• Post comments:0 Comments

The apostle John, writing much later than the other gospel writers—after the destruction of the Jewish nation and its temple—emphasized even more the efforts Pilate made to release Jesus, and hence the greater culpability of the Jews for insisting he put Jesus to death.  Back and forth Pilate went, fearful of the ramifications of failing on their feast day to appease the Jewish leaders upon whom he depended to maintain the Pax Romana, but also fearful of putting Jesus to death in Whom he found no guilt, and Who was clearly an extraordinary person of very noble birth.  After threatening Jesus with the authority he had to crucify him in order to tell him where He was from, Jesus turned the threat back upon Pilate by reminding him that the authority he had came from above, with the implication that he would be held accountable for the lawful use of that authority.  Jesus also noted the greater sin of the Jewish leaders who had delivered Him up to Pilate, which also intimated that Pilate himself would not be without sin for his part in putting Jesus to death.  What does John record that Pilate did in response to Jesus’ answer that confirmed all the more that there was much more to Jesus than met the eye, and he ought not to have anything to do with Him as his own wife had warned from her dream (Mat 27:19)?  See Joh 19:12, and notice the NAS text note that gets at the imperfect tense used: Pilate kept looking for some way to release Him; see also Mat 27:22-23.

What did the crowd of Jews led by their chief priests and officers say as Pilate was making efforts to release Jesus, that John indicates was the turning point for Pilate to give in to their demands?  See Joh 19:12-16, and note that “friend of Caesar” may have been a title at the time that conferred upon Pilate political support from the emperor that he depended on for his position, but which may have become tenuous due to the changing political landscape, as well as his own shortcomings.  In what way was Pilate like so many today in regarding the cost too high to do what he knew to be right, and choosing instead what he believed was the safest and most beneficial action for him personally?  What does the ignominy heaped upon Pilate throughout history for choosing as he did remind us about the truth of Christ’s words in Mat 16:25, and what it means to lose one’s life for Christ’s sake?  Consider also the bitter irony of the Jews’ argument that ultimately prevailed in winning Pilate over to have Jesus put to death: Although seeking the Messiah from God to save them from the Roman tyranny, they themselves not only surrendered Him to them out of envy, but demanded they put Him to death for claiming to be their King and thus opposing Caesar from whom they sought release; see esp. Joh 19:15.  What does this again remind us about the horrifying and self-destructive nature of sin that is so deceitful as to completely mislead even the most religious of men to utterly reject the very salvation for which they had hoped?  How does this also help us to understand how much greater the salvation was that Christ came to bring than just deliverance from the Romans, and the central importance deliverance from sin is to true salvation?

Even as Pilate sat down on the judgement seat, what two final things does John record that he spoke that can be understood as a final plea to save Jesus, and the response from the chief priests that can be understood as both their final rejection of Jesus as well as the capstone piece of evidence against them in heaven’s court?  See Joh 19:14-15.  Similarly, what final action does Matthew record that expressed Pilate’s desire to not be responsible for Jesus’ death, and the response of “all the people” that accepted the responsibility for it?  See Mat 27:24-25.  What might Pilate’s desire to set Jesus free as well as his words to the crowd in Joh 19:14 indicate about his own acceptance of Jesus’ claims in the sense that they were true?  Cf. Joh 18:36-37 and see also Joh 19:19-22.  In this light, recall Pilate’s words to the crowd in Joh 19:5 after scourging Jesus, “Behold the Man”, that sought to illicit their pity and so spare Him; what might his similar words in Joh 19:14 have sought to illicit from them as a last-ditch attempt to spare His life?  And yet, as Pilate made every effort until the very end to persuade the Jews to allow him to release Jesus (see his possible description of Jesus as just or righteous in Mat 27:24 KJV and the NAS text note), in what way did the Jews, incited by their religious leaders double, triple, and quadruple down on insisting he put Jesus to death?  See again Mat 27:25, Joh 19:15.  What does this teach us about the great danger of a mob mentality?  To whom does John even say that Pilate specifically delivered Jesus to be crucified?  See Joh 19:16; cf. Luk 23:25.  From the gospel record, what then can be said about the culpability of the Jewish nation in regard to the death of Christ, especially considering that the pagan governor Pilate made such efforts to release Him as a clearly righteous man?  What apologetic affect regarding the fear of God would such an understanding have upon both believers and unbelievers alike, especially at the time John wrote after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of its glorious temple?  Cf. Rom 11:20-22.  Do we fear God, understanding that if He did not spare the unbelieving Jewish nation that doubled down on its rejection of the truth, neither will He spare an unrepentant church that does the same?  Cf. Rev 3:1-3, 17:5,16, 18:1-4.

Leave a Reply