Pilate Defends Jesus

John 19:8-15 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and said unto Jesus, Whence are thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then said Pilate unto him, Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou could 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. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou are not Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 

‘More afraid’ Pilate was torn between two fears: that of offending the Sanhedrin and the populace who would file formal charges against him to Caesar, and perhaps cause immediate rebellion; and that of killing an innocent man, a miracle-worker, a prince and an offspring of Deity, and one whom he had been warned of by his wife (Matt. 27:19) and his own growing conviction not to have a part in His death.

‘Whence are thou? … Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?’ The first question concerned whether He was a real offspring of Deity or not. Was this man, who was so different from all others he had ever seen, really a supernatural being? Christ gave no answer, so he threatened boastingly of his power to release or crucify Him.

‘Thou could have no power at all against me, except it was given thee from above’ Jesus answered Pilate that he could not do one thing unless God willed. It was a sin for him to condemn Christ, for he was convinced by his conscience of His innocence; but the Jews have the greater sin, because they wilfully sin against Jesus.

‘Thenceforth Pilate sought to release him’ Pilate sought all the more to release Him, but the Jews now brought up the accusation of high treason to force his decision. They wanted to accuse him to Caesar for preferring another king to his own emperor.

‘Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar’ they hated Caesar, but they hated their own Messiah more.

‘When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth’ when Pilate heard their accusation against him of high treason, he brought Jesus out before the Jews again and made his fifth attempt to deliver Him (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6, 12-14). He knew that Tiberius was one of the most jealous and distrustful rulers in the world and that during his reign accusations and conspiracies were plentiful, being founded on foolish pretences, and being punished with excessive rigour.

‘Judgment’ the Greek word bema, a stone platform in the open court in front of the Praetorium; the place of final sentence (Matt. 27:19; John 19:13; Acts 12:21; 18:12-17; 25:6, 10, 17). Used also of the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2Cor. 5:10). ‘Gabbatha’ a raised pavement higher than the rest of the pavement. ‘Sixth hour’ about 12:00 midnight.

‘Away’ the Greek word airo, the same word translated “take up” serpents in Mark 16:18. It is never used in the sense of making a side show or demonstration to prove faith, but it means to remove, destroy, and put out of the way by death, as in Matthew 22:13; John 1:29; 19:15; Acts 21:36; 22:22; 1John 3:5.

‘We have no king but Caesar’ deeper and deeper these religious people were going into sin and rebellion – choosing an enemy instead of a friend, satan instead of God, and eternal damnation instead of eternal life.

Jesus Questioned

John 18:19-24 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why ask thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answer thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 

‘Asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine’ they questioned Him as to His authority of collecting disciples, forming a different sect, preaching new doctrines and setting Himself up as a reformer. Annas perhaps was seeking something whereby he could legally accuse Him, but he found nothing. All this was at night, which was contrary to the law of the Jews. The Talmud says, “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day” (Sanhedrin c, iv, s. 1). If a person was condemned the sentence could not be until the next day. No judgment could be executed either on the eve of the sabbath, or the eve of any festival. All these laws were broken in the trial of Christ which was in the night, on the eve of the passover, and the eve of the special sabbath of the feast – on Tuesday. It had been predicted that justice and judgment would be taken away during His trial (Isa. 53:8; Acts 8:33).

‘I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.’ Jesus has spoken openly to all people, in synagogues in the cities and even in the temple at Jerusalem, and has said nothing in secret. If they have not heard Him, they could have asked those who have. They and their spies have watched Him everywhere. Jesus has said nothing contrary to the law and the prophets [the name of the Old Testament]. He has not disturbed the state by rebellion. He asked that they would judge Him righteously according to their laws if He has done something wrong.

‘One of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand’ – this was an outrage against justice, for a prisoner before trial and condemnation were under special protection of the court. This is the fifth definite law of justice and judgment broken before the trial really got underway. They sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death, this was contrary to their law which required them to begin a trial with those things that would acquit the accused, not with those things that made for his condemnation. In this case, not one thing was sought that would acquit Christ. They were determined to kill Him so they looked for every excuse possible, not realizing they were fulfilling prophecy. Not any two witnesses agreed on any one point of accusation, yet they condemned and killed the only sinless man that ever lived.

‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smite thou me?’ – a Christian is bound to bear injuries and injustices without revengeful retaliation; but he is privileged, even by the example of the Lord, to call to question such mistreatment. This does not break the law of Matthew 5:39.

‘Now Annas’ all of this happened in Annas’s presence. John omits the trial before Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57-68).

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith work patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

Be joyful when you are going through a trial since it will produce the right fruit IF you choose to keep on trusting and relying on God (Heb. 11:1) instead of looking at your circumstances and reacting to what you feel or see.  Remember that we are tempted by the enemy to sin against God, thus guard your heart against complaining. Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7).

Two blessings come of perfect patience: personal perfection in the knowledge of the gospel and the will of God which will have a direct effect of you being without spot or blemish when you are perfect in your actions and reactions (Mat. 5:48; 2Tim. 3:17); and personal completeness in all graces and gifts of God.