Luke 23 – John 1
I am always amazed at the “trial” of Jesus before the religious leaders, and of how they present their case to Pilate.
Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” (Luke 23:1-2, ESV)
The “whole company” of them brought Jesus before Pilate. I get a picture of gross group-think, mob mentality at its worst. For better or for worse, there is strength in numbers. I think that deep down inside they knew what they were doing was wrong, but everyone else was doing it, too.
What a mess. What a circus.
Once they had Him bound before Pilate, they began to accuse Him, saying “We found this man misleading our nation.”
That is not a true statement. Jesus was not misleading the nation. Ironically, He was leading those who had ears to hear better than any leader ever had and ever will lead the nation. This accusation is a lie.
They also accused Him, saying, “This man forbid us to give tribute to Caesar.” This is a partial truth. If, by “giving tribute”, they meant paying taxes, then this statement is a lie. If, by “giving tribute”, they meant treating Caesar as if he were practically a god, then the statement was true. Either way, they were telling Pilate, a Roman ruler, exactly what they knew would set him firmly against Jesus.
They also accused Jesus, saying, “He claims to be Christ, a king.” This statement was true, but was intentionally misleading. Yes, Jesus claimed to be a king. In fact, He is the King Forever! But he was not claiming to be a king in the sense that they were trying to convey to Pilate. They were essentially saying that Jesus is going to try to put an army together to rise up against Rome.
They were nothing short of deceiving in their presentation to Pilate. It was a disgusting display of what people will do when they are personally offended and afraid that they may lose their seat of power.
The first miracle that we see Jesus perform in the gospel of John is the miracle of turning water into wine. I think the thing that strikes me most about this whole miracle is Jesus’ reluctance to perform it.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:1-4, ESV)
The mother of Jesus comes to Him and says, “They have no wine.” If it were me in Jesus’ shoes, I think it would be so easy to see this as an amazing opportunity to show off my skills and abilities. Yes! Finally I can show people what I can do!
But that is not at all the attitude that Jesus has. He is willing to perform the miracle, which He ultimately performs, but only because His mother asked Him to.