When the Temple guards and Jesus reach the governor’s mansion, they stand outside the gates and demand an audience with Pilate. They refuse to enter his home, because it is illegal for Jews to enter the home of any Gentile (non-Jew) – in doing so, they will be defiled. With this being the beginning of Passover, they do not wish to be defiled, because then they will not be able to take part in the celebration. Word is brought to Pilate that there are some Temple guards waiting to see him outside the gates, something about a criminal. Pilate goes out to see what the trouble is, and the guards tell him that they have brought him a prisoner who they wish to be sentenced to death. Pilate asks, “What are the charges?” Some of the leading priests from the Sanhedrin have tagged along with this group and now push their way up to the front. “This man is a fraud! He claims that He is our King and our Messiah, the Son of God! He is telling the people that they should not pay their taxes to Rome.” Pilate knows who Jesus is. He has been watching Him through his spies for the past three years. He knows that this last part of the priests’ accusation is not true, because if it was, Jesus would have been arrested long ago. But he plays along, not wanting to cause a riot, especially when Jerusalem is so overflowing with Jewish pilgrims for the Passover festival. Pilate looks at Jesus and asks, “Are You what they say, the King of the Jews?” Jesus counters him with, “Are you asking for yourself, or for them?” Pilate waves his hand in front of Jesus’ face, saying, “I am not a Jew! I have no patience for these religious squabbles. The religious leaders of Your own people have brought You to me to be tried. What did You do to make them hate You so much?” Jesus replies, “My kingdom is not of this world. If I were to rule here, I would have allowed My friends to fight the guards who came to arrest Me last night.” Pilate says, “Aha, so You admit that You call Yourself a king!” Jesus says, “Those are your words. I AM here in this world as a man to show the people of this world the Truth. Whoever loves truth will know that I speak the Truth.” Pilate turns back to the priests and says, “I find no fault in this Man. If you want Him put to death, do it yourselves.” “But we have no authority to do this apart from Rome!” the priests argue. “He is a dangerous Man. We need to be rid of Him, and quickly, before He starts a rebellion!” Pilate looks at Jesus and says, “Do You hear what they are saying against You? Do you have anything to say for Yourself?” Jesus simply looks at him, staying silent. Pilate is taken aback. He expected Jesus to defend Himself, not to just lay down and let them walk all over Him. The priests say, “He is teaching rebellious principles everywhere He goes – from Galilee to Jerusalem!” Pilate has been looking for a way to get them off of his property without having to sentence Jesus to death, and now here it is. “Galilee, you say? Well, then, He’s Herod’s responsibility. Take Him to Herod!” Herod spends much of his time away from Jerusalem, but happens to be in residence at his Jerusalem palace now. The priests and guards march Jesus to Herod’s estate and begin again. Herod is excited. He has been hoping for an opportunity to meet Jesus. He’s heard so much about Him and has been very curious. He asks Jesus many questions, hoping to see Him perform a miracle, but Jesus remains silent. The priests attempt to make their case against Him once more, but Herod sees no reason to kill the Man. He and his soldiers begin to make fun of Jesus, putting a robe around His shoulders and calling Him “King of the Jews.” But in the end, Herod simply waves Him off and sends the group back to Pilate.
Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-11, John 18:28-37