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The Roman Trial

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
May 11, 2021 8:00 am

The Roman Trial

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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May 11, 2021 8:00 am

Pilate wasn't a follower of Jesus. He wished only to remain neutral, and innocent of Christ's blood. But he couldn't remain neutral... and neither should we. Coming up on the Bible Study Hour, Dr. James Montgomery Boice will explain Pilate's unfortunate failure in the courtroom, where he was far from neutral and farther from innocent. In a moment of great conflict and crisis, Pilate condemned the Son of God to death. Today, Jesus stands before each of us every bit as much as he stood before Pilate long ago. Is He the King of Kings, or isn't He?

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Pilate wasn't a follower of Jesus, he wished only to remain neutral and innocent of Christ's blood but he couldn't remain neutral and neither can we. Coming up on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will explain Pilate's unfortunate failure in the courtroom where he was far from neutral, and even farther from innocent and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in a moment of great conflict and crisis.

Pilate condemned the son of God to death today.

Jesus stands before each of us every bit as much. As he stood before Pilate long ago you see the King of Kings or isn't he. Let's listen as Dr. Boyce teaches from Matthew 27, a few weeks ago he began to study the trials of Jesus Christ, shall I say trials plural because that's actually what was going on. There were two main trials one before the Jewish court, which is what we looked at before and then a second one before the Roman court and complicated just a bit. Each of those trials had several parts three exactly the trial before the Jewish court consisted first of all, of a preliminary hearing before Annis was a hereditary high priest of man, a more formal serious lengthy hearing before Caiaphas was the acting high priest. That's when the charges were formally raised and then finally there was an official trial before they fully assembled Sanhedrin in the early hours of that morning.

Sanhedrin ratified what happened the night before and that trial was on the basis of what the Jews understood to be blasphemy. Jesus was taking the place of God, second trial before the Roman court also had three parts that was incidental they had brought him to Pilate, expecting a quick decision.

Pilate tried to delay, excuse himself the last days is off to Herod briefly, but Herod saw through the ruse and send them back and so the final decisive part of the trial. The third part took place in pilots judgment hall.

Now it's that that Matthew especially records in order to get the whole picture.

You have to put all of the Gospels together, each one tell us various parts of lease other points out on the fact that Jesus was tried before the Jewish card meant that he was tried before the ecclesiastical body that was to represent the laws of God and the fact that he was tried before the Roman court meant that he was tried before a court, representing that highest and most developed body of judicial procedures of the world known under that time, and perhaps as a model even for our own day were known for their elaborate and fair court procedures a comprehensive way had their statutes systematized very well. They specified procedures and fixed it penalties it was said of the ancient world that Judea gave us religion gave us letters in Rome gave us wall you would think from the very nature of the case that they Roman trial would be the easiest to understand.

Actually, the opposite is the case is easy to understand what was going on before the Sanhedrin, the leaders hated Jesus because he was holy and they were not because his very holiness expose their sin, and so they wanted to get rid of them at all costs, even at that point of bending or breaking their own laws but that wasn't the case with pilot pilot didn't have any reason to hate Jesus Pilate as a matter of fact, conducted the first part of the trial, at least according to the highest and most noteworthy standards with full integrity.

Yet in the end he ended up condemning the son of God and delivering them over to death.

One of the great puzzles of the trial is what we know of Pilate's character and the contrast between matter and what he actually does.

Pilate was not a noble character.

He had come from Spain where he served under Germanic tests in the wars on the Rhine and he had raised was relatively minor post is the procurator of Judea because of his marriage married Lottie Pro, who was the granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus.

That would've been a wise career move. And certainly that's what he was thinking of when he worked on marriage but it was a moral disgrace because Claudia's mother Juliet was notorious or immorality, gross immorality, even in decadent Rome and the daughter was like Augustus said one occasion when he was asked about his family would that I were wife, lessor had childless died. So the fact that pilots had come to this position was no credit. Moreover, when he got to Judea and began to assume his duties he acted in a very sensitive way. Roman rulers generally were sensitive to the feelings of the conquered people, especially their religious feelings and others are treated the Jews with great respect, but not Pilate. First thing Pilate did when he arrived in Judea was to send his troops by night into the holy city, bearing the standards of the Emperor which had the Emperor's image on them and were worshiped by the soldiers and were therefore considered by the Jews as a case of idolatry. It was a huge moral offense might say will pilot was new. We did know what he was doing with the fact that he did it by night shows that he knew exactly what he was doing and the fact that he did it all shows how coarse and insensitive. He was in something like that. Later, he took money from the sacred Corbin treasury where money was laid up for the care of the elderly, particularly parents and he spent to build an aqueduct that carried water about 50 miles into the city of Jerusalem of the aqueduct. Of course, by itself, was good with the fact that he rated the sacred treasure he produced an uproar.

