We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. At this point we’re looking at the Lord’s trial before Pilate, the Roman governor. You may want to read Luke 23:1-25 before continuing with this post.
So many times, believers get the wrong idea about Pontius Pilate when they read the Scripture. They think he’s a spineless coward. Why would he give in to the crowd?
What most people don’t know is that this snapshot of Pilate is very different from the Pilate of history. This man was a leader who was not to be trifled with. There were times that he could be very cruel and decisive. What exactly happened on this day to make him act the way he did?
After being questioned by the religious leadership of Israel, Jesus was taken before Pilate. That was because during the Roman occupation, the Jewish people could not exact the death penalty on any criminal. Only a Roman judge could do that.
And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”
So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
Luke 23:2-3 NIV
These leaders were on a mission to see Jesus killed. They brought accusations and lies before the governor. Yes, Jesus is the Christ – the true King of Israel. However, He never subverted the nation or told people not to pay their taxes.
By saying these things, the priests knew the ramifications. It was an act punishable by death to oppose the Roman government. So, in this case, Pilate was duty bound to look into it.
What was the outcome of his examination?
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
Luke 23:4 NIV
Pilate’s verdict was, “Not guilty!” As a matter of fact, when you read this section of Scripture, you’ll find that Jesus was declared innocent five times before he was given the death penalty. Was there anyone else in history that bore this much injustice? He understands that kind of cruelty.
When he found out that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent the Lord to Herod, who was in charge of that region. Again, the governmental rulers found nothing worthy of punishment in Christ. So, Jesus was sent back to Pilate.
Again and again, the Lord was declared innocent. But that didn’t matter. The crowd was adamant.
But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Luke 23:23-25 NIV
How could such a travesty of justice take place? Was it some massive conspiracy between the Jewish religious leaders, Herod, and Pilate? It might look that way on the surface.
No, there was no earthly conspiracy. Even in our day, sometimes events occur that cause us to think this is the case. What we have to remember is that there’s another unseen kingdom that affects things on our planet.
I’m taking about the enemy’s kingdom. Scripture calls Satan the god of this age. His minions are working behind the scenes in every corner of society. That’s why Jesus was so quickly condemned to die.
That’s the bad news, but the good news is so much better.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15 NIV
It may have seemed like they won a great battle that day. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The Lord Jesus Christ has the last word. His death, burial and resurrection has now become our greatest victory!
Question: How do we walk in the victory won by the Lord?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi