JESUS BEFORE PILATE
And they took Jesus from the palace of Caiaphas the High
Priest to the palace (called "praetorium" in John's Gospel) that
Herod the Great built for himself, and which became the palace
that the governor of Judea resided in when on duty in the Holy
Land. The governor at this time in history, over the area, was
Pilate, who had risen in the ranks of the Roman Empire, and for
his faithful dedication to the world power of Rome, was appointed
governor of Judea by Tiberius in 26 A.D. The governor of Judea
usually resided in Caesarea, but Pilate moved his headquarters
and army to Jerusalem. He was there quite often, and especially
it was the custom for the governor of Judea to be at Jerusalem,
when the feasts of the Jews were being celebrated, to make sure
peace and order was preserved.
It was very early in the morning of the 14th day of the
first month, which corresponds to our March/April. They brought
Jesus before Pilate. The Jews themselves would not enter the
palace of a Gentile, or anyone they considered a Roman Gentile,
especially just hours before they would partake of the Passover
which they held, by traditions from the Pharisees, on the 15th of
the first month, which was actually the first day of the seven
day feast of Unleavened Bread. For them to have entered this
palace would have been a religious "defilement" and would have
kept them from the Passover they were to observe in about twelve
It was Pilate who first came out to them, probably not
pleased at all that Jews had got him up so early in the morning,
concerning what he would have thought as "their religious
"You have brought this man before me, for what reason? What
is he accused of? Pilate said to the Jews.
They answered, "If this man was not an evil doer, we would
not have brought him to you."
"Why don't you take him yourself and judge him by your laws
of Moses?" returned Pilate in a straight crisp tone of voice.
The Jews replied, "It is not lawful under Roman law for us
to put a man to death."
The Jews made various accusation against Jesus, and Pilate
somewhat listened to them. Jesus did not try to defend Himself
against their accusing vicious remarks. After a while Pilate told
the Jews to be quiet, and turning to Jesus said, "Do you not hear
how many things they testify against you? Are you not going to
defend yourself and answer them?"
But Jesus made no attempt to answer the Jewish Sanhedrin
members. And Pilate was greatly impressed, and was amazed at
Jesus' cool composure, under the onslaught of Jewish accusations.
The Jews then said to Pilate, "We found this man perverting
our nation, and forbidding us to give taxes to Caesar, and saying
that he himself is a king." Now Pilate pricked up his ears and
stood tall, when this was said about the man they had brought
before him. Pilate would now want to speak in a private manner to
the man called Jesus. He entered the palace and called to have
Jesus come before him, and then asked this question to Christ,
"Are you indeed the King of the Jews? Do you claim to be a KING?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did
others, like those Jews outside, say this about me, and put this
idea in your mind?
Pilate replied, "Am I a Jew? Your own people and the chief
priests have handed you over to me as a criminal; what have you
Jesus replied, "My Kingdom is not of this age and time, you
have nothing to fear. If my Kingdom was of this age and time,
then would my servants fight, that I would not be handed over to
the Jews so they could have me put to death. My Kingdom and
Kingship is not of this world and age."
"So you are a King then?" Pilate said to Jesus.
"You have said it, that I am a King," Jesus said, "For this
reason I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to
bear witness to the TRUTH. Every one who is of the truth hears my
Pilate looked at Jesus in wonderment, and said, "Well, what
indeed is truth?"
The governor Pilate, spent some years in the British Isles
under the schooling of the famous Druids, who were quite well
respected by Rome. The Druids were well known for asking the
question "What is truth?" They would spend much time in debating
that question. So when Jesus said He had come to bear witness to
the truth, it was very natural for Pilate to have replied with
"What is truth?"
We know from Jesus' own words as He prayed to the Father
earlier that night, that truth is the WORD of God. Jesus had
said, "Your word is truth" (John 17: 17).
Pilate was very impressed and somewhat awe struck by this
man called Jesus. He walked back outside to the chief priests and
the other Jews, and said, "I find no fault in this man!"
That is NOT what the Jews wanted to hear. Those were the
last words they wanted Pilate to say. And so they were more
urgent and pressing in their words to Pilate, saying such things
as, "This Jesus, stirs up the people, teaching throughout all of
Judea, from Galilee even to this city."
