Recap. A handful of Jewish officers, under the authority and behest of the high priest and his father in law, in the middle of the night, roused the Roman troops of hundreds, to arrest the man, who days earlier, had been welcomed by massive crowds of Jews who have traveled to Jerusalem from all over the country and beyond to celebrate Passover. They had called him their king and held a spontaneous parade and now, in the early morning hours of the Passover day, they stand in the yard outside the governors office wanting the governor to come out to them to talk because they hold to a rule that says they can’t eat Passover dinner if they defile themselves, which entering his place would do.
Right. Let’s be on the Govenor’s good side. Let’s make his life easier. Yet they may think they are doing such a thing. They may see their actions as preventing an uprising, which both groups would be keen on.
Pilate has to leave his office, his place of work, to go outside to conduct the interview with the arrested man. First he demands to know the accusation. I suspect he is not excited and happy to be outside just now, it’s very cold, remember? He gets a rather vague answer from the accusing authorities. In fact, it’s rather an odd answer to the very direct question. What accusation do you bring against this man? Pretty straightforward, what did he do? Now if your child were to answer your direct question with a defensive remark like this one, I think little red warning flags would be going off in your head. If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered him up to you. Translate to “if little Johny had not been a bad boy, we wouldn’t be here to tell you.” Really? All that was asked was what did he do, and this is your answer? What did he do!
Pilate is the Roman judge. He judges when Roman laws are broken. Local laws, like our state laws, are judged at the local, not the federal level. Pilate hears that no Roman law has been broken by this non-accusation accusation. The vague charge receives a vague reply. He tries to send them home. But then they declare they are after a death penalty, which can only be given out under Roman authority, not local. Sigh. It’s instantly clear what they are after (and it is for prophecy that it is logically so.) Pilate must continue to investigate now.
Watch out for vague accusations that seem harmless at first, for behind them might lurk dangerous plans. Evil is rarely direct. Plans for destruction and death are often wrapped in vagueness, falsehood and deceit.
Lord, keep me alert and prepared for the trickery and deceit of evil. Make me wise in my response to vague accusation and alert to potential dangers.