Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no guilt in this Man" (Luke 23:4).
Read Luke 23:1-4.
Even though the Jewish high court condemned Jesus to death, it has no authority to execute criminals. Their decision must be ratified by Pontius Pilate, the Roman military governor. Perhaps worried that Pilate is unlikely to condemn Jesus for a religious matter, they bring three political charges against Him.
The governor quickly dismisses the first two: Jesus is no insurrectionist inciting the crowds to rise up against Rome. Nor is He teaching the Jews to stop paying taxes to Caesar: "He said to them, 'Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's'" (Luke 20:25).
The only charge worth investigating is Jesus' claim to be the Christ. If Jesus were to exploit the Jewish desire for their Christ to come and drive out the Romans, He would be a threat to Caesar's empire and Pilate would have to act.
Jesus' answer again may sound elusive, but He knows Pilate's biggest interest is ending this trial with as little fuss as possible. The governor is ignoring his Savior who stands before him. Jesus answers, "You have said so" (Matthew 26:64b). This deflects the question back to Pilate, inviting him to think about what those words really mean. Pilate isn't interested. He returns to the Jewish leaders and reveals his findings. He finds no threat, no guilt in Jesus.
But that's when he makes a fatal flaw: he doesn't enforce his verdict. He should rule the case closed and disburse the crowds-even with his troops, if necessary. Instead, he leaves an opening which the Jewish leaders will be quick to exploit.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You graciously reached out to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. Give me the concern and the words to share my faith with people who do not yet know You. Amen.
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