Jesus on trial – twice. First Jesus was tried by the Jews, who had no authority to put a person to death, so Jesus was transferred to Pilate, Herod, then Pilate again.
During all the hoopla over Jesus’ trials, Judas became remorseful. He was sorry that he had betrayed his friend, but he didn’t repent of the sin. Instead, he tried to give the 30 pieces of silver back to the priests, but they refused to take it. Judas threw the money down and hanged himself. His suicide fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy…
Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”— the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. Zech 11:13 (ESV)
– and underscores our need to repent, not just feel remorseful.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Cor 7:10 (ESV)
Why did the text say Jeremiah when it’s Zechariah that’s quoted? It’s not an “error” of Scripture. Hebrew canon was divided into three sections – the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets. Jeremiah was first of the prophetic books, so the Prophets were frequently referred to by that name.
Like the Jewish trial, the Roman trial had three stages.
1. Taken to Annas’ home and informally interrogated (John 18:12-14, 19-23). The High Priest questioned Jesus about His doctrine, and Jesus reminded them that He had always spoken openly.
2. Before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65). Jesus admitted to being the Christ, and the council found Him guilty of blasphemy, which according to the law, He was guilty of death. The verdict couldn’t be announced until morning since it was illegal to try capital cases at night.
3. Very soon after sunup, Jesus was condemned to death (Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71)
1. First appearance before Pilate (John 18:28-38)
a. The Accusation – Jesus led the nation astray; opposed paying taxes to Caesar; and claiming to be the Messiah and King (Luke 23:2)
i. Jesus never subverted the nation, either politically or religiously. He had exposed the priest’s hypocrisy. People saw Him as a potential king (John 6:15), but whenever people tried to make Him a king, he fled!
ii. Jesus taught that the people were to render tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:21).
iii. He claimed to be King, but not politically. He claimed to be Messiah.
The Jews could have put Jesus to death by stoning, but that wasn’t part of God’s plan. Jesus had to be convicted by Rome so He could be crucified to fulfill the prophecies in Psalm 22. To fulfill God’s plan, to bear the curse of the law and become accursed for us, Jesus had to hang on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 3:13).
2. Appearance before Herod (Luke 23:6-12)
3. Second appearance before Pilate (John 18:39-19:16). At least three times Pilate announced that Jesus was not guilty of a crime (Luke 23:14; John 19:4; Luke 23:22: John 19:6), but the plan of God had to be fulfilled, and the people were thirsty for Jesus’ blood. Pilate offered the people a choice of prisoners – Jesus or Barabbas. The people overwhelmingly chose Barabbas.
Barabbas means son of the father. He, the son of an earthly father, was released so the Lamb of God, the Son of the Heavenly Father, could atone for our sins. I wonder what Barabbas thought as he was released?
Pilate had the chance to do the right thing. He told the people that he found no fault in Jesus. Yet, instead of doing the courageous thing, Pilate chose the safe way. How do you live your life? Do you Wash your hands of Jesus when He is inconvenient, choosing the “way that seems right to man”, or do you follow Jesus’ example in persecution?
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:18-24 (ESV)
Tomorrow we suffer with Christ as He hangs by nails in his wrists and feet for six long hours for you and me. Until then, meditate on what the Savior did for you – a miracle of love and grace.