The court of public opinion can be cutting, ruthless, easily swayed. In the age of social media, we often see people jump to quick and harmful conclusions. In Luke 22 and 23, with Jesus’ arrest, trial, and sentencing, we see how quickly people at every level turned against Jesus.
When Jesus submitted to His arrest, one of His followers lashed out with a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (22:50). Jesus said. “No more of this!” (v. 51). Then, when Jesus was taken to the high priest, Peter denied Him three times (22:54–65). Only days before, some had hailed Jesus as king, but now they condemned Him. When the first trial was held before the Sanhedrin (22:66 71), the chief priests bated Jesus: “If you are the Messiah...tell us” (v. 67). They wanted evidence of political insurrection to give to the Roman authorities.
The chief priests and religious leaders took Jesus to Pilate and made their case, no doubt frustrated when Pilate proclaimed Him innocent (23:1–5). Because Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate handed him off to Herod. The ruler was at first delighted to meet Jesus hoping to see a miracle, but his interaction with Jesus left him unimpressed. Mocking Jesus, they sent Him back to Pilate.
Luke 23:13–25 records the third trial. Pilate held an open court before the chief priests and the people. Both rulers came to the same conclusion: “He has done nothing to deserve death” (v. 15). But the crowd’s voice grew even louder. They begged for Barabbas. Pilate tried twice more to reason with them, but the people continued to shout—louder and louder. Finally, they prevailed. Pilate caved in to political pressure and “surrendered Jesus to their will” (v. 25). Jesus would be crucified.
>> Today, reflect on your own commitment to Christ. We live in a time when the majority voice is loud and strong. Our resolve to follow Jesus may sometimes falter, but when we remain in Him we are strong (2 Cor. 12:9–11).
Your grace is sufficient for us, Your power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Teach us to find our strength in You. By Your grace, help us persevere in faith through all the pain and trials of life.