Luke’s account of the trial of Jesus, which was actually three “trials” in one, is not the easiest to follow. Sadly, he left out some details that would make the whole tale more sensible to read, details that Matthew and John recorded. Yet I think there is a certain wisdom in Luke’s approach, for if nothing else, it reveals to us that the big players in this drama were really little more than pawns on a great chessboard.
First there were the Jewish leaders, who on purely human terms were the instigators of the whole thing. Of course, we’ve already seen that they were really Satan’s pawns in an attempt to cut short the mission of Jesus, the Messiah of God. Their behavior through the whole story is nothing short of ridiculous as they went against everything they believed in to silence God’s voice in the midst of His people. It would be a fair question to ask how such a thing was possible, and yet Satan uses this same tactic even today.
Herod as we know was afraid of Jesus, thinking that He might have been John the Baptist come back to life. When Jesus was brought before Herod, He was asked many questions that He chose not to answer, and then He was ridiculed and insulted, but in the end, big bad Herod returned Him to Pilate, too fearful to render the judgment he would have loved to render.
If there was anyone in this story who might have changed the tide of history, it was Pilate, for Pilate wanted no part in any of this. He knew perfectly well that the whole Jesus matter was nonsense; that Jesus had not broken any Roman law… and he said so more than once. All of the false charges, all of the blatant lies coming from the Jewish authorities, the handiwork of Satan himself, were not motivating Pilate to act against Jesus. Even so, in the end, Pilate bowed to the political pressure that was brought to bear in the form of an implied threat of rebellion.
Jesus was led off to be crucified.
In the larger sense, there is an amazing paradox in play through this drama. Satan was trying to kill Jesus before He could realize the Kingdom of God that would be Satan’s undoing. Yet apparently unknown to Satan, he was playing right into God’s hands, for God’s purpose was not to rise Israel to her former glory, it was to build a Kingdom that included all of humanity, and so, Jesus must go to the cross. One can almost say that the entire situation was God’s trap that even Satan fell into.
So off Jesus went to His destiny, a destiny that not only is Satan’s ultimate destruction, but that is also our ultimate salvation.