About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Before Pilate (ch. 18:28-40)
might have heard that Jesusí trial was a mock trial.
A couple of reasons why this is true are because the Jewish law
concerning such trials were not to be carried out at night.
When Jesus came before Caiaphas, it was at night.
Also, one could not be sentenced to death on the same day as his
trial. One day had to at least
transpire between the trial and the sentencing.
This was not the case with Jesus.
Jesus, the Just One was tried in an unjust way.
verses 28 to 30 we see a delegation of Jews leave the meeting of the
Sanhedrin to go to Pilateís palace.
The Jews did not go into the palace because according to rabbinical
law, they would be defiled and thus could not eat the Passover.
So they stayed outside and Pilate went out to them to hear the
charges they had against Jesus.
are a couple things to note here. One
thing is that the Jewish leadership was concerned about breaking their
laws. They did not want to
enter the Roman palace because that would make them unclean and thus they
would not be able to eat the Passover meal.
On the other hand they had no problem breaking their law concerning
this illegal trial.
second thing to note here is that John says the Jews didn't not want to
defile themselves because that would mean they could not eat the Passover.
This means the Passover had not yet taken place.
This would mean that what we read in John 13 through 17, which
included, what Christians call the Lat Supper, was not the Passover meal.
Also remember after Judas was exposed as the betrayer he left the
room. The other disciples
wondered if he was then going to buy what was needed for the Passover
meal, meaning, Passover had not yet taken place.
The problem arises when we read from the other gospel accounts that
what we call the Last Supper was during the Passover meal.
At this point, I'm not sure how to reconcile these differing
Pilate asked the Jews what charges they had pronounced on Jesus, in verse
30 they replied by saying, "If He were not a criminal, we would not
have brought Him to you." This
wasnít really a specific answer to Pilateís question.
He wanted to know the specific charge.
They didnít tell him right away.
verse 31 Pilate tells them to try Jesus according to their own law.
As yet, Pilate didnít know why they brought Jesus to him so this
is why he suggested they take Jesus to their own court.
Jews had some legal autonomy, that is, they legally had a right to
try certain crimes. One thing
they could not do was to execute a person convicted of a crime and that is
what they wanted to do with Jesus as is seen in verse 31. Obviously
at this point Pilate must have thought this matter was more important than
he first thought.
verse 32 John tells us that the words spoken here by the Jews to Pilate
signifies by what death Jesus would die. It would be in fulfillment of
prophecy, that is, of how Jesus said He would be killed (John 12:32-33).
Jesus would be crucified, not stoned.
Jews stoned criminals. Romans
crucified criminals. There was
also one particular section of the Law of Moses that plays a part in this
as well. Deuteronomy 21:23
states that "Cursed is any man who hangs on a tree."
This was in fact what the death of Jesus was all about.
He was cursed by God, not by the Roman or the Jews.
He was so cursed because He was punished for every sin of every man
and woman who ever lived on the face of this earth.
this point the Jews must have told Pilate that Jesus claimed to be king of
the Jews, a claim that was worthy of death because there was only one king
and he was Caesar, king of the
verse 33 Pilate goes back into the palace to question Jesus.
He asks Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews."
At this point Pilate knows the charge the Jews brought against
Jesus. This charge in Roman law had the sentence of death.
No one could claim to be a king.
This was considered treason.
the Jews say that Jesus claims to be their king, they are implying to
Pilate that Jesus is claiming to be a secular type king.
They are twisting what Jesus has said for their own benefit.
Jesus never said that He was a king in the secular sense of the
word. He claimed to be the
Jews Messiah, which was more of a king in a spiritual sense, at least at
this time in history. The Jews
knew that the term Messiah meant nothing to Pilate.
He could care less about things pertaining to Jewish religion.
So the idea that Jesus claimed to have aspirations to be king over Israel
in a nationalistic sense would have some weight with Pilate.
with this definition of the word king in mind, Pilate asks Jesus if He was
king of the Jews. Jesus did
not answer with a simple yes or no answer.
In verse 34 Jesus answered with a question of His own.
He asked Pilate, "Is that your own idea, or did someone else
talk to you about me?" I
think Jesus was getting personal with Pilate by asking this question to
him. He was zeroing in on
Pilate and asking him personally how he felt about Him.
Was Pilate just going on hearsay or had he given some personal
thought to Jesus being a king?
