The Jews had already arrested Jesus in the Garden, but had no authority to execute anyone.
In John, there are three stages of Jesus’ trial, before the court.
- Arrested, bound, brought to Annas
- v.24 Still bound, brought to Caiphas
- v.28 Brought to Pilate
If we see all the four gospels, Matt, Mark, Luke, John, there are 6 stages
- Before Annas (retired High Priest) as preliminary hearing. (Jews thought, “once a HP, always an HP”) They tried to prove that Jesus and doctrine were against the Law. Jesus, “All I’ve done was in public, nothing in secret.”
- Brought to Caiphas – “Are you the Christ? The Son of God?” Jesus, “Yes, you will see in the future, me at the right hand of God.” Caiphas tore his clothes, and yelled, “You are worthy of death, why more witnesses? You should die!” And they spit and slapped and struck him.
- Brought to Sanhedrin (Supreme Court) – before the Sanhedrin, they decided to kill Jesus (although that was not the purpose, to judge, but rather to justify their preconceived notions about Jesus).
- Brought to Pilate – “He claimed to be a king.” Pilate – “Are you?” Jesus – “Yes.” He was afraid and didn’t want to judge, heard he was Galilean, so, sent him to Herod.
- Herod had long wished to see Jesus’ miracles. But Jesus did nothing before him, though he asked many, many questions.
- Back to Pilate.
First three stages were before the Jewish leaders.
Second three stages were before the Gentile political leaders.
Pilate was in office from AD 26-36. He was in charge of Judea. From these trials, we can see that he was weak, compromising, fearful.
At that time, Rome’s motto was, “Let justice be done, even though the heavens fall.”
Pilate was not concerned about justice, just to protect his job, his position.
Three times he said, “I find no charge against him, he is innocent.” But he refused to release Jesus.
v. 28-29 At that time, entering the house of Gentiles was unclean – they could not enter a Gentile’s house (where they took Jesus for trials – they literally pushed him in, but they kept outside). If they entered that house, they would not be able to participate in the Passover Feast or other ceremonies.
So, Pilate kept coming in and out and talking to them.
Inwardly, the Jews kept the traditions and ceremonial laws, but inwardly, they were full of murderous intent. Hypocritical.
v. 32 – “This happened so that the word Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.”
They’d already decided to kill Jesus, but they couldn’t do so – they needed permission of the Roman government. Jewish captial punishment at the time was stoning – they could do it without the permission of the Romans. Roman capital punishment was crucifixion.
So, they absolutely needed the permission of the Roman government. Why did they choose to crucify Jesus and not stone him?
If they wanted to stone him, they could do so immediately. Why? To fulfill the prophecy of Jesus.
Several times, Jesus predicted his going to Jerusalem and his arrest, trial, and handing over to the Gentiles, as well as his death and resurrection.
Jesus’ sacrificial death is absolutely essential for our salvation. The method was already laid out by God for several reasons.
4 Points why it had to be crucifixion
#1 – Accuracy of long-standing prophecies
(None of the Messiah’s bones would be broken – Ps.Isa., he would be pierced – Isa.53)
#2 – It combined the Jews and Gentiles in a conspiracy of death – meaning the guilt of the death of Jesus was upon the Jews AND Gentiles – the entire world. Therefore, the entire world, all men for all time, are guilty and accountable for the death of Jesus.
#3 – It visualized and actualized an Old Testament illustration (Num 31) – On the way to Canaan, they disbelieved God, complaining of no food – so God sent snakes which killed many. They said, “We’ve sinned, we’ve sinned.” So Moses prayed, and God told him to post a bronze? snake on a post and anyone who was bitten by a snake would need to look up at the snake on the stake to be saved.
Only one way to be restored and healed fully – to look up to Jesus Christ on the cross.
#4 – It symbolized God’s commanded form of death for anyone who is under God’s curse. Galatians 3:5 – Christ redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us, because it is written “Cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree.”
In the remaining verses, Pilate asked a clear question “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “I am A King, but my kingdom is not of this world…anyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Pilate, “What is truth? (veritas?)”
Jesus asked also, “Is that your own idea? Or did others tell you?”
What kind of king to you have in mind? Religious/political/secular, Jewish/Roman?
Now, looks like it’s not Jesus on trial, but Pilate on trial.
He made 4 attempts in dealing with Jesus.
#1 – He tried to put his responsibility on someone else (sent him to Herod, tried to give him back to the Jews) – but judging Jesus was his job as governor.
**No one can deal with Jesus for us, in our place. We must deal with him personally, directly.
#2 – He tried to find a way to release Jesus, “It is your custom for me to release one prisoner at the time of Passover, do you want me to release the King of the Jews?”
**There is no escape from a personal decision in regard to Jesus Christ. We ourselves must decide what to do with Jesus – accept him or reject him.
#3 Tried to compromise/negotiate/bargain with Jesus and others. In the next chapter, he flogs Jesus in order to satisfy the accusers and then release Jesus. Here is a big self-contradiction. He said with his mouth, “He is innocent – there is no basis for charges against him.” But with his actions, he flogged Jesus.
**We cannot negotiate with Jesus in this world, we cannot compromise with him, we cannot bargain with others about Jesus. We cannot serve two gods. We either love or hate him, believe or disbelieve, faithful or unfaithful. If we say with our mouths “Jesus is Lord and King” yet don’t acknowledge that in every area of our lives, that means there is a self-contradiction in our lives.
#4 – He tried to appeal to the sinner’s (Jew’s) emotions. “Shall I crucify your king?”
**We cannot escape from our personal decision in dealing with Jesus Christ. Our eternal destiny rides on this decision. Don’t push it off, ignore it, bargain. Make a decision.
Is Jesus king to you?
If so, we must put Jesus, his kingship, his kingdom first in all areas of our lives – before anything else in our lives.
Christmas season = the King’s COMING season. Jesus did not become a king when he became an adult, he WAS a king when he was born.
Matt 2 – Magi came, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star, and we have come to worship him.”
The first thing they did was bow down, worship him, gave their presents.
From this story, we can know that true worship must be followed with offerings. True worship is not acceptable without offerings. God says, “When you come to me, do not come empty-handed.”
So, how can we make the Christmas season more beautiful? Biblically, spiritually, the most meaningful, blissful, is to offer him (our king) our best gift from our treasures. What is the best gift? The souls of the lost as living sacrifices.
If Jesus is king really and truly, then we are the royal family (in heaven), we are princes and princesses.
Several days ago, I heard that Kate (UK) is pregnant.
Very normal, and natural. Why is THIS one so impressive?
Yes, my wife was pregnant too, but there was no news on the TV about that.
Why is that such big news?
She is the royal family in England.
That baby is called a royal baby, a prince/ess.
If you give birth to a born-again baby, that baby is a royal baby in this kingdom eternally. Because of that baby, there will be a huge party! International, heavenly news!
There is more rejoicing, more joy over one royal baby than 99 regular babies.
So, we must do our best to constantly give birth to royal babies in God’s kingdom – and save the lost.