Luke 23 v 4. “Then Pilot announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
After Peter ran out into the night and wept in repentance and sorrow, Jesus was alone with his enemies for the remainder of the night. The crude guards cared little about religion and displayed once again the curious delight fallen humans take in violence. They mocked him and beat him, while he was blindfolded and insulted him. All this was part of the rejection he was to suffer for us.
After the trumped-up trials before the religious leaders, those same leaders realised they needed something more than a blasphemy charge to secure his death. The cruel Roman court cared nothing for what the Jews thought was blasphemy, so they led him off to Pilate the Roman governor and accused him of charges of subversion and rebellion against Caesar. They ended their charges by saying “He claims to be Christ, a King.” Of course they thought that the Roman governor would be seriously upset at the thought of someone claiming to be a king. That would constitute a threat to Caesar and was punishable by death. Instead they served only to raise Pilate’s curiosity. Pilate was not a fool when it came to Jewish schemes. He had had plenty of clashes with this turbulent people and not all of them brought any glory to Pilate. He had made mistakes and now was careful. So he questioned Jesus. He discovered two things. First, the Kingship Jesus claimed was a Jewish religious matter and of no interest to Caesar. Second, he learned that Jesus had lived under Herod’s jurisdiction, not his, so he saw the opportunity of passing the buck. It so happened that Herod was in Jerusalem at the time. How providentially God works. Herod and Pilate were not on good terms but this event drew them closer together in political alliance. All the while God was also working out his own plan for our salvation.
Now notice how complicated it becomes to accuse Jesus of any crime. Why? Because he had committed none. Our Saviour had to be “a lamb without blemish”. In other words, he had to be a Saviour who was sinless, so that he could die for others. To falsely accuse an innocent man creates the nod to spin one lie after another. Eventually he was convicted not because of any evidence, but because of political pressure on Pilate.
Notice too, how quickly Pilate tried to get rid of him. Is that not how people are today? The spirit that made Pilate send Jesus to Herod is the same spirit that causes people today to say “Don’t talk to me about religion”. “It’s none of your business.” Don’t judge me.” “Leave me alone.”
It is that attitude of the heart that urges us at all times to avoid the truth as we find it in Jesus.