Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Written by Marcus Mitchell

Scripture to Read: John 18:28-32

In this passage, the Jews are presenting an innocent man to be executed by the Romans.  The Jewish leaders are not even willing to bring forth charges, likely because they knew that their charges would not be worthy of execution by Roman law.  In a way, they were saying that their judgments were above reproach–that Pilate should trust them implicitly.  Perhaps it was because they were accustomed to being heeded and obeyed.

The Jewish leaders are accusing Jesus of crimes worthy of death, but this very act was proving their own guilt.  The irony is that they were the ones committing the crime.  Verse 28 shows how blind and misguided they were: “to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace.”  They were so preoccupied with obeying the letter of the law that they couldn’t see that it was the hatred and murder in their own hearts that was making them unclean.

There’s an old saying that goes, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.”  It means you are so preoccupied with the minutiae in front of you that you can’t see the big picture.  How often do we make presumptions about someone based upon how they look?  If someone doesn’t dress the “right” way, speak the “right” way or even act the “right” way, we can automatically start thinking less of them.  Conversely, there are folks that check off all the right boxes, but can be just as broken as any of us.  So many times Jesus was calling out the Jewish leadership on their surface level religiosity.  Matthew 23:27-28 says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  Their pride had led to their blindness.

The next time you feel judgment welling up inside you check your pride at the door and ask God to help you see the person or situation upsetting you through His eyes.  Then you will be in a better position for God to shape your heart after His own and be a use for His purposes in the lives and situations around you.

 

 

Leave a Reply