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The last time we talked, Peter was busy denying Jesus. Today we read from John 18:28-32. We find God is in the details.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
You know… this first part of vs 28 I know well. I know they took him from Caiaphas’ house and brought him over to Pilate. It was first thing in the morning. What I didn’t know is this: They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. I KNOW I’ve read this before but I don’t remember it.
I do know from a recent read called Jerusalem’s Queen (review coming later), that the Pharisees were very law-oriented. To celebrate Passover you needed to be ritually clean. Gentiles were considered unclean so to enter the home of one would make you unclean, and ergo you wouldn’t be able to celebrate Passover. To understand more about how all this works I found this helpful resource.
Pilate Came Out
Since the Jewish leaders couldn’t go into the house, Pilate came out, asking them “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
Their response struck me odd. They didn’t answer him. In essence, they responded, “he’s a bad guy, so we brought him to you.”
Is it any wonder that Pilates’ response was “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” He must have wondered why the Jews were bothering him about a “bad man”.
I wonder if he was surprised when the Jews responded that they legally couldn’t kill anyone. “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”
Then we get this line: This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. I read that line and two things happen. First I get chills at the simplicity of that statement. Jesus is going to die. Not an easy death. A Roman Death. Death on a cross. That’s how the Romans killed people.
And second, my wonder at how God carefully orchestrated everything. He made all the pieces fit together perfectly… even to the words people spoke. From Caiaphas saying better for one to die, to the Jewish leaders here, and all the other pieces that God put together. Isn’t it amazing? God’s love covered all the details.
So what take-away do I have today? The Jews were mindful of staying pure for the Passover. It was so important to them. Avoiding sin.
God carefully orchestrated everything that happened. Do you see how he cared for his son and everything that would happen to him? He knew what would happen, for he planned it all out.
I look at that and I have to think… this love. It is this love that calls for our obedience. Our love that responds to this love. This careful minding by God, who plans out all the details, he deserves my loving obedience. Nothing less. Oh… I find myself called to order when I see his love. Don’t you? Doesn’t his love simply blow you away? Making you want to serve and love him completely?
Let’s be like the Pharisees then… avoiding sin like the plaque…but doing it for the right reasons with the right attitudes. Loving obedience to God who loves us so much that he is aware of the very words we need to speak. Glory be to him.