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Trials Before Caiaphas, Herod And Pilate

The arrest, trial, and conviction of the Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest travesty of justice ever enacted. When He said to His disciples, "the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners" it appears that not only did they fail to realize how serious the situation was but they never could have imagined the treatment the Lord was about to receive literally at man's hands. From the Saviour's arrest in the garden until Pilate delivered Him to be crucified, the numerous references to what men did to Him with their hands makes amazing reading.

"Then they came and laid their hands on Jesus"

Against the multitude of armed soldiers who came to arrest the Lord, what chance had His followers of protecting Him? Perhaps Peter had such thoughts in mind but the Lord revealed the true situation. Like the siege of Samaria in the days of Elisha, the heavenly scene was vastly different from the earthly one for the Lord told the disciples that, awaiting His command were more than twelve legions of angels. In this we have an insight into the submission of the Saviour. For these disciples who had already said, "we will never forsake Thee" the record looks strange indeed - betrayed by one, denied by another and forsaken by all. No man was ever more alone than was the Lord when He entered these hours of greatest trial. In the wilderness the temptation to deflect had been strong but He did not then have that intense, agonising internal conflict, seen in the words, "If it be possible... not as I will, but as Thou wilt".

Only the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God could have provided such a situation for the Son, and into this situation the Lord had willingly stepped.

"They that laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas" (AV)

Isaiah had foretold that the Lord would be as a sheep before its shearers. This shearing was now beginning in earnest. The elite of Jewish leaders, custodians of the oracles of God, now cut away at the Saviour's character, teaching and claims. They tried many pairs of "shears" and at the last came two false witnesses. What meticulous records this pair had kept for about three years as they remembered an incident in His early ministry! By now the high priest was desperate and as he rises from his seat we hear him saying, "answereth Thou nothing?" From this point on the singular fact much emphasized is the silence of Christ before His accusers. It had not always been so. He had answered His critics before with dignity, power and conviction, as in the questions about John the Baptist and paying tribute to Caesar. Why the silence now? Was He unable to find a suitable answer? The prophet had said, "He opened not His mouth" and the Lord said, "Thus it must be".

"Then did they spit on His face and buffet (punch) Him"

The submission of the Lord Jesus Christ was one of body as well as mind. At each trial, before Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate the Lord suffered physically. Spitting, punching and slapping were the order of the day. The spiritual hosts of wickedness must have been let loose in these judgement halls, for only the devil himself could have thought up some of the evils that these devilish men carried out. That the Son of God allowed Himself to be the object of man's mockery is beyond us to grasp. Read the account again in the Gospels and meditate once more on the humility of Christ. While part of this was going on Peter was outside denying the Lord. I wonder which hurt Him most?

"Herod with his men of war... mocked Him" (AV)

The contrasts are so strong - men of war mocking the Prince of Peace.

Herod was delighted to see Jesus because he hoped to see something impressive. What he did see was truly impressive and yet he did not recognize the miracle before his eyes. By now the Jewish leaders were much agitated in trying to obtain the death sentence on their Prisoner so they "vehemently accused Him", but Herod turned the whole thing into a joke and further mocked the Saviour, arraying Him in a gorgeous robe. In this we are spared the details of all that was said and done but Herod was not known for his love and compassion.

"But Jesus he scourged"

The Lord was brought before Pilate twice and in the end Pilate gave way

to the Jews, but before handing over the Prisoner he added his own bit of degradation by having Jesus scourged. It appears that Pilate's soldiers now tried to outshine Herod's. They would also get a royal robe but in addition complete the mockery with a crown of thorns and a reed which the Lord quietly held in His divine hand. Then the spitting and the smiting continued.

Truly the Lord had been delivered into the hands of sinners. He went forth bearing the cross for Himself. We are glad that Christ suffered thus only once, as Peter reminds us, "Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous that He might bring us to God".