page contents
84 Jesus before pilate
84 Jesus before pilate
Death and Resurrection (Judas’ Kiss, Trial, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension)

84. Jesus before Pilate

John 18, 28-40; 19, 1-16: Luke 23, 1-11; 13-25: Mark 15, 1-15: Matthew 27, 11-26. A.D. 30. Age 33. Jerusalem.

 Jesus before Pilate..THE whole council arose and led Jesus away from the high priest, Caiaphas, and delivered Jesus before Pilate, Pontius Pilate the governor, in the hall of judgment.

Pilate went out unto them, and said, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law.

The Jews answered, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.

Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of Jews? Jesus answered,

Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered,

My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Pilate therefore said, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered,

Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. very one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Pilate answered, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But ye have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye that I release the King of the Jews?

Then cried they all, Not this man, but Barabbas.

Now Barabbas was a robber.

The chief priests and the officers cried out, Crucify him, crucify him.

Pilate saith, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

The Jews answered, By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

¶When Pilate heard that saying, he saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave no answer.

Then saith Pilate, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered,

Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Thenceforth Pilate sought to release Jesus: but the Jews cried out, We found this fellow forbidding to give tribute to Cesar, saying that he himself is Christ a king. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cesar.

Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus saith,

Thou sayest it.

The chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.

And Pilate asked him again, Answerest thou nothing? hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?

Jesus answered him to never a word; so that Pilate marvelled: and he said to the people, I find no fault in this man.

They were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people throughout Jewry, from Galilee to this place.

When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that Jesus belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was at Jerusalem at that time.

¶Herod was exceeding glad: for he had heard many things of Jesus; and had hoped to see some miracle done by him. He questioned with Jesus in many words; but Jesus answered him nothing. And Herod sent him back to Pilate.

¶Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers of the people; and he said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people; and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in him touching those things whereof ye accuse him: no, nor yet Herod.

¶Now at that feast the governor must of necessity release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.

Pilate therefore said, Will ye that I release unto you Barabbas? or Jesus which is called the Christ?

They cried out all at once, Release Barabbas.

Pilate saith, What shall I do then with Jesus?

They cried out again, Let him be crucified.

Pilate saith, Shall I crucify your King?

The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cesar.

¶When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Then answered the people, His blood be on us, and on our children.

And so Pilate, willing to content the people, gave sentence that it should be as they required. He released him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison: but he delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to their will, to be crucified.

Scripture: John 18:28-40  Jesus before Pilate

Meditation 1 of 2:  Jesus before Pilate

 On what basis was Jesus charged with a crime deserving death?  The religious leaders charged Jesus with blasphemy because he called himself the Son of God. But since they did not have the legal power to put him to death, they brought him to the Roman authorities to have him tried and executed.  The charge they brought before Pilate, however, was political rather than religious.  Luke tells us that three false accusations were leveled against Jesus (Luke 23:1-2):  First, that Jesus agitated sedition.   Second, they said that he encouraged people to not pay taxes to Caesar.  And third, he assumed the title king. In so many words they falsely accused him of rebellion and insurrection.  John goes further than the other gospel writers to affirm Jesus’ claim to kingship.

Pilate knew he was being used by the Jewish authorities and he knew that Jesus was innocent of their charges. He tried to evade responsibility by urging the Jewish authorities to take Jesus back “and judge him by your own law” (18:31). He nonetheless played into their hands and questioned Jesus about the charge. Jesus did not deny that he is King. He knew he would die precisely because he was God’s anointed King and Messiah. He explained to Pilate, however, that his kingship was “not of this world”. He did not come to establish an earthly kingdom, but a spiritual one that would claim the submission of men’s and women’s hearts and minds to his word. This kind of kingdom made no sense to Pilate since he knew nothing of God and his ways.  Pilate even questioned what was “truth”.  Jesus had promised his disciples that if they continued in his word, they would know the truth and the truth would make them free (John 8:31-32).  How can we know for certain that Jesus is who he claims to be — the Son of God and Savior of the world? The true meaning of Jesus’ kingship is only revealed when he is raised high on the cross. Early in his ministry Jesus explained to Nicodemus: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Through the gift of faith God enables us to understand and to accept as true that it was he will to redeem us by sending his Son as our Savior who would give his life as a ransom for the many (Matt. 20:28).

