Pilate commits injustice
Even though Jesus has been declared without fault, Pilate still commands that He be beaten. Jesus is mocked, beaten, and tortured after being declared innocent! Pilate then offers Jesus to the Jews for them to kill Him. The amount of injustice Pilate commits is staggering.
Jesus is declared King and Son of God
Even in Jesus’ mocking and beatings one thing is never in question, His true identity. No Jew or Roman ever truly questions whether Jesus is King of the Jews. What is even more remarkable is that there is no denial of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God either. Pilate’s wife tells him that God has given her a dream instructing them to leave Jesus alone, yet Pilate still hands Jesus over to be crucified. The sin of the Jews and Pilate was not a sin of ignorance; they knew full well Who they were killing.
The greater sin
When Pilate declares his authority to crucify Jesus, Jesus’ response is amazing. He corrects Pilate and tells him that he does not have this authority. God has not given to human beings the power of life and death or guilt and innocence. The civil government only has the authority to carry out God’s Law. This is what Jesus means about the ones who delivered Him to Pilate having the greater sin. Of all people, the Jews should be demanding that God’s Law be followed. Instead of following God’s Law, they have resorted to human government to carry out their desires. This abandoning of God’s Law and the justice it teaches and substituting human government, ideas, and power in its place is a grave sin.
The Jews allegiance to Caesar
The conclusion of this passage is dumbfounding if you do not understand the deceptive nature of sin. Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Because He would not use His power to overthrow the Romans. What was the solution of the Jews? Swear allegiance to Caesar. Sin will lead you farther than you ever imagined and will lead you to do things you swore you would never do. To sin even in the slightest degree is to make yourself the enemy of God and give your allegiance to the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Jews’ sin of jealousy eventually leads to hatred, murder, and an alliance with the very government they hated.
Evangelicals are becoming like the Jews
We are in grave danger of becoming like the Jews. We can be so desperate for earthly security that we leave God’s Word and swear our allegiance to Caesar (human government, political parties, politicians, etc.) The desire for earthly security can lead us to endorsing and covering up the worst sins imaginable. We are in danger of giving to Caesar what belongs to God. The only hope for our country is Jesus Christ and His Word. To leave the Word of God for political power is the “greater sin” that Jesus warned Pilate about. All power belongs to Jesus, not human governments.
We must turn to Jesus from even the slightest sin
What begins as a “small sin” of jealousy eventually leads to a public allegiance with the enemy. The small coveting of power eventually leads to murder. We must stand on guard against the slightest sin. We cannot allow sin a moment to breathe. If sin is given a moment to breathe it will grow into more and more sin. As John Owen said, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
Is your hope in the power of Christ or the perceived power of government, human laws, and politics? What sin are you allowing to live in your life? Will you crucify that sin and turn to Jesus for the power to overcome?