In A.D. 30, nearly two thousand years ago, Israel was preparing to observe the Passover.  But this Passover would be uniquely different from the previous ones.  Two of the greatest systems of jurisprudence, that of Rome and the Jews would converge to form an unholy alliance and violate the tenets of their judicial systems in an effort to silence the One who claimed to be King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel. Since the time that the curse had been pronounced on the Deceiver, that old serpent, Satan had determined to stop the seed of the woman from crushing his head (Gen 3:15). Frustrated in all of his attempts to prevent the virgin birth of the Savior, his only recourse would be to have Christ killed before the Cross could occur.  Surely these two great systems of law would prevent such a deed from occurring?  Lest we forget, there was nothing man or Satan could do to interfere with God’s Plan of redemption. The Cross would become a reality, for God had decreed it so; He would cause it all to work for good.  But it was evident that God would use man’s evil intent and actions to get Christ to the Cross. So it would be the night of Jesus’ arrest by the religious leaders.  A series of mock trials, six in all, would take place, all in violation of both systems of law. No witnesses would be called for the defense though Jesus had many, for He had healed innumerable individuals. The burden of proof was on the prosecution, yet they no basis to condemn Him.  Ironically, the One being tried was not only innocent but the perfect Son of God. It would be a travesty of so-called justice.  In the first trial, Jesus would be taken before Annas who had been deposed by the Romans in A.D. 15 but continued his grip on all political and gangster activity in Jerusalem as head of organized crime. The Apostle John writes … “So the Roman cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year” (John 18:12-13).  Next would be a trial before Caiaphas, held also at night without legal defense. Matthew records … “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; and they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward” (Matt 26:59-60). Realizing that these two previous trials were illegal, the Jews would hold a third trial early the next morning.  At this trial Jesus would affirm that He was the Son of God.  They would consider such a statement blasphemous, worthy of death.  However, the Jews could not condemn a person to death, only the Romans could do that, so Jesus would be sent to Pontius Pilate.  Here the religious leaders would claim … ” we found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King. Scripture would record that Jesus “witnessed a good confession” before Pilate” (1 Tim 6:13).  Skirting his responsibility to release Jesus, Pilate would send him to King Herod (Luke 23:7). Though he would be questioned extensively, Jesus would not answer Herod nor perform a miracle in his presence.  Angered at being rebuffed, Herod would torture Jesus and send him back to Pilate (Luke 23:8-12).  This last trial would see Pilate devise a plan to release Jesus since His innocence was obvious.  Beaten, a crown of thorns implanted on His head and dressed in a regal robe, Jesus would be paraded once more before the Jews.  God would have Pilate proclaim “Behold the Man,” a prophecy of the Messiah (Zech 6:12).  The religious leaders knew that this spoke of Messiah, God’s anointed to accomplish salvation.  They wanted a political deliverer but not a Savior. The shouts of the crowd soon to be heard– “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” would turn to cries of “crucify, crucify Him.”  Satan thought he would finally succeed in preventing his head from being crushed by the seed of woman.  Wrong!   What would appear as a defeat – the impending Cross – would become in actuality a victory.  The Innocent One would die for the guilty, that is you and I; the power of sin to hold the human race in bondage would be broken, and within three days and nights, the power of death destroyed in resurrection.  All who placed their faith in this Christ would have eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and be placed into union with the resurrected Savior.  

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