Bible Reading: John 18:33-19:16
“After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.” (John 18:38b)
C.S Lewis once said that there are only three possibilities to the sceptics’ question, “who is Jesus?”. Jesus is either a lunatic who claims to be the Son of God, a liar who deceives others by His lies, or, He is truly the Son of God. To the skeptic, observe the accounts of Jesus’ trials.
Jesus was judged unfairly before both the Jewish council and the Roman council. The Jewish leaders had already planned to murder Jesus because He was a threat to their power, reputation, wealth, and political way of life. They bound and captured Him in the middle of the night and set Him on trial with a handful of false witnesses whose stories did not line up. In anger, the high priests sent Jesus to Pilate of Rome.
Pilate knew of the malicious intent behind Jesus’ accusations. “He knew it was out of envy that they had delivered him up” (Matthew 27:18). Pilate and then also Herod could not find any fault in Jesus. Even though they were evil ‘gentile’ men, they testified to the innocence of Christ.
Pilate tried to free Jesus. He had Jesus flogged and beaten, and He presented Jesus in a robe and crown of thorns to the Jews, saying, “Behold the man!”. He appealed to the Jews’ humanity so that they would pity Jesus and have Him released. In return, they shouted, “Crucify Him!”. Pilate also tried to offer Jesus as the prisoner released on the Passover. However, the crowd chose Barabbas, the terrorist, over Jesus and demanded Jesus be crucified.
From the outside, this may seem like a story about a pitiful man treated unjustly by others. Yet, the words He said and the actions He committed must be taken into account.
Jesus claimed He was a king. Jesus claimed He came from heaven to declare the truth. Not only that, He claimed that only in Him there was life and eternal salvation. Furthermore, see Jesus’ actions. He fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah written in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth”. Again and again, Jesus remained silent before those who judged Him and oppressed Him.
Towards this man’s claims, we must respond. John 14:6 says He claims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Are we going to accept that statement as that of a madman, a liar, or as the truth spoken by the righteous Son of God?
The Bible also claims that Jesus’ death was part of a bigger plan from eternity past to bring salvation for His people so that His kingdom would be restored. This story encompasses you and me and the whole world, claiming to be the narrative of the cosmos.
Is this narrative the truth? See if you can find fault in Jesus. He even challenges in John 8:46, “which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?”.
If He is the only righteous man ever to live, and He lived to give life in the darkest torments of death, what must be our response? He offers to return the true way of life through the atonement of His blood. Will we submit to the Truth?
Lord, turn our hearts towards You. Open our eyes to see Christ for who He was and soften our hearts to submit in obedience to Him as King. So many other idols and worldly pleasures enthrone our hearts, o Lord. Forgive us, God, and cleanse our hearts. Have mercy on us, and do not pass us by lest we are blinded to who Christ is and what He has done for us. In Jesus' name, amen.