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Will he deny it all?

Jesus stood in front of the governor and the governor questioned him, stating, ‘You are the king of the Jews?’ Jesus clarified to him: ‘You are stating that.’ Then, when being accused by the chief priests and the elders, he answered nothing. Then Pilate stated to him, ‘Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?’ But he didn’t answer him, not even to one word, leading the governor to be greatly astonished. Matthew 27: 11-14
Those of us who have come before the Bailiff, Jersey’s Chief Judge, in the Royal Court, have a fair idea of what it means to face a judge. Terrifying? Yes (maybe not if you’re a lawyer). And does it change you inside? Yes. In my case it made me determined to present my case in the very best possible light.

Recently, a murder trial took place in that Royal Court. The accused had pleaded “Not Guilty” to the murder of his girlfriend. Not only was he convicted of that murder but he was also found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice. Clearly he, like me, was determined to present his case in the best possible light, which included both the ‘Not Guilty’ plea and also lying so as to mislead the police. 

Others, of course, have not faced, and may never face, judgment in court. They seek to avoid that with every fibre of their being. Of course, these deniers fall into two categories. First, there are those who deny it – and never did it. Second, there are those who deny it – and did do it. Maybe you and I will never know whether they did it or not. But one thing is certain. They all deny all the accusations against them.

That’s precisely what makes the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Roman governor of Jerusalem, in AD 30 so very strange. Please read, in bold above, Matthew’s first-century eye-witness account of the commencement of the proceedings against him. 

‘A guilty conscience needs no accuser.’ (Anon.) 
Pilate’s first question - ‘You are the king of the Jews?’ – was effectively asking for a plea of ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’. To be – or even to claim to be - the king of the Jews would be to plead ‘Guilty’ to insurrection against Rome. He does not do that. ‘You are stating that.’ He doesn’t plead ‘Not Guilty’ either. Why on earth not?

Then the prosecution brings forward the case against him. His accusers are highly respected people: they are the top religious leaders in Jerusalem; they are the most respectable and senior of its citizens. The governor is not Jersey’s Bailiff either: Pilate has the power to be cruelly vindictive and to kill with impunity. Unlike in Jersey there’s no Court of Appeal.

They bring forward and testify many things against him. Will he deny any of them? Will be attempt to pervert the course of justice? Surely, guilty or not-guilty, he’ll have a go, given the awful prospect of the cruelest form of execution ever formally promulgated and carried out.

Will he deny it all? No.

Why not?

What are your thoughts?

Was it that, for some reason, he wanted to die like that? Aged 30?

 ‘All human beings (save one) stand condemned, not by external ethical codes, but by their own ethical code, and all human beings (save one) therefore are conscious of guilt.’ (C S Lewis, academic, creator of Narnia, 1898-1963)
Was it that, if he died like that – and rose again - then he’d be able to give the forgiveness of his Father above to any of those who had brought death to him? His accusers? Pilate? The chief priests and elders? Those who falsely testified against him? Those who hated him?

Was it that, by not denying every accusation against him, he knew that he would then be executed as a criminal guilty of all those accusations, guilty of all those deeds testified against him? In that way, he would then – being resurrected – be able to give the forgiveness of his Father above to all those truly guilty of such deeds? 

Clearly his Father confirmed that his death – and life – was of immense worth. Because He raised him from the dead.

Richard Syvret doesn’t want to deny it, he wants to plead the guilty truth so as to be forgiven – and rise again.

Sinner Syvret

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