There could never be a great time in history when a very crucial question needs to be answered than the one Pilate had asked the Jews. One question that could change the course of human race when answered with a sincere pure heart. There might be in the crowd who possessed that longing to spare Jesus but they were outnumbered by the voices of evil spirits driven hearts. The intense fear even trembled their body and silenced their voices as what happened to Pilate. Haven’t you wonder when you’re present that time, will your voice be heard? Counted with the majority or will never be heard as those in minority? Let us reminisce those questions made before the Savior was crucified!
When Rome is in great power; the Roman Emperor Caesar appointed Herod as King of Judea also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Jewish client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. The Jews same as other Roman controlled nations had to bow down and submit their loyalty to the Roman Emperor.
These intriguing questions are very important and wonderful to look back as we embrace them personally:
Pilate: Are you the king of the Jews?
This was his first look at the Man the religious leaders claimed was dangerous. Yet, Pilate’s question revealed doubt. He asked this question because Jesus didn’t look like a revolutionary or a criminal. Pilate had seen these kinds of men before, and knew Jesus was not like them.
Jesus answered: “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?” Jesus wanted to know if Pilate really wanted to know or if he asked the question on behalf of those who already condemned Jesus. The answer could be different depending on where his question came from. Jesus wanted to know if Pilate had asked personally for that’s what He longed for him to do. Jesus wants us to approach Him as we are, and accept Him just as He is. For in this action opens up relationships between Him. Jesus is King to whatever your race will be, for in Him all are equal. No Jews or Gentiles in His Kingdom!
Pilate: Am I A Jew?
Pilate asked in curiosity why Jesus would be subjected to him a Roman leader. As a Roman, he had no interest in Jewish spiritual or social ideas. It is not lawful for Romans to put anyone “a Jew” to death. These Jewish religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, and the Romans did not allow them to execute the guilty under their own law. When the Jewish leaders did put someone to death in this unauthorized way, it was generally by “stoning,” but they wanted the Romans way of death which is by “crucifixion.” That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled: Their demand that Jesus die a Roman death of crucifixion would fulfill Jesus’ own words (if I be lifted up, John 3:14). If the Jews had put Jesus to death in Jewish way, He would have been stoned to death and this prophecy about the manner of His death would not have been fulfilled.
Pilate: What have you done?
Pilate simply understood that if the religious leaders wanted Jesus dead, He must have done something wrong and he wanted to find out what that was. “Strange to ask the Prisoner what He had done! It had been well for Pilate if he had held fast by that question, and based his judgment resolutely on its answer!” (Maclaren) For a grateful one this has so much answers of what Jesus has done. He has done more than what you can asked for!
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” We may imagine that Pilate was relieved and satisfied to hear that the kingdom of Jesus was not from here. Pilate may have concluded that Rome therefore had nothing to fear from Jesus and His kingdom. Romans thought they knew about kingdoms and their might; that armies, navies, swords, and battles measured the strength of kingdoms. What Jesus knew was that His kingdom — though not of this world — was mightier than Rome and would continue to expand and influence when Rome passed away.
Pilate: Are you a king then?
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Jesus did not deny that He was a KING He insisted that He was BORN a KING and to be a different kind of KING. He came to be a KING OF TRUTH that He should bear witness to the truth. This was the statement that interested Pilate. He didn’t mind religious leaders among the Jews, even crazy ones, as long as they kept the peace and did not challenge the rule of Rome. A rival king might challenge, and Pilate wanted to investigate this.
Pilate: What is truth?
The progression of this conversation made Pilate believed the innocence of Jesus and he’s seeing there’s truth in Him. Many in our day ask Pilate’s question, but from a different perspective. Noting that many things are true only on the basis of personal preference or perspective, they think all truth is personal, individual in one’s mind. They think what makes you happy is the truth; for them there is no “true truth” about God; there is only “my truth and your truth” and one is as good as the other. Though this thinking is strong in our days now it denies truly the claims of Jesus when He said: “ I am the Way, the Truth and the life.”
