RESURGAM 2020 - Journeying through the 14 Stations of the Cross
Station # 5 - Jesus before Pilate
The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas... [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified. (Mark 15: 1-5, 15)
The Sanhedrin had no power to condemn Jesus to death, that power resided with their Roman overlords, so they bound Jesus and brought Him before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. The Chief Priest accused Jesus “of many things” before the Governor in an attempt to persuade him that Jesus was a dangerous insurrectionist, certainly an enemy of the people and Rome.
Had their accusations been merely “religious”, that Jesus had made a claim to be God, Pilate would have dismissed them, so they framed the accusation with references to their beloved promised Messiah. They accused Jesus of claiming to be “ a King to the Jews”, an imposter, a revolutionary, one whose sole aim was to lead a violent insurrection in the country. He had even threatened to “tear down the Temple”. Such a man should not live.
It is so sad that the Priests, in their rage against Jesus, should choose to trample underfoot their most precious hope. They hoped for a Messiah, just not this one, and though they believed that Messiah would one day come and liberate Israel from its invaders, on this day, they simply could not sanction such an idea, not in front of the Romans anyway.
Pilate looked at the man before him. This was not a man of war, this was not a man who spat and kicked and railed against his accusers. This was not a man who showed disdain for Rome. He simply stood there, fully at peace, as though he were about to be honored, not condemned.
Pilate addressed Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” “What have you done?” Pilate was perplexed, he knew something was not right here, he had tried to extricate himself from this situation, but was forced to make a judgment. Who was this man?
Jesus responded, with a calm and assured voice, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:36
The King of Kings is standing there, bound and bloodied, yet He is undeterred by what is taking place around Him. Why? Because His life is fixed in another realm. Jesus could be at peace because He was not bound by the restrictions and circumstances surrounding Him. He had “overcome the world” John 16:33
This is how we learn to be overcomers; we replace our love for the world and all that is in it with a deep love for God and His Kingdom. Peter says that we are “aliens and strangers in the world” 1 Peter 1:1, 2:11, our citizenship is of another country, a Heavenly one. To be overcomers we need to join Jesus where He is, then we can stand in the middle of a crisis and remain perfectly at peace. "Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2:15-17 The Message
Pilate was perplexed, “so, you are a King then?” Jesus replied “You say [correctly] that I am a King. This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears and listens carefully to My voice.” John 18:37 AMP
This was not the conversation Pilate thought he was going to have. Jesus was not angry, He was not defensive, He did not seek to cast a derogatory cloud over His accusers. In fact, He spoke …. like a King, He acted …. like a King ..... and He spoke of truth.
There is only one thing that matters …. And that is Truth. Money doesn’t matter, our position doesn’t matter, possessions do not matter, only the Truth. When you have the Truth you have everything. Jesus came in order to bring Truth into the world. He came to model the Truth and proclaim its worth. He came to draw human beings back to God and restore our relationship with Him. His Word is Truth John 17:17. When you know the Truth, it sets you free John 8:32. You can be bound to the restrictions of living in this world, or you can embrace the Truth and be free from them. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4 Do you see that “everything we need” God has given us, in His Promises, everything we need, and that covers everything. When you have everything you no longer have any need. That is the power of Truth, it sets you free.
Pilate had no time for “truth”. “What is truth?” “Who cares about the truth?”
He did, at least to some degree. He didn’t understand Jesus’ words, but he could smell the stench of deception that had been brought in on the shoes of Jesus’ accusers. He would fix this, he would use the people to set Jesus free. He went to the balcony and shouted “There is a custom that a man should be set free at this time. In the jail is Barabbas, a criminal, a thief, a murderer, should I release him or should I release Jesus?” Pilate could have chosen any criminal in jail, but he chose Barabbas and thought to himself, “no contest”.
The crowd, stirred up by the Priests starting shouting, “Barabbas, give us Barabbas”. The blood drained from Pilate’s face, “Are you insane ?” he cried. They shouted all the more, "give us Barabbas, crucify Jesus".
Ever the corrupt politician, Pilate chose to follow the crowd. With a heartless disregard for the truth, he announced his verdict: “Take Jesus away ...... crucify your king”.
With that, he washed his hands.