Eyewitness to Easter: Pilate, Questioned Jesus

We’ve been looking at Easter through the viewpoint of others. This time we are going to take a look from Pilate’s viewpoint. All four of the gospels give an account of Jesus trial before Pilate. I’ll primarily be using the account found in Luke and supplement with the other accounts.

Jesus has been arrested and taken before the chief priest during the night.

“And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.”  {Mark 15:1}

“Our Lord Jesus was condemned as a blasphemer in the spiritual court, but it was the most impotent malice that could be that this court was actuated by; for, when they had condemned him, they knew they could not put him to death, and therefore took another course.”   {Matthew Henry Commentary}

Morning has come and the chief priest meet and decide to take Jesus to Pilate. The bound his hands as they lead him away to Pilate.

“Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate.”   {Luke 23:1}

All of the scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees take Jesus to Pilate. Probably as they went along the crowd grew.

“They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”  {John 18:28-29}

They wanted to enjoy the Passover but could not partake if they wen inside. So Pilate came out and asked why they’d brought the man and what they were accusing him of. 

“Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”  {John 18:31-32}

From the beginning, Pilate did not want to be bothered by that mater. He told them to judge him themselves but they could not put him to law.

“And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”  {Luke 23:2}

The chief priest tell Pilate lies about Jesus.

“And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”  {Luke 23:3}

Jesus never gives a direct answer. When asked he says “You have said so”.

Art thou the king of the Jews? Dost thou pretend to be so, to be that Messiah whom the Jews expect as a temporal prince?”—“Yea,” saith Christ, “it is as thou sayest, I am that Messiah, but not such a one as they expect.”  {Matthew Henry Commentary}

“And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.”  {Mark 15:4-5}

Pilate tries to get Jesus to say more but he refuses.

“Christ’s kingdom is wholly spiritual, and will not interfere with Caesar’s jurisdiction.”     {Matthew Henry Commentary}

“Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”  {Luke 23:4}

Jesus has done or said nothing in which they can find guilt.

“The obvious criminal character of Barabbas serves as a foil to Jesus’ obvious innocence. But now the crowds, stirred up by the chief priests, turn against Jesus, so Pilate’s plan to release Jesus fails. The result is an implicit portrait of Jesus’ vicarious death.” {Asbury Bible Commentary}

“But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.””  {Luke 23:5}

“ It was a great surprise to Pilate, when he found the people so much under the influence of the priests, that they all agreed to desire that Barabbas might be released.” {Matthew Henry Commentary}

The chief priest stirred up the people.

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