Jesus Christ, throughout His ministry, when assaulted by His naysayers, brilliantly answered their questions that were meant to entrap and convict; He managed to walk the familiar streets of Israel and evade capture when it all but seemed assured. Jesus did this without breaking any of the laws of God or man! But right at this time of the year that we are in now, the hedge that had been constructed around Him by the Father would now be removed.
Inspection of the Passover Lamb
On the Hebrew calendar today is the 10th of Abib (Nisan).
Exodus 12:2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Exodus 12:3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
There was an inspection to take place
Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
Exodus 12:6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
This is in effect what the Jewish and Roman governing bodies did at this time year, right up to Jesus’ death and sacrifice on the 14th day of the same month.
The Plot to Kill Jesus
They will try everything possible to legally kill Jesus. But as we go through this thorough investigation of the very end of the life of Jesus, He never sinned, never admitted doing anything wrong and eventually He was illegally murdered.
As we go through this final inspection of Jesus, notice how they tried their hardest to find fault, to find sin and how they bent and broke the rules to do so – and still they could find no wrong.
The Scribes, Pharisees and Jews in general had long tried to find the slightest transgression in Jesus and His teachings and when they could not:
John 11:47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs.
John 11:45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.
John 11:46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did.
John 11:48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”
John 11:49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,
John 11:50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”
John 11:51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
John 11:52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.
John 11:53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death.
They are not going to be able to do it in a straightforward manner, so they plot and plan from the beginning of this course of action.
Two days before the Passover (Matthew 26:2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”)
Matthew 26:3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
Matthew 26:4 and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him.
Matthew 26:5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
They finally had to resort to deception.
By this time Satan had already entered Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3)
John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,
John 18:2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.
John 18:3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
He was arrested in order to prevent “a potential uprising.”
Luke 22:2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
So notice when they did it — at night!
Luke 22:47 And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.
Luke 22:48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Luke 22:49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
Luke 22:50 And one of them [Peter] struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
Luke 22:53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Jesus Inspected by the Jewish Rulers
John 18:12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.
They do not levee any formal charges against Him upon taking Him into custody.
John 18:13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.
Annas did not really have the authority to officially do this since he was not the high priest, but rather a former high priest. The “authority” came from the fact that he was the father-in-law of the high priest Caiaphas, which may have been why they did this – he was not acting in any official capacity in an attempt to skirt the law.
Also, we should be aware of the fact that Jewish law prohibited all proceedings at night. No session of the court could take place before the offering of the morning sacrifice or after the time of the evening sacrifice. So they went off the books.
Annas tries to get Jesus to self-incriminate:
John 18:19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.
They were also trying to gather evidence so they could actually charge Him with something
John 18:20 Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.
John 18:21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”
Basically He is saying here where is your evidence. If I have indeed said something amiss, there would be those to corroborate it.
John 18:22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”
They were employing “Gulag” style antics.
John 18:23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”
So they got nothing out of Him here…so the next step:
John 18:24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
John 18:14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Jesus is now being taken to be judged before the man who said that He should die. Not only that, but this “trial” seems to be taking place at his house, the house of the high priest instead of the normal place where the Sanhedrin met. Of course, it could only be legally done there during the day – not at night like they were doing.
Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes.
Mark 14:54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.
Mark 14:55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.
It is poignant to note that under Jewish law, the Sanhedrin could not originate the charges, instead they would have to let him go.
Mark 14:56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.
They had to have at least two witnesses who agreed – they could not even produce two false witnesses that could make the same false accusation!
Mark 14:57 Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying,
Mark 14:58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ”
Mark 14:59 But not even then did their testimony agree.
So therefore they could not convict on the testimony of one person.
Mark 14:60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”
He was trying to get Him to self-incriminate
Mark 14:61 But He kept silent and answered nothing [He did not corroborate any testimonies – plus there was nothing to answer]. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
Mark 14:62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Mark 14:63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses?
Mark 14:64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
- Of course this was not blasphemy.
- Self-incrimination was not allowed
- Some have said that even this was illegal according the law of the time, at least one of the judges had to stand up for the accused – but that was not the case here.
Mark 14:65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.
This wasn’t legal either from the point of view that He was being punished twice for the same crime – even if they were to be crucified
Jesus Inspected by the Roman Rulers
John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.
Pilate’s place or palace was the judgment hall where matters like this were to be brought
Judas Introduces “New” Evidence
Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Matthew 27:4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
Matthew 27:5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
By the law if new evidence comes to light, even from the accused and even if he is on his way to be killed, the Sanhedrin is obligated to review it – even if this happens several times.
John 18:29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”
He was going to do his duty and not simply rely on the word of the Jews. Plus he had discerned that the Jews envious of Jesus (Matthew 27:18).
John 18:30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”
A very misleading answer, if effect they were say, “Surely you can see how bad the charge if we are bringing Him before you.”
