The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 3
Israel’s Passover lamb must be without defect; therefore Moses instructs the Israelites to choose a lamb and inspect it for four days prior to the Passover, “On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb . . . . Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year . . . . Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight” (Ex. 12:3, 5-6).
The Jews, wanting to avoid ceremonial uncleanness, will not enter Pilate’s palace to charge Jesus with trumped-up crimes. They remain outside, and Pilate comes to them outside to hear their charges. They want to be able to eat the Passover (Jn. 18:28)—to follow the ritual—yet totally miss the meaning of the feast.
The chief priests, Pharisees, and the crowd trump up three charges against Jesus (Lk. 23:2). They accuse Him of:
- Political subversion – “We found this fellow perverting the nation.” Jesus has come to free man from sin’s governance, not free the Jews from Roman governance.
- Tax evasion – “. . . forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar.” Jesus paid not only his taxes, but Peter’s as well.
- Making false claims – “. . . saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” Jesus never makes a claim that contradicts Old Testament prophecy. In fact, He fulfills those prophecies to the tiniest detail. He doesn’t make a claim, but lives a life that benefits all who come to Him in faith.
Pilate recognizes the trumped-up charges for what they are. He dismisses the case as meritless: “So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no fault in this man’” (Lk. 23:4). Jesus is the Passover Lamb without defect.
Even the one who betrayed Jesus recognized Him as being without fault or defect: “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’” (Mt. 27:3-4, emphasis added). Without defect. The Innocent One, the Passover Lamb who must die as a substitute for guilty man.
The interaction between Pilate, Judas, and the chief priests and elders reveals a number of truths:
- Religious people happily substitute ritual and rule-keeping for relationship.
- The trial reveals that those accusing Christ of making fraudulent claims are themselves religious frauds.
- Three years of testing by the chief priests and Pharisees reveal a Man without defect. Judas confesses Jesus’ innocence, along with Pilate.
- Jesus had to be tested and inspected, just as the Passover Lamb had to pass inspection. And He had to die—the Innocent on behalf of guilty sinners.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mk. 15:2-20; Mt. 27:11-31; Lk. 22:63-65; 23:1-25; Jn. 18:28-40; 19:1-16):
Describe Jesus’ treatment by His own people. What does this reveal about spiritual blindness? About religious people who’ve not experienced forgiveness of sin and the new birth?