Tuesday after Judica
Scripture: St. Mark 15:1-19 (NKJV)
15:1 Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.
2 Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.”
3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. 4 Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!”
5 But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
6 Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.
9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.
12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!”
14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?”
But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!”
15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
16 Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. 17 And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, 18 and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.
In all, there were six trials of Jesus. Three were conducted by the Jews, and three by the Romans. In the short span of roughly eight hours, they were all complete. The Jews were determined to pull out all the stops in getting Jesus condemned to death. They first brought Him before Annas, the former high priest, then Caiaphas, the current high priest; and then finally before the whole Sanhedrin. And in spite of the Jews constant attention to the most minute details of the law, they committed legal atrocities against the One who was innocent from all eternity. How ironic that the Jewish authorities—the very ones who should’ve recognized and welcomed the Messiah—were the ones who did their best to ensure Jesus’ condemnation. At all three of their meetings, they consistently broke their own rules to conclude that Jesus deserved death. The dreaded Romans, on the other hand, represented by Pilate and Herod, came to the opposite conclusion: Jesus was innocent of the charges laid against Him. But instead of defending and protecting Him, Herod gave Him back to Pilate, who then turned Him over to the people.
It was an incredible turn of events, to be sure. But God used the hateful sins of commission by the Jews and the irresponsible sins of omission by the Romans to accomplish His will of salvation. Two sources of earthly power, one religious and one secular, had to be at their worst to have not only an innocent man condemned, but a perfect one as well.
Prayer: “O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what great crime hast Thou to make confession
—What dark transgression?” (TLH 143:1)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.