There was a near riot. The people came to protest and Pilate handled it by sending his soldiers into the crowds disguised with clubs and daggers, and then at a prearranged signal they brought out the clubs and daggers, they fell upon the people and scattered them.

That's the way he seems to have operated then we know something else mentioned by Luke, we don't have any other details from secular sources. Luke says it was one occasion in which he mixed the blood of certain Galileans with their sacrifice, 13 verse one. Presumably there was an occasion where Galileans were making sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem, and suddenly soldiers fall upon them and killed them. For some reason my will pilot was not a noble, upright, or moral man. And yet here's a fascinating thing as far as the trial of Jesus was concerned, at least in his opening stages. No one could've conducted the trial with greater attention or greater integrity pilot seems will understood what was going on he understood that Jesus was innocent recognize that the leaders were after him merely because of their MV and so we did everything he could think of to get Jesus acquitted or discharged, I suggested an earlier study.

When we were first beginning to look at this, that he had probably been contacted the previous night by a member of the Sanhedrin and would expect that it was Caiaphas important man, it would've had access to the Roman governor. He must've agreed night before that he would hear this case. In the morning and probably agreed on a quick pro forma trial reason I say that is because when the leaders arrived the next day. They seem to of been surprised that Pilate actually wanted to open it in a formal manner. He began by saying what charge are you bringing against this prisoner will he hadn't expected that they didn't have a real charge.

Together, they were somewhat confused. What we are told in one place. As they began to think of everything they could look 23 two says they said well we found this man subverting our nation and he opposes payment of taxes to Caesar, and he claims to be Christ the King. They were throwing out every accusation that would come to mind, hoping that something would stick the first two of those things were of no importance at all.

Pilate knew that the glass was serious, Jesus claims to be Christ that is the Messiah King and that's why Matthew begins where he does because Matthew doesn't give us any of this preliminary work. John's account is far more complete.

Matthews is somewhat truncated, but he does begin at this point. As a matter fact you find in each of the Gospels pilot demands of Jesus are you then the king leaders that said this man claims to be a king. Pilate asked if it were true. Jesus response was yes he was indeed a king, though it wasn't the kind of getting the pilot was thinking of. And Pilate knew from the very start that this was a religious matter had nothing to do with politics or any real threat. Caesar.

So we tried to get Jesus off.

Now the question is why, if he really wasn't very noble character. Why did he try so hard to get Jesus excuse why did he create problems for himself.

Why didn't he just say I don't care about this by all. What I haven't killed. Of course, I'll do it.

What we find is that he tried no less than four stratagems to try and get them off well. One explanation would be that he was impressed with Jesus and probably that's true was Amanda stood there with regal bearing and who didn't feel it was necessary even to defend himself was astonished that he did make an attempt to excuse what are presented as his crimes and certainly showed no fear.

Matthew reports. Look at verses 13 and 14, Pilate asked him, don't you hear the testimony they're bringing against you but Jesus made no reply not even to a single charge of the great amazement of the governor was probably one reason but I think there might've been another even though Matthew was the only one to record it so warning a pilot's wife, who sent him a message while he was seated on the judgment seat that is at the very beginning of the trial there in verse 19 she said don't have anything to do with that innocent man. I've suffered a great deal to day in a dream because of them. All the writers on the trial and crucifixion.

I think the one that deals in the most helpful way with this particular point is Frank Morrison. He wrote a book called who moved the stone. It's a little book well worth studying. But he reflects a lot of lust must've been going on here. He reminds us first of all, that the ancients were superstitious about dream or so. Even the people living in our's psychotherapy age. They thought that somehow they got intimations of the future in dreams and if they got a dream that seemed to be a warning that was taken is a very serious poor attempt he says furthermore that supposed violent and his wife were dining together the night before one word came that Caiaphas wanted to see pilot Caiaphas was presenting the issue of the moment. I wanted Pilate to hold this trial in the morning when he returned to the dinner table.

He would probably have said to his wife well and of the high priest wants me to do a quick trial of the morning I'm in a do it was that about, she would've been curious over it's some religious figure going around teaching a rabbi's name is Jesus and Morrison suggest that that would have been in his wife's mind that night as she went. And probably it would've been the occasion for dream. Maybe she heard something about this. Jason any rate early in the morning when she woke up and Pilate was gone.

