The Trial - Hypocrisy of Justice. - John 18:28-37 & Matthew 26:59 
March 24, 2022, 9:00 AM

 28  Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.   29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?"   30  "If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you."  31 Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." "But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected.  32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.   33  Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"   34 "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me? 35   "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"   36  Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."  37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."      

Matthew 26:59 reads, “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.”                  

We have a law. You are innocent until proven guilty. Nothing about Jesus’ trial resembles justice. John is letting us know that this is not going to be a fair trial. The religious men who sit as judge and jury have already decided it would be better if Jesus was dead! It seems, if you’re trying to be faithful to God, don’t expect the world to treat you fairly.      

Injustice is done when there is backroom bargaining and wheeling and dealing with Judas, the Roman officials, and other temple guards. As far as justice among the religious leaders, we should comment, they broke their own rules. The Sanhedrin typically met for legal functions in the hall off the temple complex. They are to meet only during certain daytime hours, and never during religious festivals and holidays. If there was a religious trial, they were required to examine their witnesses separately and those stories had to agree.                   

Almost all of their own laws were broken, when you read the trial accounts of the Caiaphas trials in the Gospels. They met in the wrong place, at night not day, and during the feast of the Passover which was being celebrated. There was no agreement by the witnesses, and they were not examined separately. They came up with a verdict and sentences in less than four hours, not the required 24 hours. They did not have a roll call vote, but only summoned a few of the Sanhedrin to make it appear legal. They not only questioned Jesus, but struck Him as well. Caiaphas, with holy indignation, rips his robes and calls Jesus a blasphemer deserving of death.                   

The details of the trials of Pontius Pilate and Herod, also show there was hypocrisy. As cruel as a ruler Pilate was, he knew what was happening wasn’t right. Pilate asks the charge. “What crime has he done?” Pilate knew that religious laws and state laws were different. The decision of Pilate’s was reasonable. If Jesus was guilty of Jewish religious laws do whatever you want, but Jesus hadn’t broken any law of Rome, so He shall live. Pilate was not the least bit concerned about the charge of blasphemy or claiming to be God’s son.                  

The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead, but did not have the power in an official way under the Roman law to put people to death on a cross. Yet it seems there are many incidents of stoning by Jewish law that show no repercussions by Rome. Why was this different? My take on this is the sovereign workings of God wanted to show the Jews and Gentiles together to be part of the sham of the trial as Jesus was to die for the sins of the whole world. I think the part that all played was representative and prophetic of the way the world condemned Jesus.                   

We need to evaluate how we justify our own thoughts, actions, and decisions. How often do we judge others by opinions and influence of others? In our country justice seems to be more influenced by politics than the law.     

More importantly, are we being honest with the Lord and His truth in our lives?   

Application:   Today be aware of your thoughts, actions and decisions.   Are you judging?  Ask God to search your heart. Memorize Ps 139:23-24   

Prayer:   Lord God, You reigned in your Sovereignty even during these trials of Jesus.   Through your Holy Spirit enable me to trust you in all that is happening in my life and everything around me, knowing that you are Sovereign and will work all things according to your good and gracious will.  I trust you Lord, for your mercies never fail me.   

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