SINCE the informal meeting of the Sanhedrin described in the preceding lesson could not give a legal sentence before sunrise, this morning meeting and consultation were merely for the purpose of ratifying the conclusions then reached. They then delivered Jesus bound unto Pilate, the whole company escorting him thither to make sure that their purpose should be accomplished.Luke 23:1.
Verses 2-5. The wicked shrewdness of the Sanhedrin, in preferring the charge of blasphemy, for its effect upon the people before whom they desired to appear very zealous for the law, while an entirely different, but equally false, set of charges was brought against him before Pilate, the Roman governor, who cared nothing for their religious ideas, is very manifest. The accusation brought before Pilate involved the charge of treason, a charge most likely to arouse the indignation and wrath of the Roman rulers. They accused him of seditious agitation, of prohibiting the payment [R1810 : page 111] of tribute money, and of assuming the title of King of the Jews, and thus apparently of conspiring against Caesar and the Roman government.
While the second charge was entirely false (Matt. 22:21), the other two had an appearance of truth, and to these were added numerous petty individual charges. But to none of them did the Lord make reply, so that Pilate marvelled that he made no effort at self-defence in the midst of such danger.
Verses 6-14. The several efforts of Pilate to release his innocent prisoner, who, he discovered, had been delivered to him for envy, were unavailing before the boisterous mob who, instigated by their rulers, loudly clamored for his death, and that by the most ignominious and cruel method, crucifixion, so that his memory should ever be covered with infamy.
Verse 15. Then Pilate, who was influenced more by considerations of policy than of principle, willing to satisfy the people, delivered Jesus to be scourged and crucified, yet at the same time protesting the innocence of his prisoner and washing his hands in token of his own innocence in thus delivering up to them this just person. Not until he himself was threatened by the mob to be reported to Caesar as one hostile to the government and a traitor to his trust in encouraging seditions and conspiracy against the government, did he relinquish his efforts to save Jesus.John 19:12-16; Matt. 27:24,25.