The Trial of Jesus
After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was put on trial.
The trial of Jesus Christ was the most important judicial proceeding in all of human history. It was the day that Jesus Christ was arrested, tried, and executed in the greatest travesty of justice this world has ever seen. Countless religious and civic laws were broken or ignored in this “rush to judgment.”
Jesus was arrested at 1:00 in the morning, and then examined by Annas, the former High Priest. He was a shadowy, Godfather-like figure who pulled the strings behind the scenes.
Annas had an old score to settle with Jesus, as he was the one who profited from the money-changers in the temple, whose tables Jesus had overturned twice.
Then Jesus was brought before a full council to hear so-called witnesses perjure themselves as they told lies about His flawless ministry and preaching. He was then brought before Caiaphas–the High Priest and, conveniently, son-in-law of Annas–who condemned Jesus to death and sent Him to Pontius Pilate (the Roman governor) for execution.
Pilate the Politician
Pilate was immediately placed in the horns of a dilemma, a quandary.
It was the time of the Jewish Passover and the city was swelled with pilgrims. Pilate did not want these religious rulers inciting a riot against him.
Things were already tense between Pilate and the Jewish religious leaders. According to history, he had already had some serious run-ins with them and one more incident could have caused a full riot.
Pilate was scared, plain and simple. This hardened, anti-Semitic Roman cared nothing about public opinion. He would have freed Jesus just to spite them, not to mention He was innocent.
It’s just that it was his head in the noose. He had to keep the Jews from rioting, lest Rome turn on him.
Behind the Scenes
But there was much more taking place “behind the scenes” on this day.
The forces of good and evil were at work. Both God and Satan were mysteriously moving in the same direction, but with different objectives.
Satan wanted Jesus dead, and so he marshaled his forces and played his wicked hand. God wanted the sin of the world dealt with, and that would only happen through the death of His Son.
But Pilate did have a choice in the matter. He was soon to find out that he had no easy way out. He would have to make a decision concerning Jesus Christ.
Deep down inside, he may have even thought that Jesus was the Messiah. But he had his career, his position, his power to think about.
So, in spite of the fact that Jesus was completely innocent of all charges against him, Pilate had him whipped and murdered in cold blood through crucifixion.
How much is your soul worth?
So what is your price? How much would it take for you to ”sell your soul,” so to speak?
Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver. Herod sold his for an immoral lifestyle. And Pilate sold his for position, power, and prestige.
History tells us that within seven years of this cruel deed, Pontius Pilate–the great Roman governor–was removed from his office and banished to Gaul. He was left broken, destitute, unwanted by Caesar, and all alone.
In the end, Pilate went out into the darkness of night and, like Judas, hung himself. His body was found by a workman.
Pilate threw his life away because he was more concerned with what others thought about him than what God thought about him. His craving for popularity and power cost him everything.
What a story it would have been if he would have believed in Jesus on the spot.
We are in Pilate’s shoes
We know people like Pilate, but it’s not just the people who reject Christ.
For some, they choose career over Jesus. It’s not that you can’t have both, but they pour themselves into the pursuit of success at the cost of everything.
They are willing to sacrifice their integrity, their standards, their friends, even their faith, for the results they can reach.
That is sad. Pilate did this.
Others will choose people over Jesus. In other words, they are more concerned about what is “cool” or “acceptable” with their circle of friends than what God wants or does not want.
So they will not stand up for what is right, out of fear of losing their social position. Pilate did that too. That is tragic.
It is better to succeed in God’s eyes and fail in the world’s. It’s the trap of compromise that Pilate got himself into.
I’ll close with a “little secret!”
Christian author Graham Scroggie once said of compromise, “It prompts us to be silent when we ought to speak for fear of offending. It prompts us to praise when it is not deserved to keep people our friends. It prompts us to tolerate sin and not to speak out because to do so might give us enemies.”
It causes us to “lower our standards” in order to “extend our reach.”
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Instead of compromising, make your life’s goal to please God and watch how He will bless you!
Sure, you may lose some “friends” here, or a “position” there. But when it’s all said and done, you will be glad you chose the way of the Lord.
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