She knew exactly where he and Donnie gone to conduct the trial so she sent this quick message don't have anything to do with it. Just man, I am very many things this night because of their violent heard that presumably he took it seriously and it may well of been the factor that led him to seek the release of Jesus at the beginning what Morrison says a pro, it was she who stiffened the Roman instinct for justice and Pilate at a moment when he was tempted for personal considerations to humor the prejudices of the Jewish leaders and commit Jesus on their recommendation alone. While this stimulus lasted his handling of this difficult and perplexing case was well-nigh perfect was only as the stimulus faded against the grinding and growing opposition of the Jewish party that the threat of Caesar's intervention became paramount in the end it is he intended to begin by delivering the person or their hands. As I set up to this point. His handling of the trial was commendable. Matthews account is short when we look at it, we find that Pilate did everything that would've been expected of a Roman governor conducting a serious trial.

First of all, there was always the charge that had to be carefully formulated. Secondly, there was the evidence that would be presented by the prosecutor's third there was the defense always had to be a defense. And finally there was a verdict.

So that's what pilot did the asked for the charge. He heard it he asked them to present the evidence knew what was going on when he got to the end, he pronounced the verdict and the verdict was not guilty of Volvo. Instead of doing what he should've gotten at that point that is released, the Lord Jesus Christ immediately or if he feared that he might be harmed by the leaders of the mob, put them in protective custody, which later governor did do with the apostle Paul, under similar circumstances. Instead of doing that, he launched into a pattern of area regular proceedings that eventually led to Jesus. Execution I mentioned earlier that he tried for expedience. Here they are. First of all, he tried to send them to Herod, when he learned that Jesus was from Galilee. Galilee was under Herod's jurisdiction, he thought maybe I can get off the hook. That way, but of course Herod saw through it and sent them back. Secondly, offered to punish Jesus without an execution records that 2316 and 22. Thirdly, he asked the people to choose either Jesus or Barabbas as one to be released of the Passover and finally the last thing he did was have Jesus beaten anyway. Even though he was innocent and then bring them out as a beaten blooding individual to store the people spitting out of every case he failed the only one of those schemes that I mentioned that is recorded all of the Gospels as this matter, Barabbas, and that's the one that you find here in Matthew.

That's not an accident of course because Barabbas was not just a common criminal was was what we would call an insurrectionist set one who was trying to overthrow the government have been perhaps even setting himself forth as a kind of Messiah. He would've been in the functional way with Judas Maccabeus became. Later, when Judith Maccabeus succeeded in a time for setting up a free Jewish government. All of that is a way of saying that Barabbas would've been a hero to the people they would've known exactly who he was.

He was a celebrity was the kind of King they could understand. So when the choice was put before them. The one Jesus is a religious teacher is talking about righteousness and salvation are the one Barabbas wants to get rid of the Romans and set up a political power well they did with the world always does the shows Barabbas as a powerful lesson.

Sinners will always prefer a manageable earthly ruler, however corrupt or self-seeking, he may be, however violent or even evil to Jesus Christ because you can work with even a very evil ruler, but you can work with Jesus. Jesus demands to take control of your life. That's the one thing that people don't want. They would rather have anything but that.

Pilate was trapped.

He had miscalculated. He thought if he offered Barabbas obvious troublemaker or Jesus.

Everybody would take Jesus, but instead of course they chose Barabbas. Yet even want to be defeated so we was stubborn. He was hanging in there. He didn't give up.

He said while NFA knew that what in the world can I do with Jesus is called the Christ.

I replied, I suppose, somewhat to his astonishment crucified him, and he said, but crime is a committed and present anything worthy of death he understood very well that Jesus didn't merit punishments. I have no answer wasn't any answer all they could do is insist on his crucifixion again. So the mob cried back Prince of I am crucified him. Matthew indicates in verse 24 in an uproar was started on the leaders were storing up. Of course it was part of their plan but it was significant because it was the one thing the pilot had to avoid at all costs. He could not allow things to get out of hand because his chief responsibility was to maintain order. Moreover, the rulers apparently were doing something else at the same time though Matthew doesn't mention that you find in John badgering pilot with the threat of the lets this man go. They were going to tell Caesar what was going on. The pilot is sympathetic to people who claim to be revolutionaries and want to overthrow the government. So in the end pilots who perhaps respected Jesus certainly understood that he was innocent and did indeed appear the people and their leaders were very shrewd man in the and feared Caesar more than all so we gave in against what he knew to be right in his judgment and his own responsibility he gave them up to be crucified.

He called for water washed his hands before the crowd and these were his words by which he is remembered, I am innocent of this man's blood. It's your responsibility. How ironic was how strange innocence is precisely what pilot was not those words are remembered of pilot all down through the centuries. Everybody knows that he failed in this greatest moment in trial of his career. He tried to wash away the guilt from his hands, but he couldn't wash away his guilt anymore.

