John 18:28-40

June 10, 2017

The Jewish leadership brought Jesus before Pilate and declared Him an “evildoer” who deserved to be put to death (John 18:28-32).  The hostile Jewish leadership felt compelled to bring Jesus to Pilate because the Romans did not permit them to kill anyone through their own system of jurisprudence.  The Jewish leadership sought religious purity by not going into the Gentile courtyard, yet their actions to lie against Jesus and to seek His death reveal defiled hearts given over to sin.  Had the Jews killed Jesus by stoning, it would have resulted in broken bones, which would have contradicted biblical passages that said none of His bones would be broken (Ps. 34:20; cf. 22:16-18; John 19:36-37).  Thus, in their sin, the Jewish leadership accomplished the will of God by turning Jesus over to the Romans that He would die by crucifixion rather than stoning (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28).  It is generally true that hasty trials are born out of lax morals.  Pilate would not kill Jesus on the grounds of Jewish laws pertaining to blasphemy (see Mark 14:55-64; cf. John 19:7); so the Jewish leadership manufactured new charges against Jesus that would have upset Rome (Luke 23:1-2).  Pilate then asked if Jesus was a King as the Jewish leadership said (John 18:33).  Jesus confirmed that He is a King, but His kingdom did not originate from this world and everyone who accepts divine truth accepts Him (John 18:34-37).  Pilate did not perceive Jesus as a threat to Rome and declared Him innocent (John 18:38; cf. 19:4; Luke 23:14-15).  Pilate should have released Jesus right away; however, he sacrificed justice by keeping Jesus under arrest and offering to release a known criminal, Barabbas, in His place.  The Jewish leadership rejected Pilate’s offer and kept demanding Jesus be crucified, while Jesus kept quiet (Matt. 27:12-14; 1 Pet. 2:21-23).