Summary: Jesus' trial before Pilate was a hodge-podge of differing desires. But they are all just background noise to what was really going on, and what God was using to bring about His purpose.
Passage: Matthew 27:11-26
Intro: It’s very interesting to watch the wrangling in Washington these days.
1. debt-ceiling debate, a lot at stake.
2. we know that much going on “behind the scenes”, as people seek to gain the upper hand of power.
3. trade-offs, promises, seeking to manipulate the outcome.
4. one perspective usually left out of man’s wars.
5. but we see it here, in this passage, in the attitude of Jesus
6. every week more convinced that a key to understanding Matthews record is contrast
8. going to look at three groups who think they are in charge, compared to the One who really is.
I. The Romans: Maintain the Status Quo
1. the Romans liked things to remain as they were, because they were in charge.
2. so into Pilates world that morning came a bedraggled man, hands bound, led by the Jewish leaders.
3. Pilate wasn’t interested in religion, but politics
4. so he asked in v11 a pointed question: “Are you…”
5. really asking “Are you a threat to the order Rome has….established?”
Il) in the Roman system, much weight was given to the defendant’s response to accusations.
6. Jesus reply was simple, “It is as you say”
7. in essence, Jesus’ forthright answer was the truth, but He was not the kind of king that Pilate was asking about.
8. Pilate recognized that Jesus was no threat, and was amazed that Jesus had no response to the accusations
9. and ultimately, in his view, Jesus was innocent of any charges, and he sought to let Him go free.
10. notice this: Jesus was before the greatest power in Israel right here.
11. but He didn’t schmooze him, try to get on his good side, manipulate by appealing to what he wanted.
12. Jesus told the truth, and knew that God had ultimate control.
13. Pilate became a little frantic, as we will see, caved in to fear.
14. Jesus remained calm because He trusted God and His plan, which included using Pilate to execute Him on a cross.
II. The Jewish Leaders: What Will Get Rid of Our Competition
1. it is a well-established fact in Scripture that the Jewish leaders considered Jesus a huge threat.
PP John 11:48
2. their flood of accusations baseless and in fact contrary to the evidence of Jesus’ life.
3. what was the evidence of Jesus’ life?
4. Good works, even to the Romans
5. “pay your taxes”
6. consistently refused the crowds attempts to make him the king.
7. 2 reason why Jesus did not answer in His own defense.
8. 1st, His life was His answer
9. 2nd, He accepted God’s plan, which meant His rejection by the Jewish leaders and ultimate death.
10. desperately the chief priests tried to use their political muscle to kill Jesus, and they could not do it.
11. but an opportunity presented itself to accomplish their purpose through the back door.
12. and all they had to do was manipulate the crowd a little.
13. here again is Jesus facing the full wrath and power of the assembled Jewish leaders.
14. His rights trampled on, His record ignored, His enemies using every manipulative technique in the book.
15. Jesus really believed in the sovereignty of God! So He walked to His death with full confidence and joy.
16. joy came from doing the Father’s will. Period.
III. The Lynch Mob: What Will Bring Us Satisfaction
1. this crowd of people gathered here in the early morning for a specific purpose.
PP Free the prisoners demonstration
2. every year at Pentecost, the Romans let them choose one prisoner to go free.
PP Mark 15:8
4. Pilate saw the loophole, thought he could release Jesus.
5. after all, he was apparently a law- abiding, good man
6. so the crowd was offered a choice, and then the Jewish leaders started to circulate.
7. saw their chance and took it.
8. v20, “persuaded”= another form of the same word, “entice”
9. perhaps group already pulling for Barabbas, who was probably a kind of folk hero for those who opposed Roman rule.
10. watch the progression here of the crowds mood.
11. v21, offered a choice. Barabbas or Jesus. They chose Barabbas
12. and what of Jesus? “crucify him” blood lust, tremendous power
13. I smell the chief priests, who desired the greatest possible shame, “death on a tree”=cursed by God.
14. v23, two questions, because Pilate seeking to find legal ground, and also hears his wife’s voice in the back of his head. V19
15. v23 “screamed continuously”
16. wonder if some kind of rhythmic chant to crucify.
17. they had become an illogical mob, and they had the power to dictate action.