I’ve been studying the end of Jesus’ life this week, trying to trace His footsteps each day, and when I reached His arrest and trial I realized something. From the moment He was arrested to the moment He was nailed to the cross, Jesus was passed around and put on trial not once or twice, but five times.
He was taken into custody, sent to Annas, the father-in-law of the High Priest (John 18:12-13) and passed over to the high priest, Caiaphas, along with other elders and scribes (Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54, John 19:24). From there He was moved to the governor’s palace and tried by Pilate (Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1, John 18:28), who then handed Him over to Herod (Luke 23:7), who handed Him back to Pilate again (Luke 23:11).
Every time Jesus reached an individual or group He was interrogated and asked some form of “who are you”. Whether they asked if He was “the Son of God”, or if He was “King of the Jews”, they all wanted to know who He was and what He stood for.
Most of the time, Jesus remained silent. I imagine this was because He knew they wouldn’t listen no matter what He said. In fact, in Luke’s account, Jesus says, “If I give you an answer, you won’t believe it.” (Luke 22:67). But even knowing their hearts were hard and wouldn’t believe, He still did answer, at least once. He confirmed who He was – the Son of God, the King of the Jews, the one who brings truth – but of course, no one believed Him just as Jesus predicted.
How many times have we done this to God in our own lives? How many times have we passed Him around in our minds – questioning His character, questioning His words?
We ask God to reveal Himself to us and He does, but we refuse to listen and believe. Doubt, fear, bitterness – these are just some of the things that can cause us to write God off.
This world brings us to a lot of awful crossroads – death, sickness, loss of a job, loss of a marriage, loss of hope. We wonder if what the Bible says is actually true. We wonder where God is through all the pain.
Our mind keeps chanting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! He’s not who He says He is. He’s not trustworthy or faithful. He doesn’t love you. Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And like Pilate, we finally give in to those voices and allow God to be convicted of something He was never guilty of.
It must have been awful for Jesus to endure that then, but it must be just as awful for Him to endure that now. After all He has done for us, we still question Him? We still mock Him? We still don’t believe or trust Him?
What makes God so amazing, though, is that His love never stops. Jesus was passed around five times – questioned, accused, mocked – but He still continued walking forward to the cross to die for those accusing Him. And no matter how many times we accuse or question Him, He will always keep walking forward to save us and remind us who He is.
Let us always remember the true character of God and all He has done to rescue us. Then when the storms are so rough and terrorizing that we cannot see a way forward, we will get through it because our God has already won.
We don’t need to question His goodness or faithfulness because we see it in its full glory on the cross. But even when we become weak and start to wonder, worry, and doubt, God will still go to great lengths to draw near and remind us of who He is – always good, always faithful, always in love with us.