John 18:28-32 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die.
‘Let they Jesus from Caiaphas’ Jesus was led by the mob to Annas (18:13); by the mob to Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:24); by the Jews to Pilate (Matt. 27:2; Luke 23:1; John 18:28); by soldiers to Herod (Luke 23:7); by soldiers to Pilate again (Luke 23:11-25); by soldiers to be scourged and mocked (Mark 15:16-19); by soldiers to be crucified (Matt. 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26, 32; John 19:16).
‘The hall of judgment’ Pilate’s house, called the Praetorium, the dwelling place of the praetor, the chief ruler of the province. It was where he held court (Mark 15:16).
‘Early’ it was early in the day of preparation, from our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset. It was perhaps between 11:00 p.m. to midnight, for a little later it was the 6th hour or midnight (19:14).
‘Passover’ Jesus had eaten of the passover before the time (Matt. 26:18-20; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-15), and was Himself slain at the time of the offering of the paschal lamb (1Cor. 5:7).
‘Pilate then went out unto them’ he went out to them lest they be defiled by coming into him. The Romans had agreed to permit the Jews the free use of their rites and ceremonies, so this was all Pilate could do.
‘Malefactor’ the Greek word kakopoios which means evildoer. They did not want Pilate to judge, but to execute the sentence they had already illegally passed. Pilate was not willing to execute a man whom he had not tried and who was not guilty, so offered to turn Jesus over to them for execution (John 18:31).
‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death’ this was another sin of the Jews. They had the power to stone anyone breaking their law (8:1-11, 59; 10:31; Acts 7:59), but in this case, they lied and, fearing the people, determined to raise the plea of rebellion against Caesar, throwing the responsibility of the Lord’s death upon Pilate (19:7, 12). He had to die by crucifixion to fulfil prophecy (Matt. 20:19; 26:2; John 3:14; 12:32-33). Jews did not crucify and they had no power to do so with criminals that were accused of crimes against the state, so they intimidated Pilate by accusing him of not being a friend of Caesar if he let Christ go (19:7, 12).