Jesus had said that He was a king, within the context and definition of
the word king that was being used by the Jews, He would not be telling the
truth, yet, on the other hand, Jesus was a king, just not the type of king
Pilate had in mind.
verse 35 Pilate replies by asking, "Am I a Jew?"
What he is saying here is that he is not a Jew, how should he know
about Jewish matters. Romans
had little dealing with Jews, especially on religious matters.
Romans werenít interested in the Jewish religion, and to Pilate
this was fast becoming a religious matter.
continues by saying to Jesus that it was His people and His leaders that
handed Him over to him. How
should he know about the charge? So
Pilate asks Jesus, "What is it that you have done?"
knows about the play on words here. He
knows that the Jews have told Pilate that He claims to be a king so now He
begins to redefine the word king for Pilate.
In verse 36 Jesus says, "My kingdom is not of this
world." By these words
Jesus is answering Pilateís questions in a very truthful way.
Without saying the words "I am a king," He implies that
He is a king, but, not the type of king Pilate would understand.
He says that His kingdom is not of this world.
Jesusí kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, at least right then and
goes on to say that if His kingdom were an earthly kingdom then His
servants would fight to prevent His arrest.
This is how earthly kingdoms work.
They fight when confronted with opposition.
Jesusí followers did not fight.
Peter attempted but Jesus healed the man that Peter tried to fight.
tells us something clear about Jesus and His kingdom.
Jesus isnít king of an earthly kingdom (at least not yet - He
will be when He returns to earth) and therefore He and His subjects act
differently than those in a secular kingdom.
Christians do not use physical force to promote the Kingdom
specifically says, "Now my kingdom is from a different place."
Jesusí kingdom is a heavenly kingdom.
It is a kingdom where the centrality of who God is lives.
Jesus represents this Kingdom.
The Bible also calls the
responds in verse 37 by saying, "You are a king?"
I think Pilate is still thinking in terms of an earthly king.
I canít see him really grasping what Jesus is saying.
He had no concept of an invisible heavenly kingdom.
answers by saying, "You are right in saying I am a kingÖ"
Jesus still does not come out and say He is a king, especially a
national king as Pilate would have understood, but, what He does say is
that Pilateís assessment of Him being a king is right.
It is in fact Pilate that is saying Jesus is a king, even though
Pilateís idea of king is still different than Jesusí.
then says that the reason why He was born into this world was to be a king
and to testify to the truth and those who want to know the truth listen to
Him. This was a very dramatic
thing for Jesus to say. He is
saying that He is saying that the reason for His birth was because some
day He will be king. Of
course, that some day has not yet arrived, but it will.
As Gabriel told Mary concerning the birth of Jesus; He will sit on
the throne of His father David. Jesus
will some day rule from a literal earthly throne, known as David's throne,
from the literal city of
said that those who know the universal truth will follow Him.
In fact Jesus Himself is the central truth of the universe (John
14:6). Everything that is true
is only true because Jesus is the truth.
Iíve said it before but even simple math equations like two plus
two equals four is true because Jesus is truth.
Anything that is true finds its source in Jesus because all things
have come by and through Him.
verse 38 we see Pilate leaving the room, and maybe, or at least the way I
picture it, muttering to himself, "What is truth?"
I can just see Pilate shaking his head as he was leaving the room,
somewhat disgusted with Jesus because of this claim of truth.
In other words, he is saying, "What is truth anyway Ė you
donít know Ė I donít know Ė no one knows."
believe deep in Pilateís heart the words of Jesus had an impact as they
always do. He may have been
shaking his head and saying, "What is truth," yet deep in his
heart he might well have been asking this question seriously. If
this was not the case at this precise moment, I believe Pilate had lots to
think about when he was alone with his thoughts.
One cannot listen to Jesus speak without the words echoing around
in his heart and mind afterwards.
then goes back outside and tells the Jews that he doesnít find any legal
fault with Jesus, especially something that should end in His execution.
In verse 39 Pilate then proposes that they release Jesus because it
was their custom to release a prisoner each year at Passover.
one really knows when this custom of releasing a prisoner at Passover
began. It probably symbolizes
verse 40 we see the crowd outside demand that Pilate hand over a man named
Barabbas, a man who led a rebellion against Rome. It is ironic that Jesus was
executed for being a revolutionary when He wasn't but the one who was
released was a real revolutionary.