When Pilate heard the word "Galilee" he asked if Jesus was
from Galilee. And on hearing that He belonged to the jurisdiction
of Herod, he immediately saw a way out from the problem before
him, a way out so he thought. He would send Jesus over to Herod,
who just happened to be in Jerusalem at this time (Mat.27: 2,
11-14; Mark 15: 1-5; Luke 23: 1-5; John 18: 28-38).
JESUS BEFORE HEROD
Herod was delighted to meet Jesus, for he had heard about
Him for a long time, and was hoping to see some kind of miracle
performed by Jesus. Herod questioned Him at some length, but
Jesus made no answer, which then upset Herod, for the chief
priests and scribes and others from the Sanhedrin stood by,
vehemently accusing Him. Herod was displeased with the whole
scene, but especially with Jesus, after waiting for so long
a time to meet Him.
Herod and his soldiers finally treated Jesus with contempt
and mocking laughter, then, putting on Him some very expensive
apparel (mocking Him as a King) they sent Him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate that day became very good friends, whereas
before that day they were at enmity and had disdain for each
other (Luke 23: 6-12).
JUDAS HANGS HIMSELF
Judas saw all that was going on, first with Pilate, then
with Herod, and now back with Pilate. Deep remorse and sorrow
filled his heart. Satan had by this time left him. He brought
back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the
elders, saying to them, "I have sinned in betraying innocent
blood." Things just did not go the way Judas expected. Jesus was
not defending Himself or using His mighty power to crush His
The chief priests and elders said to Judas, when he returned
the money and declared Jesus to be innocent, "What do we care
about what you say. See if you can do anything about it now! It's
And so throwing down the pieces of silver Judas departed
from the Temple, and straight away went and committed suicide by
The chief priests and elders now had the thirty pieces of
silver. What would they do with them was the big question. One of
them said, "It is not within our law to put this money into the
Temple treasury, since it is now 'blood money'." They sat with
each other to figure what to do. They decided to use the money to
buy a no good piece of land called "the potters field" in which
strangers were buried, people who no one knew where they were
from, or who were their relatives. Somewhat like what we today
call "homeless" or "street" people. That piece of land then
became known as "The field of blood." All this was done that the
words spoken by the prophet Jeremiah might be fulfilled, saying,
"And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on
whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they
gave them for the potter's filed, as the Lord directed me."
Jeremiah never wrote down those words. They are not
contained in the Old Testament book called Jeremiah. They are
words that Jeremiah must have said at one time, and others took
note of them and one way or another had preserved them and
handed them down from generation to generation (Mat.27: 3-10).
BACK BEFORE PILATE
Jesus is now back before Pilate at the palace built by Herod
the Great. Jesus is inside being questioned again by Pilate. The
Jews are outside, not going in lest they be "religiously" defiled
(entering the palace of a Gentile) and would not be able to
observe the Passover which they kept on the 15th day of this
Pilate goes out to the Jews, and says to them, "You brought
me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after
examining him, I find this man not guilty of any of your charges
against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to me. There
is nothing done by this man that is worthy of death. There is no
crime done by this Jesus. I will chastise him some, and then
The Jewish leaders, now supported by many people who had
become disgruntled and impatient with Jesus (because He had not
brought them together and used His mighty power to overthrow the
Roman armies), immediately, upon hearing Pilate's words, began to
shout and cry out at the top of their voices, that they wanted
Jesus condemned to death.
Pilate was shocked at their reaction, was speechless for a
moment, then an idea flashed into his mind, that he hoped would
spare the innocent Jesus. It was the custom at Passover time that
the governor release a prisoner, one of their own choosing. In
prison at this time was a notorious fellow by the name of
Barabbas. He had killed people in an insurrection or uprising
against Rome. He was also a robber of some fame.
"Whom do you want me to release for you? Shall it be
Barabbas or shall it be Jesus who is called the Christ?" Pilate
called out to the Jews.
Now he knew very well that they had delivered Jesus up to
himself because they were envious of Him. Then, besides that,
while he had been sitting on the judgment seat, questioning
Jesus, his wife had sent word to him, saying, "Have nothing to do
with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today
in a dream."
The chief priests and elders had already persuaded the
people to demand that Jesus be destroyed and Barabbas released.
They knew that Pilate might resort to this tactic, so they were
prepared for it. Pilate once more shouted out to them, "Which of
the two do you want me to release to you." He himself was hoping
they would say it was Jesus they wanted to have released.
But the crowd shouted back, "Release to us Barabbas!"
