We are continuing on with Jesus in His progression of trials. Two days ago we looked at all the illegal happenings in His trial. As we leave Caiaphas’ home we will touch on a couple more illegal points.
Before we jump into Mark’s account I want to point you back to Matthew’s. We looked at this scene in the blog titled “Jesus Trial Before Pilate.” In that account we put ourselves in the story again. Feel free to go back and check it out.
We have just heard the rooster crow signaling morning. Mark tells us that the Sanhedrin was quickly assembled to rubber stamp Jesus’ trial during the night. This brings up the first illegal act of the morning. Not of the day mind you, because the Jewish day started at 6:00 PM our time. The Sanhedrin was not allowed to convene court before the morning sacrifice. According to historical evidence, this happened during the third hour; at 9:00 AM our time. The rooster crowed LONG before this time and Jesus was already on His way to Calvary by then. The Sanhedrin committed its second illegal act at the same time by convening on the day before a holy day on a capital case. The third illegal act was passing judgment and sentence in the same day, not to mention in the same hour. Jesus’ “crime” was “Blaspheme” and His sentence was death.
The Jews didn’t want to kill Jesus themselves, so they would enlist the help of the Romans. I know this was God’s plan from the beginning but why didn’t they want to be the ones to kill Jesus? Was it because they were doing a CYA maneuver, just in case Jesus really was the Son of God? I mean, surely they didn’t want to take the risk of killing God’s own Son. Better have someone else do the dirty work so they could keep their hands clean.
So off we go to Pilate’s home. Once they arrive with Jesus in tow they present Him to Pilate and ask him to condemn Jesus. They were hoping for a simple “rubber stamp” verdict from Pilate too. That was not what they got though. Pilate wanted to know why they brought Jesus to him. What were the charges? Enter yet another illegal maneuver. Instead of reading Pilate the charges they had agreed upon for Jesus they used a totally different set of accusations. No kidding. They couldn’t use the charges they found Jesus guilty of with Pilate. He would have refused to participate at all. It was a religious matter, and as such, Rome took no position on it and would not execute for such crimes. Pilate in fact told them to take Jesus back and carry out their own death sentence.
The High Priest coerced Pilate into getting involved by leveling charges against Jesus concerning the Roman government and sedition. We all know that Jesus had committed no such crime, but He was unwilling to defend Himself against these charges. Even though Jesus remained silent the majority of the time, Pilate recognized Jesus’ innocence.
What was it exactly that convinced Pilate that Jesus was innocent? Was it his wife’s dream? Was it the look on Jesus’ face? Was it Jesus’ one answer to him? Was it because he knew of Jesus’ message and stories? Was it because he knew the High Priest and recognized the lies in his voice? Or was it their complete inability to produce any reliable witnesses against Jesus? Whatever the reason, Pilate saw their plan for what it was. They were trying to get rid of “one of their problems” by passing it on to him. Funny that Pilate tried this avenue himself when he sent Jesus to Herod for him to judge.
Lord Jesus, You put Yourself willingly in the hands of these men. You could have legally objected to everything that had been done. You also could have called on all of Heaven to stop this whole process, but You didn’t. Instead You let the Jews think they were keeping their hands clean. You let Pilate off the hook a bit. And You fulfilled Your Father’s plan to the letter. Did anyone ever call Caiaphas on the carpet for his leading role in Your murder? I’m CERTAIN God did. Did Caiaphas ever repent? How many in the Sanhedrin did You touch through Your quiet actions that day? You were purchasing salvation for each and every one of them too. If they only saw what You were really doing.
I know I’ve said it before, but I mean every word of it. I’m SO sorry for my part in You being on the cross. I wonder where I would have been that day. Would I have recognized You as my Savior or would I be crying out for Your blood with the crowd? I pray I would have been one of those following You. But even they were absent that day. You faced this with no one but God standing beside You. I’m SO GLAD He was with You! Thank You God for not making Jesus do this work totally alone. Thank You for sending Jesus’ earthly family near the end so they could be with Him when You had to turn away. I pray I would have been standing with them too. Thank You for letting me stand with You now, in whatever fashion I can.