Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pilate Allows Jesus To Be Crucified

John 19:1-22

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.  And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.  Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” (John 19:1-5)

John writes the events as he remembers them.  Luke tells us that after concluding Jesus was Innocent, Pilate sent him to Herod, because he was a resident of Galilee.  It was obvious the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem were determined to have him executed.  It there were outstanding warrants against Jesus in Galilee, Herod could deal with them and allow Pilate to escape having an innocent man executed or causing a revolt.  Herod’s conclusion was the same as Pilate’s, but in an effort to appease the Jews it was Herod who had Jesus abused by the soldiers, violating his rights.   When that didn’t appease them, Herod sent him back to Pilate as he was the one responsible for what happened in Jerusalem.   His choice was between the lesser of two evils.    

“When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.  Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.” (John 19:6-13)

Pilate finally brought Jesus to them telling them to take him and crucify him if that’s what they wanted.  They insisted it wasn’t what they wanted but what their law required, which made the problem worse for Pilate, setting Jewish law against Roman law, since he was a Roman governor.  He knew he would be held responsible if he allowed them to prevail.  After Jesus told him that the primary fault would be the Jews, rather than Pilates, and that even the Roman authority came from God, Pilate worked desperately to free him.  Finally the Jews threatened to accuse him of treason for supporting a man who claimed to be a king without Roman approval, and Pilate capitulated.  

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.

Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?

The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:14-15)

It was about noon when Pilate released Jesus to them, announcing him as their king.  They refused to take him, demanding he be crucified. And Pilate asked why they wanted him to crucify their king.  For over seventy years, the Jews had been fighting against Roman rule, yet at this point they stated they had no king but Caesar. 

“Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.” (John 19:16-18)

Pilate finally authorized them to execute Jesus, using Roman soldiers, and he was taken out to be crucified, carrying his cross to Golgotha.  He was fastened to the cross with ropes and nails were driven through his hands to prevent getting his hands free.  Two thieves were executed at the same time. 

“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.” (John 19:19-22)

It was customary when a person was crucified to post a sign stating the crimes for which he was being executed.  Pilate wrote that Jesus was the King of the Jews, and the Jewish leaders demanded it be changed to say he claimed to be the king of the Jews.  In one final act of defiance, Pilate refused to make the change.  He obviously resented being forced to execute a man he believed was innocent.  

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