“Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.” 3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” 5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.” 6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.” Luke 23.1-7
It’s pretty incredible that Jesus did not either free himself from this arrest or stand up for himself during the trial. He who raised the dead, who verbally defeated even the greatest jewish scholars, who gave sight to the blind man did not lift one finger to help himself. He had resigned himself to the will of the Father. It was his destiny to die for the sins of the world.
One moment the crowds were showering Jesus with palm branches, and the next, they were accusing him saying, ”We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.” And so Pilate asked Jesus, ”Are you the king of the Jews?” And Jesus’ response is certainly in the affirmative, but it’s not definitive — “You have said so.” I wish he had answered, “Absolutely!” or ”You better believe it!” But Jesus is subtle in his responses and careful in his confession.
At this point Pilate finds no reasonable charge against Jesus, but the Jews insisted even more. When Pilate finds out that Jesus is a Galilean, who came all the way from Galilee, he sent him to Herod, being under his jurisdiction. But it also seemed that Pilate wanted nothing to do with Jesus and sending him to Herod was an easy way to get him off his hands.
And through it all, Jesus offers no defense. He had already shown that he could walk through an angry crowd wanting to stone him (see John 10.39). He already left the people speechless, afraid to ask more questions (see Luke 20.40). He who had been in control of his destiny was now submitting to the will of the men and women around him. And they could not see that what he did was for their good, their hope, their salvation.
The story continues and as we know, it results in the resurrection, the overcoming of sin and death, the gift of eternal life. But until then, we see a suffering servant, tried by humans for sins he did not commit. We see the agony of the innocent, the maligning of the Messiah. We see Jesus fulfilling Isaiah 53.7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
He did not open his mouth.
”O Lord God, how you submitted to death, I will never know. How you stood there and took the wrongs accused against you is beyond me. The irony of the very sin for which you died was putting you to death. Forgive us, Lord. Redeem us, Jesus. Find us humble on our knees before your throne that we might know the power of the cross and the hope of the resurrection. I praise you Lord for saving me. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your Spirit, draw all people to yourself. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen