“And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put Him to death.” (Matthew 27:1)
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The Jewish people yearned for the coming of the Messiah. However, when He did come, they persecuted Him. He performed miracles and the people applauded. But the priestly class, which was the highest political class, was afraid: “Who is this Man that has won the people’s enthusiastic favor? What will happen to our power? He is a danger to us!”
In a method often used today, the persecution began with calumnies and twisted questions designed to trap, questions contrived in the laboratory of insincerity.
The first and greatest of all revolutions broke out during Holy Week. A revolution is, by definition, a revolt of those who should love and obey but, instead, choose to rebel against legitimate authority. Our Lord possessed every possible degree of power and authority over the human race. The mission of the Jews was to acknowledge Him as the God-Man and submit to His sweet rule. They did the opposite. They neither acknowledged Him, nor admired or submitted to Him. And this disposition of soul was due to bad will and envy. They did not want His Law because they were corrupt and Our Lord taught austerity. They revolted and killed Him. The revolution of Holy Week was the greatest of revolutions because rebellion against such high authority cannot happen again.
May the thought of our scorned Redeemer fill us with adoration and compassion for Him, as well as indignation against the revolution that led to His crucifixion.
“And they brought Him bound, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” (Matthew 27:2)
Pilate was a governor without a backbone. Although he knew the multitude would not resist the Roman soldiers, and therefore could count on an easy, brilliant victory, he absolutely did not want to use force to do what was right and just.
Instead, Pilate entered into dialogue with the mob and proposed, “Whom do you want me to release: Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17)
Barabbas was a notorious head of a seditious band of rogues. He was the worst possible criminal, filled with dishonor and evil. Jesus was the utmost symbol of dignity and represented the best in the Jewish people. He was a descendant of David, the most eminent figure of the Old Testament. He had done only good to everyone.
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Centrist that he was, Pilate thought that the Jews would never prefer Barabbas to Jesus. He did not understand that when men do not follow Jesus, they necessarily choose Barabbas. Pontius Pilate only condemned Him because of the political maneuvering of the priests. They told him, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.” (John 19:12) It would have been easy for Pilate to defend himself against this accusation. However, faced with the possibility of losing his office as governor of Judea, Pilate cowardly had Jesus killed.
As a result of his vile ambition, Pontius Pilate committed the greatest injustice of history.