Reading: John 18:19-24; 28-40
Most days in the news we hear about one or more high profile trials taking place in our region or somewhere in the country. Sometimes we have an opinion about the trial based on information we’ve read or heard in the media. If we are pushed to give our own personal verdict, we may say, “The person is guilty, it’s obvious!” On the other hand we may suspect a set up and wonder when the truth will be revealed.
That’s what happens in John’s account of the trial. Jesus was set up for this trial, but John reveals the truth. These proceedings were a mere formality. The decision of the Jewish ruling authorities had been stated several chapters before in John – “So from that day on they plotted to take his life.” (11:53)
When the former high priest, Annas, questioned Jesus, there were no witnesses who could agree on the accusations, but Jesus declared to Annas (and we see throughout the book of John as his teachings are described) that he spoke the truth when he taught openly in the temple courts, synagogues and throughout the region of Galilee. Jesus was who he said he was.
The Jewish religious authorities wanted Jesus to be executed or they never would have handed him over to the Roman government. This, too, proves Jesus was who he said he was. He predicted earlier “…the kind of death he was going to die…” (19:32)
If the trial were not part of God’s greater purpose, the followers of Jesus might have declared a mistrial. But Jesus knew that although he was and is the king of this world, his kingdom was not from this world (18:36), so Pilate had no authority over him that had not been given to him by God (19:11). John reveals for us what Pilate could not see – that only those called by God know the truth (18:37)
Jesus was set up for this unjust trial, but John reveals the truth. The purpose of the trial is to show to those who will believe the truth that Jesus was who he said he was. Throughout his book, including his account of the trial, John shows us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31).
Written by Rhonda Gibson