5/2 John 18:28

28 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.

The irony of this setting is impossible to top. The religious leaders wanted Jesus executed in the most humiliating and painful way possible, so they were trying to get Pilate to crucify Him. They knew Jesus had performed many miraculous signs proving He was the Messiah. One of their number had confessed that he knew Jesus was from God (John 3:1-2). Their animosity came from Jesus calling them out for their hypocrisy. They were also envious of the crowds that listened to Jesus.

Here stood these religious leaders at the headquarters of the local Roman authority, whom they despised, trying to have Rome execute the Lord of life. Yet they wouldn't go into the headquarters for fear of being defiled and having to skip the Passover feast. The Passover reminded them of when God spared them from the angel of death by the blood of a lamb in Egypt. As the Messiah, Jesus was about to shed His blood as the Lamb of God to set free from sin all who would come to Him by faith (Isaiah 53:5-8). All that these leaders were concerned about was not being defiled by entering a Gentile dwelling. It's hard to imagine!

Religion without a relationship with God can lead to blind, hard-hearted duplicity. It is the spirit of self-righteousness that puts our own interests in being honored above being merciful and true. If we have chosen the path of righteousness, then self-righteousness is the pitfall that we must carefully avoid. A relationship with God should continually humble our souls, which helps us to avoid the error of self-righteousness.

Prayer: Lord, help me to live always sensitive to Your voice and corrected by Your Spirit so that I may humbly acknowledge my true condition and thereby extend grace and love to others.