(13) And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.
(28) Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.
(1) When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. (2) And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
(31) And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
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Meekness, we should understand, is not weakness. Though scoffed at by an assertive and bruising world, meekness demonstrates tremendous strength, for it is power under internal restraint. Meekness withholds force that could otherwise be brought to bear, keeping it in check for the right purpose, appropriate magnitude, and perfect time.
Jesus Christ's final day epitomizes such strength under flawless regulation. To the arresting mob seeking Jesus of Nazareth, He declared, "I AM," and those words, combined with the commanding presence and force of character of the One speaking, caused the troops and their officers to draw back and fall to the ground (John 18:3-8). It was a withering display of authority, yet less in magnitude than what it could have been.
He admonished Peter for needlessly injuring a servant with his sword, explaining that He could summon over twelve legions of angels to His defense if needed (Matthew 26:50-53). It was a rescue He could have called for but did not. Jesus possessed awesome authority, yet He used it solely for doing His Father's will, even though that meekness included submitting Himself to the basest of men. Were it not for Jesus' assent, it would have been impossible for men to take His life (John 10:17-18).
Once arrested, this powerful Man permitted Himself to be led around, sent here and there like a common stock animal. Notice the repeated activity after His arrest: He was led to Annas, one of the high priests (John 18:13). Annas then sent Him to Caiaphas, another high priest (John 18:24). He was led from Caiaphas to the Praetorium (John 18:28), the Roman headquarters for that region. After being questioned there by Pilate, He was sent back and forth between Pilate and Herod (Luke 23:7, 11, 15). In Matthew 27:1-2, Jesus was led awayat the behest of the chief priests and elders. Finally, they "led Him away to be crucified" (Matthew 27:31; see also Mark 14:53; 15:1, 16; Luke 23:26; emphasis ours). During all this ignominy, He spoke few words, mounting the meekest of defenses—that is, He safeguarded the truth and His disciples but not Himself. He was sent and led, yet He retained His authority and dignity.
Christ's meekness shone brighter still when He was brought to the place of His crucifixion. The Judge of all mankind, who legally could have required the lives of all living, did more than just hold Himself in check. Of those who led Him and crucified Him, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34). By His words, He cleansed those who led Him and perpetrated His suffering rather than condemn them.
Some have wondered at the use of goats in the sacrificial system, given that goats are known for contrariness and stubbornness, while Christ, the object of all the offerings, had none of those traits. However, goats can also symbolize positive qualities of leadership, such as strong-mindedness, a commanding presence, and singleness of purpose—beneficial qualities where true meekness dwells but destructive where self-interest rules.
In this context of genuinely meek leadership, we can see Jesus as a goat, particularly on His crucifixion day. As their Leader, He ensured the disciples kept their liberty, looking out for His charges rather than Himself (John 18:8-9). Though He submitted to being sent by the rulers and led by their agents, He was not pushed around. He courageously laid down His life; they did not take it from Him. He maintained His dignity and bearing as a leader, only bowing His head when His life was over (John 19:30). Because He was meek, Christ exhibited the positive goat-like qualities without the negative traits, such as obstinance or defiance.
— David C. Grabbe