Today we follow Jesus as He stands before the Sanhedrin, then Pilate and eventually we follow Him to the place of His crucifixion. In the shadows, if we look carefully, we can see Peter who is also following Him, but remotely at a distance.
Jesus is taken to the Sanhedrin, the supreme council and tribunal of the Jews where, under the authority of the High Priest, all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the Law gathered. Here many people testify against Jesus, but their stories don’t tally, so there is no consistent evidence against Jesus. It is eventually His own words about Himself that are used to condemn him.
When they ask Jesus to defend himself against these false accusations and witnesses, he remains silent. But, when the High Priest asks Jesus if He is the Messiah, Jesus answers, “Yes, and you will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven”. Jesus here is revealing to them His identity and they cannot accept it. The High Priest tears his robes, an act of mourning and grief, showing how upset and angered he was to hear Jesus say this. Of course this to him was blasphemy, how dare this man say he is the Son of God!
Peter’s betrayal of Jesus through his denial three times in the courtyard fulfils Jesus’ expectation and perhaps is a greater wound for Jesus to carry – the betrayal of a friend. The next morning the Sanhedrin, not being able to do anything without Rome’s permission, send Jesus to Pilate, the governor of Judea, for him to sentence Him. Pilate questions Jesus but can find nothing wrong, so he offers to release Jesus, (a tradition at the time of Passover was to release one prisoner) but the crowd stirred up by the religious leaders seek the freedom of Barabbas and cry for Jesus to be crucified.
The Roman soldiers take Jesus away into the palace and the soldiers begin to mock Him and spit at Him, made Him a purple robe and a crown of thorns, hit Him, pretend to pay homage to Him and mock Him again. Then they take off the purple robe, put His own clothes on Him and lead Him away to crucify Him.
Jesus is tried in six courts altogether: before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, three Jewish courts; and before Pilate, Herod and then Pilate again, three Roman courts - all illegal. Yet, Jesus went through all this, patiently and quietly, suffering at the hands of those He had done no wrong to, and humiliated before those He had only helped and healed. Why? Because it was the Father’s will that you and I had the opportunity to be in relationship with Him again.
Father, help me to realise today how much You paid for my salvation. Amen