thy Conscience pacified. 

Consider thirdly these two false witnesses standing up amongst the rest, whose testimonies are especially related, either because they were of greater moment, that by them thou tightest know the vanities of the others, or else because they contain the mysteries of the death of our Lord, which was then in handling. But they were not convenient: First because the witness could not agree together, the one saying (I will destroy) and the other (I can destroy) Secondly because our Lord had spoke no word of destroying and building again; but he said (dissolve) and I will raise) speaking of his death, and resurrection.  Thirdly because he had hurt no man. if he had restored in three days, that, which he had destroyed. Fourthly because it seemed not to be beyond his power, who had raised Lazarus from death after he had been dead four days. Fifthly because such kind of bragging words seemed rather worthy of laughter and contempt then of death. Learn thou first not to wrest the words of Christ to a contrary sense: Secondly not to relate any thing otherwise then it was done: Thirdly never to judge evil of the mind or intention of others, when their words or deeds may be well interpreted. Do thou also suffer together with thy Lord Christ, for whose death and destruction so many men took so great pains; and pray unto him, that thou mayest be instructed in the true understanding of the Scriptures, and that he will never suffer thee to fall into heresy.

Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616


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