Morning Bible Study
We have gone
through the night when Jesus was arrested, and we are in the early hours of the
First Trial before Pilate
As I’ve mentioned before, John doesn’t always tell the story the same way
the other gospel writers do. There’s a reason for this – John is writing thirty
years later, and so John’s gospel is all about filling in the gaps that the
other gospels didn’t cover.
When we put all
the gospel accounts together, we find that Jesus actually had quite a few
“trials” before being crucified.
He was tried
before Annas, sort of the “godfather” of the high priests.
Jesus to Caiaphas, the actual high priest, where Jesus faced an official Jewish
trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council.
John didn’t record the trial before Caiphas. He only mentioned it in
Jesus to Pilate, and we pick up the story with Jesus’ first of two trials
:28 Then they
led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they
themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but
that they might eat the Passover.
– praitorion – A Latin/Roman word. This
was originally the name for the commander's tent or house in a Roman
are differing views among archaeologists, we think in Jerusalem this was the
structure known as the Antonia Fortress.
The Antoinia Fortress
was built by Herod the Great when he renovated the Temple Mount and enlarged
the Temple. It was built on the corner of the Temple Mount and had towers that were tall enough
to look over the Temple walls into the courtyard.
The idea was
for the Romans to have the ability to monitor what was going on in the Temple
without having to actually go into the Temple (which would upset the Jews).
map vid) Normally the Roman governor spent most of his time in the coastal city
of Caesarea. But during Jewish high holidays like the Passover, it was common
for the Roman governor to stay in Jerusalem to keep an eye on things.
When you visit
Israel, there’s a church built over the spot that used to be occupied by the
Antoinia Fortress. When
you enter the church, they take you downstairs to the “stone level”, the level
that dates back to the time of Jesus. There are pavement stones dating back to the time
of Jesus. Some even
have Roman games etched into the stones.
This is the place where Jesus stood on trial before Pilate.
:28 early morning
– remember that the rooster has already crowed. When Peter denied Jesus the
third time, the morning rooster started crowing.
:28 that they might
eat the Passover
There were some rules concerning the celebration of the Passover, and one
of them had to do with being “clean” in order to participate in the Passover (Num. 9)
These Jewish leaders didn’t want to become contaminated and “unclean” by
coming into the Gentile Praetorium.
They wanted to be able to participate in the Passover supper.
Do you see the
They didn’t want to “miss out” on the Passover.
Yet Jesus Christ was the actual fulfillment of the Passover.
The Passover was how God delivered the nation of Israel out of their
slavery in Egypt.
family would slay an innocent little lamb and sprinkle it’s blood on the
doorposts of their house.
When the Angel of Death came by in the night, their houses
were all spared because of the blood.
Jesus was like
that Passover Lamb, a perfect sacrifice whose blood would save us from death,
if we will learn to cover or sprinkle our hearts by believing in Him.
John the Baptist described Jesus:
(Jn 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
(1 Co 5:7b NKJV) …For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
The Passover was not only an actual, historical event, but it was also a
It painted a picture of the Messiah, the Lamb of God who
would take away our sins.
These religious men were blinded by their own religiousness. They were concerned about
their religious Passover, when
the actual Passover Lamb was standing before them. They were “self-deceived”.
Jenkins, a soprano, loved to sing—especially the great operatic classics. She
inherited money when she was in her 50s, which funded her musical career. It
wasn’t long before her popularity skyrocketed, holding annual recitals at the
Ritz-Carlton in New York throughout the 1930s and 40s. But as one writer puts
it, “History agrees, with hands held over its ears, that she couldn’t sing for
sour apples. Jenkins’ nickname, behind her back, was ‘the Tone-Deaf Diva,’ or ‘The Terror of the High C’s.’”
The writer adds that if you ever hear one of her old recordings, all that you’ll
hear will be “squeaks, squawks, and barks.”
Play a sample
video/audio of Ms.
