Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. (Luke 23:20)
The trial of Jesus was a travesty of Jewish and Roman law. Multiple laws of the Jewish canon were ignored and rejected as the scribes, elders, and High Priest brought charges against Jesus to condemn Him to death without any evidence of wrongdoing. Pilate was faced with the legal presumptions he was pressured to follow when the Jews brought Jesus to his court. The accusers of Jesus moved the crowds and Roman court to condemn Jesus because He was perverting the nation, refusing to pay taxes, and calling Himself a king. All of this was a lie, but it fulfilled the eternal plan of God to show the hatred of the human nature and the murderous lengths humanity will go to kill a fellow human being.
Pilate was the final authority to condemn Jesus to crucifixion. The Romans allowed the Jews to execute their own citizens by stoning, but the Jewish leaders wanted no blood on themselves. They knew if they could convince the Roman court to condemn Jesus to crucifixion, their hands would be washed clean of an innocent man’s blood. Pressuring Pilate to condemn Jesus, the crowds shouted for His crucifixion. Pilate examined Jesus on multiple occasions and sent him to Herod to be questioned, but Jesus was brought back to the judgment seat of Pilate. He could find no fault in Jesus and desired to release Him. Trying to appease the crowd, Pilate said he would scourge the man from Nazareth and then release him. Scourging was a horrific punishment that would bring a man near death. The Jews refused. They shouted the more to crucify Jesus.
The will of God was being accomplished in the death of Jesus. Everything about the trial of Jesus was a travesty of justice, but the travesty of the event brought justice to the world. Jesus was going to die for sinful man. The crowds were filled with hatred and envy, shouting to kill the Galilean. Roman law could not protect an innocent man because Pilate was too cowardly to stand for what was right. The world stood at the brink of destruction as the Son of God was nailed to a cross and died. But through the act of hatred, love conquered the world and salvation was given to all men. In the middle of the story stood a man wishing to do the right thing – but he could not do it.
There are eternal realities about the death of Jesus as demanded by the providential law of God, but the people involved in the death of Jesus reflect the struggles men have with themselves. The crowds were filled with hatred. There was fear in the hearts of the disciples. The Jewish leaders pressed their hatred to kill a man. Pilate stood in a place of authority wishing to do the right thing. Because he did not do the right thing – he did the right thing. He wanted to release Jesus. He desired to let Jesus go home. But he did not release Jesus. He failed. Many like Pilate wish to serve God but lack the courage to face the crowds of hatred, doubt, and fear. Wishing to obtain eternal life will never happen. Salvation does not come from a wish but from commandment-keeping. Jesus told His disciples in the sermon on the mount the only people who will be saved are those who do the will of God. That is not wishing for salvation. To be saved requires doing the will of the Father. Pilate wished and then he died. His wishes changed after death, but it was too late. Do not let death overtake you while you wish to live right and serve God because one day will come when there is nothing to wish for.