"Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence." (v.12b)
It really does hurt when you've been falsely accused. It's painful to think that someone is convinced that you did something that you didn't do. It's frustrating to be accused of a wrong you had nothing to do with. It's maddening when you seem to be able to do nothing to explain or defend yourself. All of us have experienced it. We play the accusation over and over in the DVD player in our brain. We rewind the accusatory conversation. We wonder what people think about us, haunted by the soiled reputation that we're convinced that we'll now carry around. We look for ways to justify ourselves. We search for things we can say and do to restore our reputation. It's painful to be innocent, yet unable to life with the charges that have been made against you.
Your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was in that place, but he put himself there on purpose. Confused? Let me explain. Jesus came to earth knowing exactly what he was going to be facing. He came as an act of submission to the Father's great redemptive plan (See John 6:38.) He came with a willing spirit; willing to face the very things that we all work to avoid and find so painful when they are unavoidable. Passages like Isaiah 53 and these verses in Psalm 27 give us a window into how deep the love of Christ.
It's almost impossible to conceive that the King of Kings, the Great Creator, the Sovereign Son of God would submit to this:
He would submit to being betrayed by a close friend.
He would submit to being led away toward a wrongful trial.
He would submit to being forsaken by his closest followers.
He would submit to false accusations.
He would submit to gross injustice.
He would stand silent as he's being mocked.
He would submit to slaps on the face.
He would not defend himself against physical torture.
He would submit to a mob that would call for his death.
He would submit to the pain of a crown of thorns.
He would be willing to drag his cross to the place of his execution.
He would submit to being identified with criminals.
He would submit to nails being driven into his limbs.
He would be willing to have his Father turn his back on him.
Yes, he knew the cruelties and injustices that he would face. And he was willing. In that final moment before he faced the unthinkable, Jesus prayed something very similar to Psalm 27:12, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me." Or in other words, "Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes." But then he added these words of amazing submission, words that made our salvation possible, "...but not my will, but yours be done."
Jesus knew the plan. From the first moment of his life on earth, he knew that he was marching toward that moment when he would be turned over to the desire of his foes. He knew false witnesses would seal his death. He knew, but they did not. They didn't know that they weren't in charge. They didn't know that they were part of a greater plan. They had no idea that long before they were born; God had chosen to turn their moment of deceit and injustice into a moment of triumph and salvation.
He knew false witnesses were in his future; he was the Savior and he was willing.