October 11

Text: Matthew 27:1-2

Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away, and delivered Him up to Pilate the governor.  (NASB)

The Jerusalem council seemed committed to doing things correctly.  It is suggested that the gathering at Caiaphas’ home was a meeting of only part of the Jerusalem council.  This group was given the responsibility of determining the official Jewish charge against Jesus.  Then the whole council met at early daylight to “rubber stamp” the charge and verdict.  This would technically satisfy any Jewish inquiry into the matter (after all, Jesus was a popular person).  Lastly, they would take Jesus to Pilate for permission to impose the death penalty.

Usually, Pilate was in Caesarea.  This city was the Roman headquarters for the Roman governor, the Roman court, and the high ranking officers of the occupying force.  Jerusalem was the Jewish center of activity, and Caesarea was the center for Roman activity.

The Passover was a particularly tense time in Jewish-Roman relationships.  Passover commemorated Jewish freedom from Egyptian oppression through an act of God.  Many Jews were in Jerusalem on Passover.  The city contained lots of talk about patriotism and revolt.  To protect Roman interest and to prevent a Jewish uprising, it was wise for the Roman governor to be in Jerusalem at Passover.  Therefore, the Roman governor would be quickly accessible to the Jewish council on this occasion.

Note two things.  First, they made Jesus look like a criminal.  Though Jesus did not resist arrest, though he gave them no problems during inquiries and trial, and though he tolerated the injustice well, they “bound” him to take him to Pilate.  They made him look like a dangerous criminal.

Second, they were careful to do everything properly.  Jesus was guilty by Jewish standards, and the council showed proper respect to Roman authority in a Jewish matter.  The injustice was not in their procedure, but in their act. 

If the wrong thing is done in the right way, the wrong thing suddenly becomes okay.  Correct procedure made injustice okay.  Sound familiar?

Wrong is not made right by good procedure.  Injustice is injustice regardless of procedure.

Suggestion for reflection: Spiritually, when do we try to hide injustice with procedure?  (Read Luke 11:37-44.)

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