Since Pilate could not persuade the Jewish authorities to take Jesus back and try him by their own law, he hoped to get Jesus released nonetheless. The Romans had a custom of releasing a prisoner on the major Jewish feast.  Surely the crowds would recognize that Jesus was innocent of the trumped up charges brought against him. Why did they want Barabbas released rather than Jesus?  This was not likely the same crowd, who a week earlier, had hailed Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as their Messianic King (John 11:12-15).  Barabbas was a bandit known for violence.  Jerusalem was filled with insurrectionists.  That’s why there were so many Roman forces in Jerusalem at this time of high tension and religious fervor. He was probably part of a nationalist’s group known for murder and assassination. This crowd was very likely supporters of Barabbas who came on this occasion because they believed that Pilate would offer his release at the feast. What irony that a murderer would be preferred to the Innocent One who came to free us from bondage to sin and death.

“Lord Jesus, you suffered injustice and abuse for our sake.  By your cross you have redeemed the world and won for us pardon and reconciliation.  Give me courage to always choose what is right and to avoid what is evil.” 

Scripture: John 19:1-16

Meditation 2 of 2: 

Pilate hoped that by having Jesus’ scourged the Jews who brought him to trial might be satisfied with this punishment and stop asking for his death. Scourging was the usual kind of punishment given for disturbing the peace and a warning to cease from upsetting authority and civil order. It was also used to weaken a criminal who was about to be executed. The latter was considered a form of mercy since a crucified man could last for days on a cross before expiring. Roman scourging, nonetheless, was brutal, painful, and dehumanizing.When a prisoner was scourged he was stripped, bound and bent so his back was exposed. Long leather whips tied with pieces of sharp iron and bones were used for ripping apart the back. As skin was torn from the body in shreds blood gushed from the numerous wounds. Some died from the whipping alone, some were made unconscious, and some went mad.

Pilate had Jesus scourged in the typical Roman fashion. Jesus was led into the Praetorium, a large hall where the whole company of soldiers could gather and watch.  The Roman soldiers had a strong resentment towards the Jews and they vented their cruelty and hatred towards Jesus by mocking him as King of the Jews. They robed him in purple, the color for kingly garb, and crowned him with thorns. They struck his face, beat the crown of thorns into his skull with a reed, and jeered him for his claim to kingship. Their ridicule, mocking, and slapping was meant to dehumanize Jesus and to cause him mental anguish as well. Isaiah long ago had prophesied what the Suffering Servant would undergo for our sake: “As many were astonished at him — his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men” (Is. 52:14). “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Is. 53:4-5)  Jesus willingly underwent these torments without complaint, anger, or bitterness.  “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me” (John 18:11)?  Jesus freely accepted his passion and death for our sake and our salvation. 

When Pilate presented Jesus to the crowds robbed in purple and crowned with thorns, he emphatically stated that he found “no crime in him” (John 19:3). What finally coerced Pilate to sentence a just man to death?  Blackmail!  The Jewish leaders told Pilate: “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar” (John 19:12). The last thing Pilate wanted was a report back to Rome that he supported a dangerous man who was inciting the people to accept him as their king and to revolt against Roman authority. The last thing Rome would accept was civil disorder. So Pilate relented to avoid having a charge brought against him to Rome.  Pilate was a ruthless leader, but he lacked one important quality, the courage to do the right thing.  He sacrificed justice to save his face and his job. Are you willing to sacrifice reputation and position for truth and justice?

Who was responsible for the trial, condemnation, and death of Jesus?  It is erroneous to attribute collective responsibility to the Jewish people as a whole, or even to all the Jewish authorities. We know that among the Pharisees there were secret disciples of Jesus, namely, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. John also states that “many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42). When Peter preached the gospel to the Jews he stated, “I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.” We also know that on the day after Pentecost “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).  Scripture shows us that all who sin, both in the past, present, and the future are responsible for crucifying our Savior (Hebrews 12:3; 6:6; Acts 9:4-5). Paul the Apostle tells us plainly that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). Francis of Assisi, the great 12th century reformer and lover of Christ crucified, told his beloved friends: “Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.”

“Lord Jesus, you suffered injustice and abuse for our sake.  By your cross you have redeemed the world and won for us pardon and reconciliation.  Give me courage to always choose what is right and to avoid what is evil.” 

Death and Resurrection (Judas’ Kiss, Trial, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension)The complete sayings of Jesus
One Comment
  • anthony
    24 April 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Whate better way to truly understand than a single story. Its very enjoyable.

  • Leave a Reply