Message: Matthew chapter 27 is the story of the trial and the crucifixion. Reading this I couldn’t ignore the fact that as cruel as the Roman government was, they were organized, they had a proper system for trying criminals and they knew that Jesus was innocent and that the Jews were doing this out of envy. Pilate tried to persuade them, and his wife was tormented in a dream and warned her husband not to get tangled in this. The Jews were set on this so Jesus was really condemned by his own people exclusively. They were just using the Roman government system to do the dirty work for them. I also found it interesting that once Judas had abandoned the 30 pieces of silver in the temple and hung himself, the priests suddenly had a conscience that they couldn’t leave that money in the temple. They called it blood money and used it to purchase a field as a burial ground for foreigners and they named the field “Field of Blood”. One last huge observation that I have never paid close attention to is the fact that Jesus’s death was so powerful before he even resurrected that when the ground shook and the sky went dark, there were also tombs opened for many saints that had died and they all were raised from the dead, entered the holy city and appeared to many. This could not have been ignored and these events were so powerful that the centurion and his men that were guarding the body of Jesus were terrified and believed. They said “surely this man really was God’s son”. This was even before Jesus himself resurrected. There were so many details that had been prophesied, things that Jesus fulfilled and things that were known among the Romans in the city so when Jesus resurrected it was not just a small group of people who witnessed these things. It was predicted, surrounded by other miraculous things and boldly in the faces of all those who tried to cover it. In fact, they were so scared that it was all true that they sent the guards to guard the body. Unfortunately, the priests who knew their power was at risk had to choose denial in order to hold onto their positions. This is the nature of humans. We often choose denial when the truth is right in front of us because the storyline of our denial fits our agenda. We fearfully hang onto our agenda and choose to lie to ourselves and others. We avoid looking at the truth because we know that if we even consider it for a moment, our neatly built house of lies will crumble our world. We see this so often in politics and we marvel at the deceptions of others while failing to look at our own. This goes beyond politics though. It’s what we do in order to sustain our selfishness and our will -whatever that may be. Nobody lies to us as blatantly as we lie to ourselves. Today, I’m asking God to show me the areas where I am deceived and living a lie that I am trying to sustain. This is a hard thing to face and our defense mechanisms kick in full throttle with justifications. Lord help me to tear down the walls of deception in my life and look at the naked truth!