Acceptance of Guilt
Text: Matthew 27 : 1 - 31
We can well understand just why Pilate desired to be “innocent” of the blood of Jesus. If nothing else, there would be a temporary reprieve from attacks of guilt. Pilate was described by both Philo and Josephus who were Jewish historians as merciless in his rule. The trial of Jesus, if nothing else, must have caused him to feel more than just anxiety as to his decision to give in to the demands of the multitudes. Thus he wished to absolve himself from all blame if he were to officially condemn Jesus to be crucified.
What is more difficult to understand is the response of the multitudes. Did they really understand what they were saying when they mouthed their reply to Pilate ?
“His blood be on us and on our children.”
The multitudes, primed by the Sanhedrin Council, were prepared to accept the blame and the guilt of causing Jesus to be condemned to death. How should we understand this reply of the multitudes?
Many probably did not fully comprehend what they were saying. They certainly did not have time to evaluate the significance of the words they had foolishly uttered.
2. Mob mentality
The Sanhedrin Council members had done their work well. They probably convinced the multitudes that they were doing the right thing in asking Jesus to be condemned. If they were indeed doing the right thing, then neither blame nor guilt would be attached.
Another factor we must not dismiss is the problem of rashness. Many probably reacted on impulse. They had time only to hear what the Sanhedrin Council members had told them. They did not get to hear what Jesus or any of His disciples taught. Rash impulse can cause many to say and do foolish things.
4. The Sanhedrin Council members
They must bear the brunt of the blame and guilt. They were the ones who persuaded the multitudes to ask for the death sentence to be given to Jesus. They were probably the ones who started the chant ‘Let Him be crucified’. They were probably the ones who voiced out that they would bear the blame and the guilt of sentencing Jesus to death. The fact that they actually included their children in their foolish outcry would point to the work of cleverer minds than that displayed by the multitudes. Was there guilt and blame?
Was there guilt? Yes! The Jews (Sanhedrin Council), the multitudes and Pilate cannot be easily exonerated from their sin of condemning Jesus to death!
THE SENTENCED PRONOUNCED
The trial before Pilate was officially over. The sentence of death was given at the same time as the order for the release of Barabbas.
“Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged
Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.”
1. A stunned Barabbas
The person who must have been most surprised if not stunned would have been Barabbas. He knew that he would have to pay with his life for the many acts of terror that he had committed. He had robbed. He had rebelled against the Romans. He had even murdered those who stood in his way! The last thing he expected was to be released from prison a pardoned man!
2. The Scourging of Jesus
The word “scourged” was a truly terrifying one. Prisoners who were frail in health sometimes did not survive the scourging process. A prisoner was tied to a pillar and whipped. The whips used often had sharp bones or hooks attached to the thongs. Scourging was one of the most traumatic ordeals that Rome devised and employed in its idea of administering justice.
3. Delivering Jesus to be crucified
As far as Pilate was concerned, this case was over. He would not be personally involved in the actual crucifixion of Jesus. That would be left to the hands of one of the centurions. Many soldiers would be deployed to control the crowds as they make their way to the crucifixion grounds.
FULFILLED TO THE LETTER
Jesus had forewarned His disciples that He would “suffer many things” under the hands of the chief priests (Matthew 16:21). He also spoke about how they would “deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify” (Matthew 20:19). Everything had happened as Jesus had said.
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into
the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.
When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head,
and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him
and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’
Then they spat on Him, and took
the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked
Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him,
and led Him away to be crucified.”