John 18:33-40 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Are thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what have 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 unto him, Are thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou say 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. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But you have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
‘Are thou the King of the Jews? … Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?’ This shows their accusation of treason. They did not charge Him with what were the chief reasons for wanting Him crucified.
There are ten reasons why the Jews killed Jesus: over His Kingship (Matt. 2:2-3, 16; John 18:33-40; 19:12-22); for telling the truth (Luke 4:21-29; John 8:40); for healing on the sabbath (Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; John 5:16; 9:16); out of jealousy of Him (Matt. 26:3-4; 27:18; Mark 14:1; 15:10; Luke 22:2; John 11:48); because of their ignorance (Matt. 26:64-66; Mark 14:62-64; John 12:40; Acts 3:17); to fulfill prophecy (Luke 13:33-35; John 12:38-40; 18:31-32; 19:11, 28, 36-37; Acts 2:22-36; 3:18); He claimed Sonship (5:18; 10:24-39; 19:7); because of their unbelief (5:38-47; 6:36; 9:40-41; 12:36-38); because He claimed to be God (8:53-59; 10:33; cp. 1:1-2; Heb. 1:5-14); out of fear of losing their authority (11:46-53; 12:10-11, 19).
‘Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?’ Jesus asked if His enemies told Pilate this or if he was suspicious of Him, that he asked the question?
‘Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what have thou done?’ Pilate answered that if Jesus didn’t profess to be the king of the Jews, what has He done that they desire His life?
‘Of’ the Greek word ek meaning out from. Christ’s kingdom is not from this world. His kingdom is from heaven. It will be an earthly kingdom when the Millennium begins (Dan. 2:44; 7:13-27; Zech. 14:1-21; Rev. 5:10; 11:15).
‘Thou say that I am’ – a common expression for “yes, it is so.” Jesus was born to be a king and He came into the world to bear witness of the truth. All who are of the truth hear and obey Him.
‘What is truth?’ Pilate was no doubt confused by all the religions and philosophies clamouring for recognition. He did not stay to get an answer and in this, he is like millions today who do not honestly seek to know the truth but follow every wind of doctrine that comes along. Christ is the truth and anyone who finds Him and obeys Him will know the truth (8:32-36; 14:6).
‘He went out again unto the Jews’ this is the second time Pilate left the judgment hall to reason with the Jews (18:28-29). This time he declared the innocence of Christ as treason.
‘Will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ Pilate thought surely they would wish the release of Jesus instead of a common criminal, but this only gave them further occasion to demand the death of Jesus (18:40).
‘The King of the Jews’ this insincere taunt of Pilate about their king only led them to retort by the threat of high treason against Pilate himself (19:12). ‘Robber’ the Jews chose a highway robber and a murderer instead of Messiah.