I WAS THE GREATER SINNER (Jn.19: 11; 18: 13, 24).
Jesus did regard me as the man with the greater sin than the one that had to sentence Him to die. I did not much care what Jesus thought. I hated that Man with a passion. I was Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, the high priest that year and I had Jesus crucified. I was the power in the land. I plotted the demise of Jesus and coerced Pilate to do my handiwork. I had everyone under my thumb. Even Rome listened to me. I could not let a little prophet, from nowhere, take my power away. How did I get rid of my worst enemy?
First, I used my son-in-law to convince my fellow leaders that no prophet could come from Galilee. I did not let them link Jesus with David in Bethlehem. The people that were ignorant and knew nothing did the connecting. We made certain, that Jesus did not fit the Davidic King. Then, we made Him look as if He was a rival to Caesar. That took Him out of our jurisdiction and Pilate had to play along with us. No pretender or rival to Rome was allowed to live. It all would work in my favor if we could trick Jesus into falling into our legal trap.
Second, we send spies to ask questions that would trap Jesus legally. He was too alert to fall for our trickery. Our spies noticed that He was compassionate about the sick and the poor. We encouraged handicapped to visit services on our Day of Rest. Sure enough, Jesus healed them on the Sabbath. Now, we had Him on one violation. Jesus apparently did not care what we held as sacred because He kept on breaking our law and so did His followers. What He was doing made us suspicious of where His power came from. We had our experts deliberately accuse Him of being in league with the devil. That caused Him to prove that He was God’s servant and therefore by inference equal to God. Now we had two violations to charge Jesus with.
To seal His fate, we had to find one more big violation. We had enough ground to arrest Him, but we needed one more clear violation that could be supported by at least two witnesses. We knew Jesus was fond of the Temple. He had dispersed our profiteers. Two of our spies came up with a very big violation. They had heard Him say that if the Temple were torn down, He could rebuild it in three days. Of course, we understood that Jesus spoke of His own death and that He would rise up in three days. Their lies were perfect for our intent. What we did not foresee is that Jesus’ time had come to say who He was and that we now were unknowingly acting in behalf of God. It was as if destiny had opened the door for us and was bringing Jesus in. I, who displayed genius at times, did not realize that we were playing into the hands of Jesus.
We had set out to entice one of Jesus’ followers to betray Him. We paid this man Judas thirty pieces of silver that he brought back and threw in our faces. After we had disposed of Jesus, we learned that Jesus had ordered Judas to hand Him over to us. It was rumored that Judas had the idea that Jesus had a heavenly army that would bring in the new kingdom. We were convinced that we had to stop Jesus from taking away our country from us. We were dead wrong. My son-in-law was right when he predicted that Jesus had to die to save the country. He did not go far enough. If I had paid attention to the Prophet Isaiah, then I would not have committed the greater sin. The one person that was to die did so for atoning for the nation’s sin. I was blinded total by my hatred for Jesus that I did not see God behind His work. Like Jesus had said, I, and those that agreed with me, was doing the devil’s bidding. It was Gamaliel that reminded us not to go against the followers of Jesus that might be obeying God.
Yes, I thought I had put Jesus away but ended with egg on my face. I had inadvertently sacrificed the Lamb of God. I, who thought I was so correct, was so dead wrong. I was a tool in God’s hands and did not recognize it. He used me, the man with the greater sin, to complete His purpose. I thought that I could use death to halt Jesus’ kingdom from invading us. Instead, He used it to fill the world with His followers. The more Herod and I killed, the more they spread, willing to die for Jesus and for God. I was the big loser and not Jesus. Jesus had come to save my nation and I destroyed it. I did hand it over to Caesar and had our King crucified. I was some genius! Could there be forgiveness for me? I, most certainly, do not deserve it! I do hope the world can learn from me, what hate can do.