18 Apr. John 18:28-40

18 Apr. Pilate condemns Jesus to death

"Early in the morning [of Friday 7th April 30AD] they led Jesus from Caiaphas's house to the Roman governor's palace. They [the Jewish chief priests] would not go inside the palace, because they did not want to make themselves [ritually] unclean [by mixing with Gentiles]; they wanted [to be ritually clean] to eat the Passover meal."

"So Pilate went outside to them, and asked, 'What charges do you bring against this man?' They answered, 'If he wasn't a criminal we wouldn't have brought him to you.' Pilate said, 'Take him yourselves and judge him by your own [Jewish] law.' 'But we are not allowed to put anyone to death', the Jews answered..."

"Then Pilate went back inside the palace and called Jesus to him and asked, 'Are you the "King of the Jews"?' Jesus said, 'Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?' Pilate answered, 'I am not Jewish. It was your own people and their leading priests who handed you over to me. What have you done wrong?'"

"Jesus answered, 'My kingdom does not belong to this world... But my kingdom is from another place.' Pilate said, 'So you ARE a king!' Jesus said, 'YOU are the one saying I am a king. This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the TRUTH. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.' Pilate said, 'What is TRUTH?'"

"After he said this, he went out to the Jews again and said to them, 'I find nothing against this man. But it is your custom that I free one prisoner to you at Passover time. Do you want me to free the "King of the Jews"?' They shouted back, 'No, not him! Let Barabbas go free!' (Barabbas was a 'robber'.)

          (John 18:28-40)



At around 7.30am on 7th April 30AD ('Good Friday'), Jesus was taken back to Pilate’s residence at Herod’s Palace. (See 6 on the map on 10 April).

The chief priests refused to enter the palace – the home of a Gentile – as they would become ritually ‘unclean’ and unable to celebrate the Passover festival.

Pilate was perplexed by the truth when Jesus said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (John 18:36). He could find no basis for the anti-Roman charge brought against Jesus, so he offered to release him.

The Jews, however, were furious that Pilate called Jesus, ‘the King of the Jews’ and demanded the release of Barabbas, a nationalist rebel – a not-so-subtle threat that they, too, were prepared to rise up against the authority of Rome. 

If we read on in John 19:1-16, we find that Pilate had Jesus flogged and continued to argue with the Jews. He had already angered the Jews on several previous occasions.

He’d used the Temple Tax to build a new aqueduct to bring water to Jerusalem, and when Jewish objectors had shouted him down, he’d ordered his soldiers to club them to death (see Luke 13:1).

Pilate had also offended the Jews by setting up Roman standards (‘signa’ – staffs adorned with pagan symbols) in Jerusalem, some bearing an image of Tiberius Caesar who was worshipped as a god. Forced to back down on that occasion, Pilate was now in danger of provoking a Jewish rebellion and a complaint about him to Caesar.

So he eventually gave way under extreme pressure when the Jews threatened his authority by chanting “you are no friend of Caesar” (John 19:12). Pilate washed his hands of the whole affair, and condemned Jesus to death from his judgement seat at Gabbatha, the raised platform above the stone pavement outside Herod’s Palace.

The photo shows an actor playing Herod (left) questioning and condemning Jesus (right) during the Birmingham Passion Play held on the streets of Birmingham, UK, on Tuesday 16th - Thursday 18th April 2019. 

You can find out more about any of the events of Holy Week @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/6-jesuss-last-journey-to…/

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