Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Romans 18:28-32
Peter was not the only one lying. The Jewish authorities also lied or at least stretched the truth. While it was strictly true that only a Roman official could invoke the death penalty, it was not long after Jesus’ ascension that Jews stoned Stephen. Saul of Tarsus was there holding the men’s coats as they killed Stephen. So, if the Jewish authorities wanted Jesus dead they could have stoned Him. What they really wanted was the have the Romans do their dirty work. That way they could tell the people that the Romans killed Jesus not them.
We see this happening all around us, we call it plausible deniability. It allows someone to say they knew nothing about the incident or maybe I had nothing to do with it. We want to do something distasteful but don’t want to take the responsibility or blame. So we see the Jewish authorities standing outside the Roman praetorium asking that Jesus be put to death. They were more concerned with their own purity than Jesus’ life.
Today we see the priests and the officials following God’s law when it suited their purposes and Roman law when it was convenient. It was this type of corruption that Jesus constantly called the Jewish authorities on. They did what was right in their own eyes. Pointing out God’s law when it helped them out or kept others in line and if the circumstances called for it they fell back on Roman law.
Don’t want to get your hand dirty, let the Romans kill Jesus. Want to trip up Jesus, ask if one should pay the Roman tax and make Jesus choose between God and Rome. The priests in Jesus’ time were more politician than servant of God. We see this today when Christians are more concerned with fitting in with the world than serving God. When something goes wrong we say it was not our fault we were just doing what everybody else did.
Peter lied to keep from being arrested and the Jewish authorities lied to keep their hand clean while getting the Romans to do their dirty work and kill Jesus. Everybody around Jesus was lying. Only Jesus spoke the truth.
Have a blessed day,