Jun 042011

The trials begin
Mark 14:53-15:20

The trials begin in this passage of scripture.  Jesus is arrested, and brought before different groups who want Him out of the way for different reasons.  Remember, Jesus could have gotten out of his predicament many times, but He chose not to.  He was fulfilling God’s plan for our salvation.

A lot happened from around midnight to 9AM on Good Friday.  Not all of this is covered in Mark.  Once Jesus was taken away from Gethsemane, He was brought to Annas, the father-in-law of Ciaiphas, the high priest who wanted Jesus dead (John 18:12-14).  From there, He was brought to Ciaiphas and the Sanhedrin for the Jewish/religious trial.  They tried to bear false witness against Him, but their testimonies didn’t line up.  By their own laws, they couldn’t get Him that way.  Finally, they asked Jesus if He was the Son of God.  Jesus answered “yes.”  Since the Sanhedrin viewed Jesus as a man, and not God, they tore their clothes (something Jews did when they were troubled) and charged Him with blasphemy.  They sentenced Him to death.  They spit on Him, blindfolded Him, and asked Jesus to prophesy who was going to hit Him next.  Now, I’m a little hazy on why they didn’t stone Him on the spot, but for some reason, they felt they needed Roman permission to kill Jesus, so they shipped Jesus off to Pilot.

Meanwhile, outside on the porch, Peter denies that he knows Jesus three times, then a cock crows, most likely signaling dawn in addition to telling Peter that he had just blown it big time.

So, sometime around dawn, Jesus meets with Pilot, the Roman prefect or governor of Judea who is in charge of this region.  Pilot was already on the hot seat with Rome because he couldn’t control the Zealots.  He was charged with keeping the peace this Passover — or else! (which is why he was in Jerusalem at the time).  Pilot could find no wrong with Jesus (Matt. 27:2, 11-14) so he sent Jesus to the Jewish governor Herod.  Herod wanted to see miracles, but Jesus would perform none, so Herod sent Jesus back to Pilot to have Him put to death (Luke 23:6-12).  Pilot was not happy seeing Jesus again.  There were two groups he had to please — those seeking Jesus’ death, and those who thought Jesus was the Son of God.  Either way, Pilot’s decision about Jesus’ fate would make someone upset.  He tried to appease the crowds by having Jesus flogged, then by trying to release a prisoner in honor of Passover, but neither plan worked.  The crowd released the wrong guy (Matt. 27:15-26).  Why?  The crowd in attendance that morning WAS NOT the crowd that cheered Jesus on His way into Jerusalem a few days ago.  Since the crowd was in the governor’s palace early in the morning, and since most of these events transpired overnight, the only crowd who would have known to show up would have been mostly Jewish leaders and officials.  These were the people who wanted Jesus dead!  Pilot gave this crowd the verdict they wanted to hear and Jesus was sent off to be crucified.

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