Pilate: Do you therefore want me to release to you the king of the Jews?
Pilate hoped this custom of releasing a prisoner might help deliver this Man whom Pilate knew was innocent. The crowd rejected Jesus and chose Barabbas instead. Pilate hoped they would spare Jesus, but the crowd instead condemned Him. When the crowd chose Barabbas instead of Jesus, it reflected the fallen nature of all humanity. The name Barabbas sounds very much like son of the father. They chose a false, violent son of the father instead of the TRUE SON of the FATHER. This prefigures the future embrace of the ultimate Barabbas — the one popularly called the Antichrist. People today still reject Jesus and choose another. Their Barabbas might be lust, it might be self and the comforts of life.
“This mad choice is every day made, while men prefer the lusts of their flesh before the lives of their souls.” (Trapp)
Pilate: Where are you from?
Jesus gave him no answer!
Pilate wanted Jesus to defend Himself and give Pilate more reasons to let an innocent Man free. He wanted Jesus to explain what made Him different than the dozens of other prisoners Pilate had judged. Yet Jesus already told Pilate that He was King of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36); Jesus already said where He was from. Therefore, Jesus gave him no answer. Though he already had the answer, one could say Pilate asked the right question.
Pilate: “Are you not speaking to me? Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and power to release you?
Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus would not speak to defend Himself. He couldn’t believe that Jesus would not beg for His life as many others had done. Pilate also couldn’t believe that Jesus was not awed and intimidated by the power he has. The general silence of Jesus before His accusers and judges fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7: “And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” A GREAT POWER CAN WEAKEN A FOE EVEN IN ITS SILENCE.
Pilate: Shall I crucify your king?
We sense panic in the Roman governor. The panic was greater when his wife told him to let the accused free because of a dream she had (Matthew 27:19-20). He knew Jesus is innocent, and he felt guilty to let them crucify their King. The Jewish religious leaders and the crowd knew Pilate’s weak point and they pressed upon it by shouting the more and proclaiming the Roman emperor’s name. “Humanly speaking, the mention of Caesar sealed Jesus’ fate.” (Morris). How many times in your life that you need to compromise your faith in order to stay in place of your career, status and luxurious life?
“You may do today exactly what Pilate did. He is simply an example of a man who lacks decision of character, who does not possess the courage of his convictions, who tries to compromise with wrong, who disobeys conscience through fear of personal loss.” (Erdman)
“We have no king but Caesar!” Surely for those who are leading to destruction you have no Great King to rely on but one whose eternally been in eternal damnation with you! Your mouth speaks your wretched fate!
“because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:” Romans 10:9 ASV
Behold the Man!
(John 19:5-6) Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd. Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
Behold your King!
The crowd rejects Jesus and Pilate sentences Him to death. Pilate offered this sacrificial Lamb before the people. He may have meant to mock Jesus and the crowd, presenting a thorn-crowned, bloodied and beaten Man with a purple rag across His ripped-open back as their King. The crowd saw Jesus in all His misery and dignity yet still they kept shouting by screaming, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” There are times when people are angry enough with God and His goodness that they think or wish Him dead. It is far more common for people to simply want God to disappear; for people to wish away with Him, away with Him!
“Driven by hate, they deliberately disown their Messianic hope, and repudiate their national glory. They who will not have Christ have to bow to a tyrant. Rebellion against Him brings slavery.” (Maclaren)
As times nearing to its end have all those questions been answered already in your life? Has Jesus answered those questions that keep troubling you? Or are you still confused and driven with fear? Those Jewish people missed the wonderful things to be with Jesus but were entangled by a strong forces of the enemy in battle with Jesus. As Jesus uttered on the Cross: “ IT IS FINISHED!” Questions are all answered! He already conquered the enemy, He won the BATTLE! HE IS OUR KING!
David Guzik Bible Commentary