I’ve found the injustice faced by sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses to be deeply moving. In what has been called the most widespread miscarriage of justice ever seen in the UK they had been falsely accused of theft, fraud and false accounting. Some went to prison, for others it ruined their marriages, and for all it ruined their reputations. They were innocent, just decent people doing their jobs, falling foul of faulty software and no one believing them. You’d have thought with so many involved that someone would have realised something strange was going on, but no, they were considered guilty and vilified.
Has there been a worse miscarriage of justice? Yes there has, but it didn’t take place in the UK, it took place in Israel. An innocent man was arrested, charged with false crimes and executed. It was known that he was a good man who had no desire but to do his Father’s business. He had a real care for people and went out of his way to help with any problems they had. He acted contrary to social conventions by treating women and children with dignity. People were drawn to him and many followed him. They loved to listen to him talk and watch him as he helped people.
Unfortunately he upset the religious leaders who wielded great power in Israel. He was honest and told them just what he thought of their hypocrisy. He saw that their religion was just an outward show. Inside they were as wretched as anyone, but they thought they were as perfect as any man could be. They created all sorts of unnecessary rules that made people’s lives miserable, and this man challenged them and showed a better way. These shrewd religious leaders could see that he was jeopardising their authority, and they were losing respect, so they agreed together that he had to go. They found an ally in one of the man’s followers who agreed to betray him, and on a night just before the annual festival of the Passover, in a garden where he knew the man would be, he led soldiers and religious officials to him and he was arrested.
They didn’t take long in subjecting him to sham trials and torture. It started with a trial before the most powerful religious leader in Israel, a man called Annas, a former High Priest still allowed to use the title. False witnesses were brought against him, but their evidence was obviously fake and it proved impossible to find him guilty of any crime. That wasn’t going to stop them however. They finally decided he was guilty of blasphemy, a crime worthy of death. When he spoke straight words to Annas a soldier slapped him across the face, the beginning of his torture. He was then taken to other trials before the Roman Governor and the Jewish king. They had been enemies but on this night they became friends, united in their belief that this man had done nothing wrong, and just as united in wanting to rid themselves of him. Although innocent they had no difficulty in allowing their soldiers to torture and brutalise him, and they took him to the point of death, but not quite. They wanted him to be executed as a criminal so they left him with just about enough strength to carry a cross to his place of execution, where he was crucified. An innocent man was subjected to a terrible miscarriage of justice and was murdered by the authorities. The Roman, Jewish and religious leaders were all guilty of this heinous miscarriage but it was the man who died.
Of course, the man was Jesus. He lived a perfect life before men but still they killed him. They had no just cause to do it, so they relied on false evidence and made up crimes to rid themselves of him. When, some time later, Peter preached the gospel to these people he didn’t mince his words. He told them straight, “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (1) However, he also said something else. He said, “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge.” (2) Here we have the amazing truth of God’s plan of salvation. Men cannot excuse themselves of what they did to Jesus. They were guilty, but it’s just as true that God had a predetermined plan that involved Jesus dying on the cross. He had come to die for our sins and that took place when he was crucified. He died for our sins, and he died for the sins of those who crucified him. They hated him, but he loved them. He loves you too and he wants you to be saved from the punishment that will come your way if your sins are not dealt with. Just acknowledge that he has taken your punishment and ask him to be your Saviour.
- Acts 2:23
- Acts 2:23