Reading the Word
John 18:28–32 (ESV)
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
Understanding and Applying the Word
The Jewish religious leaders did not have the authority to put Jesus to death, so they took him to the Roman authorities to get them to do it. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, was informed that Jesus was doing evil and deserved death. Pilate preferred to let the Jewish leaders work this out on their own, so he told them to judge Jesus based on their own law. However, that was not good enough because the religious leaders wanted nothing short of Jesus’ death.
It is amazing to see how strongly these religious leaders wanted Jesus dead. They could have punished him in their own authority in many ways, but that was not good enough for them. Jesus had to die, even if they had to go to the Romans and falsely accuse him. Jesus simply could not be tolerated any longer. We see this same hostile reaction to the teachings of Jesus today as people go to great lengths to keep all references to Jesus and his teaching out of the public square. It is a curious thing how strongly people react against Jesus. It reminds us just how sinful mankind is and how much we desire to go on sinning. Praise God for his abundant grace and forgiveness for sinners like us.
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