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Lenten Devotion

"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


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. 

Written by Rev. Wayne Palmer

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