A Tale of Three Trials
While assembling their new water bed, my sister Betty and her husband, Everett, realized they would need a hose. Everett dashed to the hardware store and bought one. They attached it to the bed, ran it through the apartment to the kitchen tap and left to wait for the bed to fill. About an hour later they checked on its progress. That’s when they discovered Everett had bought a sprinkler hose. Reader’s Digest, March, 1993 edition, p. 123
In our daily lives we encounter various trials and as we study the Gospel of John, chapters 18 & 19 we see the trials of the three primary players. When we read this section of scripture we see the obvious trial of Jesus, but most overlook the trials of Peter and Pilate. One meaning of a trial is a state of being tried or tested. Using this definition we can easily see the “trial” each faced. Jesus was an innocent man, accused of blasphemy by His own people, an offense that carried the penalty of death under Jewish Law. Since the Jews didn’t have the authority to execute a sentence of death, they found themselves turning to their oppressors to rid themselves of Jesus. Throughout His entire ordeal of questioning, beatings and abuse Jesus remained faithful to His purpose. His test, we know, was passed.
In the case of Peter we observe the test of his commitment. Throughout Jesus’ ministry Peter was a solid supporter, one who would die by His side if necessary. This attitude was a result of a misunderstanding of Jesus’ purpose. In the courtyard during Jesus’ trial we see a confused Peter. How could this be happening? Of all the great things he had witnessed in Jesus, how could He allow this to go on? While confused and in aguish he was challenged by these people that he was one of the disciples of Jesus and his response was one of denial. Once would have been serious enough, but Peter denied his relationship with Jesus three times. This was prophesied earlier by Jesus and when it occurred and Peter realized it, he responded by weeping bitterly. This trial was not successful, but as we see Peter later in scripture we realize that he eventually returned to the one “who had the words of life.” We can do the same when we falter!
As far as Pilate is concerned, his trial consisted of what to do with Jesus. He had to make a choice. In the course of Jesus’ trial he attempted no less than six times to release Him.
However, in the end, he elected to be swayed by the multitude and send Jesus to an undeserving death. We don’t know if he ever converted to Christianity, but we do know that he made a choice once. We also have a choice to make, for or against Jesus. Choose for Him! Today!
Copyright © 2002, Nolan P. Rutter