"Pilate said to them, 'Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.' ..." (John 18:31a). Read John 18:28-32.
Only John's Gospel shows us Jesus' trial before Annas the former high priest. Then John leaves out Jesus' official trial before Caiaphas the high priest. Instead, he jumps straight to Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate.
This trial is very strange. Jesus is brought into the official residence of the Roman military governor, but the Jewish authorities refuse to enter. Though they have no problem railroading the innocent Son of God to His death, they are careful not to defile themselves by entering the home of a Gentile. So Pilate is forced to go back and forth between Jesus and them.
The trial is a bitter power struggle between Pilate and the Jewish authorities. Pilate quickly concludes Jesus is innocent and wants to set Him free. But finding himself in a very precarious position with the emperor, Pilate must handle this case very delicately; he especially cannot afford to lose control and see a riot start.
On the other side, the Jewish authorities are desperate to have Jesus executed, but they are not in the position where they can do it themselves. Years before the Roman governor had removed the right for the Jewish authorities to inflict capital punishment. So if they want Jesus dead, they have to convince Pilate one way or another. So we see the battle begin-with Jesus' life hanging in the balance.
The truth is that God is in control of what He is doing for each of us by Christ's crucifixion, as we shall see in the coming days
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, all around us people are plotting and scheming for control. Many times we too want to find some way to control events happening in our own lives. Remind us that You are firmly in control so we may rest in Your hands and watch You work for our good. Amen.
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