Lord and Lady Macbeth can wash it away and do away with their crime of murdering Duncan was another irony to pilot told the Jews.

It's your responsibility.

He was saying to them precisely what they had said to Judas earlier what they had said to Judas Judas recognize what he had done it was filled with remorse came back to the temple. He threw the coins back. He wanted them to receive it and they didn't care what he was doing at all. What is that to us. They said that your responsibility to the same chapter verse 4.0 courses that they had not escaped their responsibility by passing it off on Judas and neither could pilot escape this responsibility by passing it off on them.

They were all guilty, so are we. We are guilty of our sin, and the greatest of all our sins and starting our back on God or rejecting Jesus Christ. We can blame it on other people, we can say all the only reason I'm that way is because of the way I was raised. I didn't have the advantages of somebody else, or is my genetic structure.

But none of that will do none of that holds water before the judgment bar of Almighty God. Even though we can wash away the guilt of our sin by any act of our own, or by any ceremonial washings.

There is one thing that can wash away that is Christ's bloodshed on the cross for his people. We have been in one of our hymns.

We asked the question what can wash away my sin and the answer comes back.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

All of this has to do with this kingdom motif that we've seen from the very beginning of Matthew's gospel. The issue with the trial. Is this is Jesus the King.

The question posed to the people.

Was this what you have Barabbas looking for Jesus the King chose Barabbas comes up again here at the end what were told in the last section here in Matthew is that Jesus was given over to the soldiers to be flogged before the crucifixion as they did that they mocked him, putting a crown of thorns on his head and the staff in his hand falling before him in box homage.

They said, hail, King of the Jews.

Then they spit on them and they struck him again. It was human nature in its most inhumane form, but even so we could put it like this. There is was an innocent brutality that was characteristic of soldiers and it was less heinous than what pilot than the Jewish leaders had done, you know, at that moment of this sadistic beating no one on earth look less like a pigmentation is flesh had been stripped and the ribbons by the scourging from which many prisoners died, blood would have been running down his head and face from the wounds that were inflicted by the forms spit the been clinging to his face. He looked like anything but a king.

No ruler seated upon any earthly throne at the pinnacle of worldly power was ever more entitled to be called the Kingman Jesus was only is he a king, Jesus is the King of Kings. Not only is he a Lord is the Lord of lords of the day rules the universe in one day is going to return again in judgment.

He told Caiaphas that in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.

Jesus like King was the one who is presented to you also today one can be neutral about Jesus Christ. Because Jesus claims to be the only ultimate king, whether we acknowledge or refuse them. Whatever we do brings us back to pilot pilot wasn't a follower of Jesus really wanted to be neutral to be innocent of his death, but he couldn't be failed miserably in the end he took a stand against Jesus, which is exactly what you will do unless you decide for him now think of that morning so long ago when pilot woke up that morning, he didn't expect to be confronted by the most critical decision of his career.

All he expected to do is to go through a pro forma trial and satisfy the Jewish authorities he would humor them if that's what they wanted.

That's what he would do the was no reason to provoke them, but suddenly there was Jesus Christ the King of Kings, the very son of God in his presence.

When asked the question, are you looking Jesus replied, it is as you say IM and the issue of the moment was this is the king or is he not busy thinking of getting is the son of God or is he not what was pilot going to do. How would be what he did.

He acted on the basis of his own self interest in the great crisis.

He condemned the son of God to death what I say now is don't let that happen to you.

Jesus is before you every bit as much as he was before pilot in physical form and that day in a certain sense, he's even more before you because it's proclaimed even more seriously and completely. Who is you ask. Are you looking you hear his answer yes I am.

I am the King of Kings. I am your Lord. Question is, is Jesus right Jeff to place it sale, put it off, you're not really facing it to rejecting it.

Your turning away. Jesus is the king you have to say yes Jesus I acknowledge that you are the king, I bow before you. I accept you as my Savior and my Lord, if you won't do that you won't bow before him.

You will bow before it one day, but will be in terror. The final judgment for the rebound before you now confess there's nothing in us that would cause us to seek you out but you have sought us to seek us by the sweet compulsive drawing of your spirit and through your voices we hear it in your words you've done that in this hour deal with us as we need to be dealt with grants that any who have not committed themselves to Christ by do so in this hour, recognizing the seriousness of the moment that the issue was one of eternal life or eternal death upon those who do know you made or be a new sense of wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ went through for our salvation and a new awakening of love that we might serve him faithfully to our likes and pray in Jesus name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James voice listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.

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