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On Thursday morning of Passion week Jesus was quickly tried before the Sanhedrin and condemned to death.  Although the charges against Him included many false accusations, the main charge was that He claimed to be the Christ, the King of the Jews, which they saw as their best hope for having the Romans put Him to death as a threat to their rule.  He was then led to Pilate who, after hearing the case, immediately discerned that He was not guilty and that it was from envy that they had delivered Jesus up to him.  But wishing to appease the Jews, rather than release Him, he sent Him to Herod, who also concluded Jesus was no threat to his kingdom or the Roman empire and sent Him back to Pilate, who then found himself between the rock of doing what was right and the hard place of doing what was politically expedient.  During which of the two trials before Pilate would the events described in Mat 27:12-14 have occurred, and during which would the events starting in Mat 27:15 have occurred?  See Joh 18:28-32 and note that the former must have occurred during His first trial when they were all together outside the Praetorium, into which the Jews would not enter lest they be defiled and be unable to eat the Passover.  See also Joh 18:33-40 and note that it would also have been after Jesus had returned from Herod that Pilate summoned Jesus into the Praetorium to question Him further, after which he sought to release Him in accordance to what had become a custom at the Passover, and for which they asked for Barabbas instead; see Luk 23:15-18 and note that Luke also indicates that this was during His second trial before Pilate.

What do all four gospel accounts record as the most noteworthy aspect of Jesus’ defense of Himself first before His Jewish accusers, and then before Pilate and Herod?  See Mat 26:62-63, 27:12-14, Mar 15:3-5, Luk 23:9, Joh 19:9.  What was the prophetic significance of Jesus’ silence as He stood before these worldly courts?  See Isa 53:7; cf. Act 8:32.  For what purpose did Jesus remain silent in such circumstances?  See Psa 38:12-15, 39:1,7, Mat 7:6, 1Pe 2:23.  What does Jesus’ example teach us should also be our response when falsely accused?  Cf. Act 6:13-15.  Although we remain silent before our accusers as did Jesus, in faith who do we know will answer for us?  Cf. Psa 109:26-31, Dan 3:16-18, Zec 3:1-2.  What does this again remind us about the higher court in heaven where God Himself intervenes on behalf of those who are falsely accused, but in like manner through faith put their hope in Him?  Cf. Job 42:7-9.  Are we to understand that Jesus answered nothing at all during His trials?  See Mat 26:64, Luk 23:3, Joh 18:33-37, 19:11.  As it is clear from the same accounts that Jesus was not entirely mute but did in fact say some things, what are we to understand that He was silent about, and what was the nature of the things He did say?  While Jesus remained silent about their false accusations and did not speak in defense of Himself or rail against His enemies, did He miss an opportunity to speak words of truth?  See Mat 24:35, Joh 12:47-48.

What does Matthew say was Pilate’s reaction when Jesus did not respond to even a single one of the charges that the Jewish leaders were vehemently pressing against Him?  See Mat 27:14.  Why would he have been so amazed?  Think: was that normal human nature, especially in such life and death circumstances that he would have observed hundreds or even thousands of times before as a Roman procurator?  Note too that in addition to meaning amazed or astonished the Greek word θαυμάζω that is used also carries the connotation of wonder in the sense of a question about how or why; cf. Mar 15:44, Luk 1:21, 2:18, Rev 17:6-8.  Hence the idea is that Jesus’ refusal to respond to the false charges against Him caused the governor to wonder greatly: clearly this was no ordinary man.  And although he could but see as through a glass darkly, still as a judge himself he couldn’t help but sense that something was topsy-turvy as the man who was being so harshly accused before him bore none of the signs of a criminal, and though unbeknownst to him, was in fact the incarnation of God Himself who would come to judge the world in righteousness (Act 17:31); cf. Mat 3:14.  No wonder then that he sought to extricate himself from the situation by sending Him to Herod!

But, unfortunately for Pilate, Herod sent Him back.  What conversation does John record that Pilate then had with Jesus?  See Joh 18:33-40.  What do Pilate’s questions indicate about his wonderment about who Jesus was and what He had done?  And how does the way Jesus answered him contrast with the way He answered the Jewish leaders?  What then do both Pilate’s questions, and Jesus’ answers, indicate about the greater righteousness demonstrated by the gentile Pilate than by the Jewish leaders, in spite of them being stewards of the righteous and holy law of God?  Cf. Joh 19:11, Rom 2:14-15.  Shall we then imagine that it is through the works of the law that one is saved from his sin?  Cf. Rom 3:20,27-28, Gal 2:16, 3:2,5.

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