Determined to Judge


Fans of murder/mystery movies and television shows are pretty familiar with the storyline: a victim or a victim’s family member rushes to judgment on someone they wholeheartedly believe committed the crime, even though the overwhelming evidence proves otherwise. Sometimes we can be so blinded by emotion or by what we think is right that the truth, however boldly it may be staring us in the face, is irrelevant.

  • When was the last time you rushed to judgment on something or someone?


45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51  “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What did the Pharisees call the officers who had seen firsthand the blamelessness of Jesus?
  2. Who was Nicodemus (vs. 50)? Why was his decision to stand up for Jesus so significant at this time?
  3. What did Nicodemus use to appeal to the other Pharisees regarding their charges against Jesus, and why was that significant?
  4. God can reveal himself and soften anyone’s heart—even a law-loving Pharisee like Nicodemus—to believe in Jesus. Reflect and give thanks on how God opened the eyes of your heart to his.


The Pharisees reminded Nicodemus that no prophet was said to come from Galilee. Yet, had they searched for the true birthplace of Jesus, they would have found he was from Bethlehem in Galilee, where Scripture references the origin of Messiah. Their pride and arrogance prevented them from seeing what was there to discover.

It’s easy for us to feel bitterness at the Pharisees for being so unjust. But had God not hardened their hearts, their pursuit to condemn Jesus would have forfeited his ultimate suffering on the cross, which brought us salvation. Often God’s ways are a mystery to us, yet thankfully, they all make sense to him.

  • Spend some time thanking God that, despite flagrant injustice, his plan was ultimately achieved.