ï»¿The Civil Trial in the Life of Christ
Picture the scene, if you will, of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, having been arrested by a horde of Temple police and Roman soldiers, with His disciples fleeing for their lives, one leaving his clothing behind, having been denied by Peter, and facing a kangaroo court such as had never been seen before in the history of the world. In an illegal situation, Caiaphas, the high-priest, and the Sanhedrin sat in judgment of God. Could there be a more ironic, twisted situation, for the people of God to be trying to judge The Son of God? And the charge for which He was condemned, was calling Himself who He was: the Messiah, the Son of God. The words of ...view middle of the document...
netbible.com: Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C, 2001), (sn 14 p. 1785: â€œThe expression â€˜the right hand of the Powerâ€™ is a circumlocution for referring to God. Such indirect references to God were common in 1st century Judaism out of reverence for the divine name.â€)
2 John F. Walvoord, Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), 223.
3 Ibid, 226.
Caesar for tribute, and was claiming to be the Messiah, the King. The first charge was a very vague charge, and was somewhat akin and related to the third charge. The middle claim was a total falsehood, and was dismissed. By trying to use the term â€œkingâ€ in the sense that Pilate would understand, the Sanhedrin were trying to show Christ as a rebel trying to become a king and lead a Jewish rebellion against Rome. Of course, this is treason, and would most certainly carry with it a death penalty. The Jewish historian Josephus paints a picture of the times, explaining why Pilate had to investigate this claim, â€œAnd so Judaea was filled with brigandage. Anyone might make himself king as the head of a band of rebels whom he fell in with, and then would press on to the destruction of the community.â€4 Now, Christ had already chosen to flee a group who were about to try to make Him a worldly king, directly in contradiction to this charge, in John 6:15. Pilate asked Christ if He was King of the Jews, in response to this claim, in John 18:33-38. Jesus admitted to being King, and to having come into the world for such a purpose, to testify to the truth. He also pointed out to Pilate that if He truly wished to rebel, He could have had His followers fight His arrest, but He refrained from such action. As a matter of fact, He told Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this world. Pilate declared Jesus innocent at this point, which should have ended the trial, but the leaders and the crowd which gathered would have none of that.5
Learning that Jesus was from the land of Galilee, Pilate, in an effort to extricate himself from this escalating mob problem, which was fraught with political dangers for a man who had been reprimanded by Rome on occasion, had Jesus sent to Herod, who was in Jerusalem
at the time, for a ruling. Herod had nothing of guilt that he could find or was interested in, and
4 Everett F. Harrison, A Short Life of Christ, (Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), 211.
5 J. Dwight Pentecost, The Words & Works of Jesus Christ, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 472.
declared Christ innocent for a second time during this elongated civil trial.6 Finding Jesus in his hands once more, Pilate repeated his earlier declaration of innocence, making another kangaroo court declaration of not guilty. The clever governor tried once more to negotiate his way out of condemning a man to death whom he clearly did not believe was guilty, and, by this time, whom he clearly feared. He knew the Jewish...