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Trial Before Pilate

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Winter was coming on and a hunter went out into the forest to shoot a bear out of which he planned to make a warm coat. By and by he saw a bear coming toward him and raised his gun and took aim. “Wait,” said the bear, “why do you want to shoot me?” “Becau … More

Compromise
As Jesus enters Pilate’s judgment hall the Jewish leaders accused Him of the following crimes:
  1. Guilty of misleading the nation
  2. Forbidding the paying of taxes
  3. Claiming to be a king

Pilate focused on the third charge when he asked, “Are you the King of the Jews” (v. 11)? Jesus gave him a clear reply: “It is as you say;” but then qualified His answer by explaining that His kingdom was not of this world. However when the other leaders made accusations He was silent (vv. 12-14). Pilate realized that Jesus was no threat to Roman rule and therefore sought to release Him.

While Pilate was trying to decide what to do with Him, a delegation approached him with a request that he honor the custom of releasing a prisoner at the Passover time (Mark 15:8). Seeing this as an opportunity to compromise he chose Barabbas who was a robber (John 18:40) and a murderer (Mark 15:7) (v. 15). He then let the people choose between Jesus and Barabbas (vv. 16-17). He felt that for sure they would choose to release Jesus but the religious leaders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. Realizing he was getting nowhere with the crowd, Pilate took water and washed his hands in front of them, trying to show that he was not responsible for this Man’s blood (vv. 18-24). When he turned the responsibility over to the Jews (Matthew 27:24) they readily accepted it and said, “Let His blood be on us and on our children” (vv. 25-26).

 

Application

To my shame, I can think of times I have been caught up in the enthusiasm of a crowd and done what I would have preferred not to do? I pray that the Lord will help me to not do this again?

Matthew 27:11-26 (English Standard Version)

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You have said so." But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?" But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream." Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!" And he said, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Let him be crucified!" So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!" Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

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