Also if they were to mention that the only thing that they had against Him was blasphemy, they knew Pilate would have nothing to do with since it was a Jewish religious matter
John 18:31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,”
They insinuate that what He is accused of is worthy of death — once again they are being very devious!
The Romans allowed them to implement the death penalty for capital offenses so that is not what is being talked about here.
The Sanhedrin was not allowed to hear a case involving a crime deserving of the death penalty on the day before the Sabbath or a holy day because under Jewish law they were not allowed to convict any one in more quickly than two days.
They had to “sleep” on it – which really meant they had to give it some serious thought over night.
So the problem that the Jews had here was that they arrested Jesus on Tuesday night, and killed Him on Wednesday – and of course that night was the beginning of the first day of Unleavened Bread. If they were going to have their way, they would have to circumvent this law.
So when they saw this was not working they changed their tack and brought new accusations against Jesus.
Pick up the story in:
Luke 23:2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
These three accusations were designed to make Jesus look like an enemy of the state and a challenge to Roman authority. Even though they were all false, the last one, not even Pilate could just let go.
John 18:33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
John 18:34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
John 18:35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”
So let’s listen carefully to exactly what Jesus says:
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
He was not the King yet – He did not come to foment violence. He did come to rule with a rod of iron and the the kingdoms of the world His – not just yet any way.
John 18:38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
Pilate now says in no uncertain terms that Jesus is innocent:
Luke 23:4 So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”
Luke 23:5 But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”
Luke 23:6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean.
Luke 23:7 And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
He saw a way out of this mess and immediately off-loaded the problem to Herod
Luke 23:8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.
Herod was looking to be entertained like he was with John the Baptist until he had to cut his head off.
Luke 23:9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.
Jesus did not really have to say anything especially since He had already been declared innocent by Pilate
Luke 23:10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.
Luke 23:11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.
But note what Herod did not do: He did convict Jesus of anything; He did not pass any type of legal judgment; and least of all say that Jesus was worthy of the death penalty.
Luke 23:13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,
Luke 23:14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;
Luke 23:15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.
Now for yet a second time Pilate pronounces a lack of guilt and adds that Herod is with him on this
Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him“
WHAT!?! WHY!?! After he had adjudicated the matter, found Jesus innocent – Pilate said it twice, Herod once and the Jews had not presented any evidence
Why would he do this?
Perhaps it was to placate the Jews and give them a little of what they wanted as well as stave off the crucifixion – he even tries to sell it that JC should be the one released. Obviously this did not work, but rather the Jews smelled blood in the water with Pilate now giving in to them just a bit.
Luke 23:17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
Matthew 27:15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.
A type of forgiving of sins which had meaning for this time of the year.
Matthew 27:16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
Matthew 27:17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
Pilate should have never done this. Jesus had been exonerated, but Pilate is being political.
Matthew 27:18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
Not only did he know the Jews were up to no good, his wife also told Pilate should wipe his hands of it.
Matthew 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
Matthew 27:21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”
Matthew 27:22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
Matthew 27:23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
John 19:1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.
He was beaten for no legitimate reason.
John 19:2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.
John 19:3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.
They once again continue to heap illegal actions one upon another.
John 19:4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”
This is the 3rd time he found Him innocent
John 19:5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
John 19:6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
This is the 4th time he found Him innocent
John 19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
They now are open about the blasphemy, when they had previously hid it from Pilate.
John 19:8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,
We see this now more in Pilate’s actions, he is desperately trying to find a reason to let Jesus go.
John 19:9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
John 19:10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
John 19:11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
John 19:12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
They were threatening Pilate with treasonous acts should he continue in the vein.
John 19:15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
So now they are saying they look to and recognize the Roman rulership over them? Now only in that it suits their cause now.
Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.“
He was not! Pilate could have released Jesus, instead he whipped Him and allowed abuse by the soldiers – in both cases blood was drawn.
Matthew 27:25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”
Christ’s blood is on all of us. We are all responsible through our sinning! Christ’s blood had to be spilled for each and everyone of us.
Matthew 27:26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
John 19:19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
John 19:20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
John 19:21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ‘ “
The Jews wanted it to be written as a blasphemous claim. This would have been treason, so for one final time Pilate admits nothing in regards to guilt and answers:
John 19:22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
Pilate shows a little resolve in remaining steadfast in what he had put down as an inscription.
The Bible confirms that Christ was murdered. Even throughout the illegal arresting, interrogating and trial of Jesus, no fault was found in Him even by lawless men.
Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
Acts 13:27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
Acts 13:28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.
During His time on earth as a human, Jesus did not break the law.…[even though He] was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
And so because of this we see in 1 Peter 1:18-19 we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot as was foreshadowed by this day thousands of years ago.
1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
During this time of the year, it is prudent that we realize the magnitude of what Christ did and gave up for us.