But get this:
she didn’t ever grasp that she was bad! When people laughed and hooted as she
sang, she took it to be delirious enthusiasm for great music. She thought they
loved her and her music.
In 1944, when she was 76-years-old, she did a benefit concert for the armed
forces at Carnegie Hall in New York. Thousands lined the streets to get tickets,
and the performance sold out in minutes. The recording of that concert is still
the third most requested album from Carnegie Hall recordings, punctuated by a
painful rendition of “Ave Maria.”
What can we learn from Ms. Jenkins? People will say, “It doesn’t matter
what you believe, so long as you’re sincere.” But it does matter. Belief
must match reality, or it is laughable, a delusion, “self-deception”
The religious leaders
of Jesus’ day were “self-deceived”. They
thought they had all their “god” bases covered.
They were looking to be “clean” for the Passover, when the actual Passover
Lamb Himself was standing in front of them.
Why do you do
“religious” things? Why do you go to church? Why do you take communion? Why do
These are pretty important questions.
There’s something inside us that likes religious things.
Some people just don’t feel complete unless they see
stained glass, hear organ music, and listen to a man dressed up in fancy robes
say things they don’t really understand.
God didn’t make you to be religious, He made you to know Him.
There can be value in “religious” things, but not if they keep you from
knowing the True God Himself.
Following after a man dressed in a robe isn’t a bad thing
of itself, unless you stop with the man in the robe and never actually connect
yourself to God Himself.
The Pharisees were so caught up in their religious ritual that they missed
the very One that the ritual spoke about.
:29 Pilate then
went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”
For many years, the critics used to claim that Pilate was not historical. In 1961, archaeologists
digging in Caesarea found a stone with Pilate’s name on it.
Pilate was not known as the Jews’ favorite governor.
(From Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18:3) On one occasion, Pilate moved his Roman
troops from Caesarea to Jerusalem to spend the winter there. The Jews had
pretty strict customs against having anything with any sort of images of
animals –stemming from the Ten Commandments. But Pilate had his troops bring their traditional
banners and signs that contained all sorts of animals on them. When the Jews
found out about this, they staged a protest before Pilate in Caesarea. Pilate had the group of
protestors surrounded by soldiers and threatened to put them all to death. When the
protestors said they would gladly die for what is right … Pilate was confused
about these crazy Jews. He ordered the soldiers to back off.
The point? Pilate didn’t like the Jews and the Jews didn’t like Pilate.
:30 They answered
and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up
:31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your
law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to
:32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying
by what death He would die.
:31 It is not
lawful for us to put anyone to death
In the Jewish law, there was provision for certain crimes to be punishable
But historically, somewhere around 30 AD, the Roman government took away
the Jews ability to pronounce and carry out death sentences.
Of course, it’s not that they didn’t still do it, just not officially. (Acts 7)
But here, in the case of Jesus, it is technically correct that they do not
have the authority to pronounce a death sentence.
:32 signifying by
If the Jews had been allowed to put Jesus to death, He would have been stoned.
Jewish stoning involved breaking bones.
Yet the prophecies of the Messiah’s death was that not a bone would be
broken (Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20).
Jesus had said
over and over again that He was going to be crucified, not stoned.
(Mt 20:18–19 NKJV)
—18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and
the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and
they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and
to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”
:33 Then Pilate
entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King
of the Jews?”
:34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did
others tell you this concerning Me?”
:34 Are you
speaking for yourself
It could be that Jesus is trying to find out if Pilate thinks that Jesus is
a credible threat to the Roman Empire, or if perhaps it’s just a problem that
the Jews have with Him.
It almost sounds as if Jesus is probing Pilate a little to see where he
stands regarding Jesus.
If I didn’t know better, I might begin to think that Jesus wasn’t the one
who was on trial here, but Pilate was on trial before Jesus.
:35 Pilate answered, “Am I
a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What
have You done?”
:35 What have You
It sounds like Pilate is saying, “What have You done to tick these guys
Perhaps Pilate has a little bit of compassion on Jesus, since he has ticked
off the Jews a few times himself.
