Miscarriages of Justice

Tips for Life

By Alan Bailey

Every now and then we hear of someone being released from prison after wrongfully serving part of a lengthy sentence. It is a sad situation when an innocent man suffers the indignity, the pain and the loss of reputation that goes with being declared guilty and then locked away. It is hard to imagine how you would feel in that situation; grieved, frustrated, angry? And what of those who are put to death, only to be found innocent after all?

There are many reasons why these events occur. Sometimes it is a wicked plot and a web of lies that secures a man’s conviction. Sometimes an unfortunate set of coincidences that incriminate, even convincing judge and jury. Then a drawn-out process can take years to bring the truth to light and set the prisoner free.

A classic case

We have detailed for us a classic case of wrong conviction and sentencing involving none other than the God-man, Jesus.

The record shows that there was a search made for witnesses who could bring something against the man when he had already been arrested on some trumped up charge. These witnesses failed to agree and only had some vague understanding of words which the accused had used at one time.

No wonder the Roman Procurator was puzzled as to why this man was brought before him. We have four Gospels from which to read the conduct of the trial. Piecing them together, we see that Pilate asked three times at least “Why? What evil has he done?” Also, three times he said “I find no fault in this man.” Then, to complicate things even more, Pilate’s wife warns him that she has through a dream learned that the prisoner was an innocent man.

There was much shouting back and forth with the main cry being that Jesus should be crucified. It came down to a question of supposed blasphemy because He had called Himself the Son of God. The accusers had presumed that this was not true. Pilate, it is said, saw through these religious leaders and knew that it was because of envy they had accused him.

What a false move to make!

It is a terrible decision that Pilate makes in the light of justice. Knowingly, he gives Jesus over to his men to crucify Him, folding under the pressure of the crowd calling for blood. He tried to be impartial, but failed abysmally.

Through it all, God’s will was done in Christ’s death. He willingly took our place, suffering for our sins. Proof of this is seen in Christ’s resurrection (an undeniable truth).

“What will I do with Jesus?” was a cry Pilate made at one stage.

That question is also yours. Will you receive Him as Lord and Saviour or ‘do a Pilate’ and wrongfully reject Him? The choice is yours.

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