What Jesus Did! 'Treacherous Religious Leaders' — Luke 23:5-12

Saturday, December 16, 2023

[After Pilate said he found nothing wrong with Jesus, his accusers] became insistent. "But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes — all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!"

"Oh, is he a Galilean?" Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod's jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)

— Luke 23:5-12 NLT

Key Thought

The trials of Jesus were nothing more than mock trials. None of them was about justice. The Sanhedrin (the Jewish council) accused Jesus of one thing in their own meeting [1] and then of something else before Pilate. [2] Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent, [3] yet kept the pseudo legal proceedings going for political expediency. Herod had no desire to do the right thing; he was determined to do the politically convenient thing. This process was nothing more than treachery. Jesus was not treated fairly. He did not receive justice. What was done to him was what God decried throughout the Old Testament through the prophets — there was no justice in the courts, and those with money and power misused their influence. Sinners and traitors convicted Jesus. He was the innocent lamb led to slaughter. He was the perfect sacrifice for all who are sinners ... even for us and for those who put him to death.

[1] Luke 22:66, 70-71.
[2] Luke 23:1-2.
[3] Luke 23:4.

Today's Prayer

Father, it breaks my heart to see your Son treated with such treachery. While it angers me, it also helps me bear those times when I am treated unfairly. I know that Jesus is with me in those times and that he more than understands my emotions. Jesus, thank you for walking in our unfair and often cruel world as one of us so that we can share eternity with you. In your name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Isaiah 53:7-9
  • Isaiah 59:14
  • Amos 5:10-15


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Illustration of Luke 23:5-12 NLT — "But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes — all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!"   ——   "Oh, is he a Galilean?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.