(Mt 27:18 NKJV) For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
:36 Jesus answered,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants
would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom
is not from here.”
;36 My kingdom is
not of this world
Jesus is not a threat to Pilate or the Roman Empire.
His kingdom doesn’t come about by provoking rebellion against men, but by
provoking submission to God.
Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t come about by acts of violence by men, but from a
new birth from heaven.
:37 Pilate therefore
said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause
I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear
witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
:37 Everyone who is
of the truth hears My voice
This is the essence of what Jesus’ kingdom is all about.
The importance of truth
Jesus’ whole ministry has been about “truth”
Do you remember
the phrase we’ve seen several times, “most assuredly”?
words are “amen, amen”, and can be
translated, “surely” or “truly”.
We’ve talked about how it means, “Hey, I’m telling you something important here,
I’m telling you the TRUTH”.
Twenty five times in the gospel of John Jesus says this.
We live in a
world that is increasingly growing farther from caring about objective,
(2 Ti 4:3–4 NKJV)
—3 For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have
itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn
their ears away from the
truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Truth does not
equal “feel good”, it’s not about what makes you “feel” good.
(1 Jn 1:8
NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the
truth is not in us.
Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes the truth is, “I’m
wrong”. Sometimes it’s “I’m a sinner”.
Truth changes us.
(Jn 8:32 NKJV) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In context, Jesus was talking about being freed from sin.
Paul said that truth is one of the ingredients that grows us up:
(Eph 4:15 NKJV)
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the
Truth finds Jesus
The person who embraces truth will come to the realization that Jesus is
the only way to God.
(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one
comes to the Father except through Me.
:38 Pilate said
to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the
Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
:38 What is truth?
We don’t know how Pilate said this.
Was it a philosophical cynicism that nobody tells the truth anymore?
Was he frustrated at what seemed to be a philosophical reply when he wanted
It is interesting to note that Pilate doesn’t wait around for Jesus to
:38 I find no fault
in Him at all
The fulfillment of the proper Passover lamb:
(Ex 12:5 NKJV) Your lamb shall be without
blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from
You could make a case that Pilate should have released Jesus right then.
:39 “But you
have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you
therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
:39 I should release
He’s trying to go over the heads of the priests and get the crowd to vote
to release Barabbas. The problem is, people
don’t always to what you expect them to do.
Dressed for Church
The problem for Pilate is the chief priests are one step ahead of Pilate.
(Mt 27:20 NKJV) But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that
they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
Passing the buck
Sometimes we face difficult decisions, and frankly we don’t want to face
the consequences that come from making tough decisions.
We have the ability to make the choice, but instead we look to someone else
to make the decision for us so we aren’t on the hot seat.
I’m not sure this is always a good thing.
You have no guarantee that the other person is going to make the right
decision, the one that you know you should make.
Pilate will try again to pass the buck.
It’s somewhere at this point that Luke records that Pilate actually sends
Jesus to Herod, trying to see if Herod would take the responsibility of what to
do with Jesus. (Luke 23:6-7)
But Herod only ends up dressing Jesus up in a robe,
mocking Him, and sending Him back to Pilate for a second trial.
Here’s the ultimate decision that you face – what will you
do with Jesus?
You can’t look to the crowd to give you the right answer.
They’ll ask for Barabbas to be set free.
You need to be careful about looking to religious leaders.
They were the ones influencing the crowd.
You have to make the decision.
:40 Then they all
cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
:40 a robber
– lestes – a robber, plunderer; not a
cat burglar who steals secretly, but one who steals openly
Peter said he was also known as a “murderer” (Acts 3:14)
– “son of a father”
I am Barabbas
I am simply a son of my father.
Here was a man worthy of death, suddenly being released because another
man, an innocent man, takes his place on a Roman cross.
I too am a sinner
(Ro 3:23 NKJV) for
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
I too am worthy of death.
(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus took my place.
(2 Co 5:21 NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him.
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Will you give your life to Jesus?