Message/Application: In John 19 I was reading about the interaction between Pontius Pilate and Jesus. I had always read this with the impression that Pilate believed his innocence and was trying to do Jesus a favor, but today I saw something very different. Not only was Pilate aware of his innocence, but this scared him, and he wanted no part of his death. He tried to wash his hands of it and convince the Jews that since he declared him innocent that they should too but they weren’t having it. In verse 7 Pilate made this last attempt and the Jews replied with something that terrified him. They told Pilate that they had a law that anyone who claimed to be a king would be put to death. This was some sort of twist on blasphemy and not so much a direct law. They used that statement and then threw on another threat by saying “if you release this man you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” This took the accusation from just a problem with the Jews to absolute trouble for Pilate. This threat was the equivalent of treason in our context of understanding. The Jews were blackmailing him into turning Jesus over for crucifixion. This changes everything when you realize the manipulative power involved that these religious men were able to successfully threaten and blackmail these high-ranking government officials to do their business. The irony is that they were all suffering under the tyranny of their crooked government, yet somehow they were able to maneuver that master plan successfully? The truth is that God had this plan in place all along and even as clever as they were, Jesus was not killed by their master plan. He had a master plan of his own and they played right into it to accomplish the plan for our redemption. As much as it feels like we are being set up, we are losing, or people are against us, we need to remember that God has a bigger plan and he will allow people to use their evil intents to play out something we could never come up with on our own.