Pilate then said to them, "Well, what shall I then do with
Jesus who is called the Christ?"
All with one voice loudly proclaimed, "Let him be
Pilate could not believe what he had heard, "Why crucify
him, what evil has he done? I have found nothing in him worthy of
death," he replied to the crowd.
The crowd ignored his question and shout even more loudly,
"Let him be crucified!"
When Pilate saw that he was gathering no ground, but rather
that a riot could well break out, he took a water bowl and washed
his hands before them all, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of
this man; see to it yourselves." And all the people answered,
"His blood be on us and on our children." (Mat.27: 15-26; Mark
15: 6-15; Luke 23: 13-25; John 18: 38-40).
And so it was that Barabbas was released to the Jews, while
Jesus was handed over to them, to be crucified. And Jesus' blood
was indeed upon them and their children. That generation with
their children, did not repent as a whole from the sin they
committed, and their attitude led them into huge troubles with
the Roman authorities over the next 40 years. It finally
culminated in the Roman general Titus bringing his armies against
Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and destroying most of the city, and the
CONCLUSION OF JESUS' TRIAL
Pilate told his soldiers to take Jesus into the palace. He
then called for all the whole battalion of soldiers to come and
be present while Jesus would be "scourged." The scourging that
Roman soldiers did was often VERY brutal, so brutal at times that
many people did not live passed being scourged. They used a whip
that had little bones attached to the long thong strips of the
whip. These little sharp bones would tear the skin apart on the
back and around the sides of the person being scourged. It was
most brutal a whipping, was the Roman scourging, and there was no
limit as to how many whip lashes could be inflicted.
Jesus was of magnificent bodily health and strength, and He
did live through the scourging, but much skin and blood was lost
from His back and sides. The soldiers were not finished with Him
yet. They stripped Him of what clothes He had and put on Him a
purple cloak and then a crown of plaited thorns was placed on His
head. They put a reed in His right hand. Then they began to
salute Him, some kneeling before Him in mockery, and saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
Some took turns beating on His head with a reed. The sharp
needles of the crown of thorns were now being hammered into
Jesus' scull. The pain...well you can imagine if you ever have
had a thorn needle stuck in your hand.
The soldiers also spat upon Jesus and hit Him with their
fists as they continued to mock Him for quite some time.
Pilate took Jesus back out to the railing mob of Jews
outside the palace. "Look, I am bring Him out to you so you can
know that I find no fault or crime in this man."
Jesus stood there wearing the crown of thorns smashed into
His head and the purple cloak. Pilate again said, "Here is the
man." When the chief priests and the elders and those of the
Sanhedrin, saw Jesus, they cried out with frenzied voices,
"Crucify him, crucify him!"
Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him;
for I cannot find any fault or crime in this man."
The religious leaders shouted back, "We have a law, and by
that law he should die, because he has made himself the Son of
When Pilate heard those words he was even more afraid. He
hurried Jesus back into the palace again and said to Him, "Where
are you from?" But Jesus did not answer. Pilate therefore said,
"So you will not speak to me. Do you not know that I have power
to release you, and power to crucify you?" Jesus then answered,
"You would have no power over me unless it had been given to you
from my Father above; therefore he who delivered me to you has
the greater sin."
Pilate was by now very upset and certainly afraid, and sort
even the more to release this Jesus, but the Jews cried out, "If
you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who
makes himself a King sets himself against Caesar."
The Jews were now resorting to every "political" angle they
could think of, to insure Jesus would be crucified.
When Pilate heard these last words from the Jews, he brought
Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place in the
palace called the "Pavement." All was in full view of the mass
of Jews and the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin. It was the
"preparation" day as the Pharisees Jews called it, the day they
prepared for the keeping of their Passover on the 15th day. It
was still the 14th day of the first month and it was about the
3rd hour (as it should be, not the 6th hour as the KJV gives in
the Gospel of John, which was an error, as the original Greek
manuscripts say "it was the third hour"), which was as we count
time, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your King!" They answered,
"Away with him, away with him, crucify him!"
Pilate replied, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief
priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
Then Pilate had the purple coak taken off Jesus and His own
clothes put back on, and handed Jesus over to the Jewish leaders
and the mob of people, for them to crucify Him. The prophecies of
how the Messiah would die were now quickly coming to pass
(Mat.27: 27-31; Mark 15: 16-20; John 19: 1-16).
Written January 2003