It was early morning Friday, and the Jewish leaders had finished their feigned trial of Jesus. This was not an American court of “innocent until proven guilty.” This was a perverse group of corrupt justices who believed in “guilty even if proven innocent.” The court case had included so many false witnesses that it should have been completely undone and thrown out. The liars that showed up for the illegal late-night trial could not even collaborate their stories. According to Mark 14:59, “Neither so did their witness agree together.” This trial was wrong in every way. The guiltless was being charged. He was going to be punished, and eventually He would be murdered.
These “defenders of truth” were so blinded by hatred that they failed to see that they were violating the very law they sought to uphold. No one stood in defense of “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” or “Thou shalt not murder.” No, their own desires replaced the very desires of the God they said they represented. Their hatred of Jesus far outweighed their love for God’s truth.
And so they turned Him over to Pilate, the Roman governor. Their accusation to him was that Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews.” This was not Jesus’ claim. It had never been His purpose. It had been the constant misconception of His existence here on earth. It was the crowd’s. It was His disciples’. It was everyone except for Jesus who thought He had come to re-establish the Kingdom of David. He had tried to make it clear, but their deaf ears and hardened hearts had not received the truth that He had come to be the Savior of the World, not the King of the Jews.
Pilate, the Roman, was helpless. He was a coward. Mark 15:10 tells us that Pilate was fully aware of the Jewish leaders’ jealousy of Jesus. But he was a man-pleaser who was willing to violate his conscience and execute an innocent man. So in order to satisfy the crowd, or as verse 15 says it, “willing to content the people,” Pilate issued the order for execution.
Greed, cowardice, murder – these are the products of sinful hearts. This was the very sin for which Jesus had come to die. While those around Jesus sought to undo Him, He was not deterred from His ultimate purpose. For this reason, when He was lied about and shamefully mistreated, He did not retaliate. He pressed on, with His eyes fixed on the salvation of all those who would put their faith in Him. He loved His own more than He loved His own life.
Food For Thought: Read Matthew 27:3-10. After realizing the innocence of Jesus, what was the difference in the reactions of Pilate and Judas?