Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71
Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law – the entire high council – met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman Governor. – Mark 15:1 NLT
As the new day broke, Jesus was brought before the high council of the Jews one more time. This august assemblage of Hebrew religious leaders looked on Jesus with contempt and disgust. To them, He was anything but the Messiah. He was a trouble-making nobody from Nazareth who had somehow managed to garner Himself a following among the poorer and less intelligent common people. He may have been the poor man's Messiah, but He was not theirs. So they asked Him one more time, just to make sure, "Tell us, are you the Messiah?" (Luke 22:67 NLT). They wanted to hear Him say it one more time. Perhaps He had time to think about it during the night and was willing to recant His statement from the night before. But Jesus boldly and defiantly responds, repeating what He had said just hours earlier: "If I tell you, you won't believe me. And if I ask you a question, you won't answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God's right hand" (Luke 22:68-69 NLT).
If Jesus was trying to get a reaction from them, He succeeded, because they all shouted, "So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?" (Luke 22:70 NLT). They wanted to hear Him say it one more time, because His claim to be the Son of God was the one thing for which they could accuse Him. It would be His only crime. And Jesus confirmed it when He said, "You have said it" (Luke 22:70 NLT). That was all they needed. From there the entire high council led Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. With their robes flowing and their heads held high, they led the Son of God, their very own Messiah toward His ultimate execution. They had to take Him to Pilate because under Roman rule, the Jews were not allowed to put anyone to death. For Jesus to be killed, they were going to have to convince the Romans that Jesus was a threat to the peace and security of the nation. As the Roman governor of Judea, Pilate would have a special interest in anything or anyone who might be stirring up trouble, dissent, or possible insurrection among the Jews. The last thing He wanted was trouble among the Jews. His was an appointed position and he could lose it if it appeared that he was losing control of those under his jurisdiction.
So off they marched, the Jewish religious leaders leading the way, and Jesus, beaten and bloodied, following in their path. It was the beginning of the end. But things were far from over. This was all part of God's divine plan. At no moment was He out of control or wondering what was happening. He and His Son were fully in charge of the proceedings that morning, in spite of what the religious leaders may have thought. Isaiah had predicted, "But it was the Lord's good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy long life, and the Lord's good plan will prosper in his hands" (Isaiah 53:11 NLT). Jesus was walking not just to His death, but toward His destiny. With each step He took, He drew closer to the very purpose for which He came. He was born to die. He lived so that He might give His life away. Jesus had always known that this was the reason for His incarnation. He had made it clear on numerous occasions. "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28 NLT). The time was drawing closer. The days of His earthly ministry were coming to a close. The redemptive plan of God the Father was about to be unveiled.
Father, it is difficult to understand just why it had to happen this way. Everything in us makes us want to think it could have been done differently. But You knew there was no other way. You knew that the penalty of sin required a high price and a perfect sacrifice. Nothing and no one could satisfy Your just and righteous demands, except the death of Your own sinless Son. While I can't fully understand it, I do appreciate it. I am grateful that You did for me what I could never have done for myself. Amen.