Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Jesus' Final Trials

"Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man” (Luke 23:4).

Jesus had been tried and found guilty of a capital offense (blasphemy) by the Sanhedrin. Because the Jews did not have the right to put anyone to death, they took Him to Pontius Pilate to issue Jesus’ death warrant. They accused Jesus of claiming to be king of the Jews. Pilate asked if this were true, and Jesus answered yes. Pilate was not interested in internal Jewish affairs and told the crowd that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death.

The Jews responded by falsely stating that this Galilean had been seditious. Pilate pounced on the fact that Jesus came from Galilee, because that gave him a way out of this thorny situation. As a Galilean, Jesus was under the jurisdiction of Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for the feast. Pilate sent Him to Herod.

When Jesus refused his request to perform a miracle, Herod and his soldiers mocked Jesus, and put a royal robe on Him. They then sent Him back to Pilate who apparently thought this was a great joke. On that day, Pilate and Herod became friends.

Pilate told the Jews that neither he nor Herod had found anything dangerous about Jesus. He declared that Jesus would be beaten and released. The Romans had a policy of beating those who were found innocent simply as a warning for others.

The Jews, however, insisted that Jesus be crucified and Barabbas released. The Romans had a custom of releasing a criminal at the time of Passover. Pilate wanted to free the innocent Jesus, but the Jews wanted the murderous and incendiary Barabbas. Pilate was very reluctant, but the shouts of the crowd overwhelmed him and he did as they asked. Jesus was sentenced to die.

Luke makes it clear that it was the Jews, especially the religious leaders, who were responsible for the death of Jesus. This has nothing to do with the Jewish race and nation today. It means that the religious establishment was primarily responsible for Jesus’ death. Keep yourself current regarding the continuing misunderstandings and battles within the church concerning the nature of Christ.