A strange form of sanctification
In the final moments of the Lord Jesus before enduring the cross, the priests took great care in maintaining the observance of the Law of Moses in regards to ceremonial affairs. They would not put the thirty pieces of silver that Judas returned into the temple treasury since they would not allow it to be contaminated with blood money (Matthew 27:6).
Annas and Caiaphas, with their company, refused to enter the “judgment hall that morning lest they should be defiled: but that they might eat the Passover”(John 18:28). Then, the Jews did not want the bodies of the crucified left on the crosses during the Sabbath, so they asked Pilate to have the legs broken, and thus hasten their death.
That Sabbath was a special day of worship, so they did not want to break it (John 19:31-33). Finally, they buried him in haste because it was the preparation of the Passover and they did not want the feast to be contaminated. They continued unshakably with the Passover celebration, trying to do it strictly according to the law and tradition. They did not want to be contaminated by a wrongdoer who was to be executed. How could they be hampered by a man like this?
These forms of outward holiness were of great value to the Jews. However, the testimony that the Lord gave regarding these outward forms was very bad. What an absurdity! What madness! They did not want to be contaminated with Jesus and killed him in order to get rid of a blasphemer.
The Lord had said to his disciples: "whoever kills you will think that he offers God service" (John 16:2). That word first found its fulfillment in Jesus himself. Since then, much innocent blood has been shed on that premise.
The blindness of the Jews who were mainly concerned about the outward forms of an empty religion - that is devoid of true holiness – is not the only one found in history. Today it also abounds in the midst of Christianity. Today Christ himself is left out of many environments, because they have to maintain certain formalities, and because his presence is shameful and troublesome.