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John 18:28-40

The Gospel of John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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v 28) Before Pilate

As we had discussed last week: Jesus was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane to Annas.
Annas was the high priest from 6-15 A.D. Four of his sons would hold that same title, and his son-in-law was the current high priest. Even the Talmud (is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and theology) doesn’t paint him in a good light either. He was the man that was pulling the strings in the religious realm.
Once Annas was through with speaking to Jesus he was sent to Caiaphas the true high priest.
Jesus would have a trial before Caiaphas in two parts. The first was a hastily gathered assembly of the council recorded in Matthew 26:57-68. The second was the official, daylight meeting of the Sanhedrin Luke 22:66.
Jesus being questioned and interrogated by Annas and Caiaphas this was the religious trial and it now comes to an end. The civil trial is about to begin.
The Gospel of John mentions only that Jesus was sent to Caiaphas, and then Caiaphas sent Jesus on to Pilate. John focused on the appearance of Jesus before the Roman leader, Pontius Pilate.
The scene is the hall of judgment or the palace of the governor. The Jews did not want to go into the palace of the Gentile. They felt that they would have been defiled and would thus be prevented from eating the Passover.
What is so shocking about that is that it didn’t bother them that they were plotting the death of the Son of God.
It would have been a tragedy for them to enter a Gentile house, but murder was a mere trifle.
“O impious blindness! They would be defiled, forsooth, by a dwelling which was another’s, and not be defiled by a crime which was their own. They feared to be defiled by the praetorium of an alien judge, and fear not to be defiled by the blood of an innocent brother.” -Augustine
It is really quite common for a person who is overzealous about rituals to be remiss about morals.
The statement: “so they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.” introduces a controversy, namely this- was the Last Supper a Passover meal, and was Jesus crucified on the Passover or the day following?
The statement here in John seems to indicate that Passover was the coming day, the day Jesus would be crucified and that the Last Supper was the day before Passover.
Yet several passages seem to indicate that the Last Supper was a passover meal Matthew 26:18
Matthew 26:18 ESV
18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ”
Mark 14:12 ESV
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
Mark 14:16 ESV
16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Luke 22:15 ESV
15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
The best solution to this difficult chronological problem seems to be that Jesus was crucified on the Passover, and the meal they had the night before was a Passover meal, held after sunset, which is the start of the day in Jewish reckoning.
We can speculate that Passover lambs were sacrificed on both days, a necessity due to the massive number of lambs sacrificed in Jersualem at the temple on Passover.
Josephus described later, that the number of lambs sacrificed was more than 200,000.
Bishop Pearce supposed that it was lawful for the Jews to eat the paschal lamb any time between the evening of Thursday and that of Friday. He conjectures too that this permission was necessary on account of the immense number of lambs which were to be killed for that purpose.

vv 29-32) Religious leaders accuse Jesus

The religious leaders had reason to expect a favorable result as they brought Jesus to the Roman governor.
Secular history presents Pilate as a cruel, ruthless man, completely insensitive to the moral feeling of others.
Pilate had married the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus. According to historians, “if it weren’t for his influential connections through marriage, he would never have come even to the relatively insignificant post he held as procurator of Judea.”
Philo, the ancient Jewish scholar from Alexandria described Pilate: “ His corruption, his acts of insolence, his rapine, his habit of insulting people, his cruelty, his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity.”
He was a weak man who tried to cover up his weakness by a show of obstinacy and violence… his period of office was marked by several savage outbreaks of bloodshed: Luke 13:1
Luke 13:1 ESV
1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
[30]Pilate spoke directly to the matter at hand, consistent with Roman character. He demanded to know the accusation.
How does the people respond?
They had his cooperation in making the arrest. Now they apparently expected that he would take their word for it that the man the Romans had helped to arrest was dangerous and show be put to death.
It is important to note that when the Romans conquered Judea they removed their right to preform capital punishment.
[31] The Jew’s answer was bold and rude. They said, in effect, that they had already tried the case and found Him guilty. They wanted Pilate to do was to pronounce the sentence.
Pilate response to their evasion by telling them to resolve the matter themselves. It they would not bring Pilate an accusation that mattered to him, then they would have to judge Him according to their own law and not bother the Romans.
John doesn’t record it, but eventually the religious leaders did give a more specific answer to Pilate’s demand for an accusation: Luke 23:2
Luke 23:2 ESV
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”
Their answer was evidence of their bondage and subjection to a Gentile power.
It also demonstrates that all men not just the religious rulers were in bondage to something. For all men it was the bondage to sin, to which Christ is going to the cross for.
There were times when the religious leaders risked the disapproval of the Roman authorities and executed those they considered guilty without permission: Acts 7:54-60
Acts 7:54–60 ESV
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Here records one such execution by stoning.
The religious leaders may have also pressed for crucifixion to bring the curse of Deuteronomy 21:22-23
Deuteronomy 21:22–23 ESV
22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
upon Jesus . He did bear that curse, to redeem us from the curse of the law: Galatians 3:13
Galatians 3:13 ESV
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
[32] This verse may have two different meanings:
in Matthew 20:19, Jesus had predicted thatHe would be delivered up to the Gentiles to be killed. Here the Jews were doing that very thing to Him.
Matthew 20:19 ESV
19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
In many places, the Lord said that He would be “lifted up” (John 3:14, 8:28; 12:32, 34) This referred to death by crucifixion the Jews used stoning in cases of capital punishment; whereas crucifixion was the Roman method. Thus, by their refusal to carry out the death penalty, the Jews unknowingly fulfilled these two prophecies concerning the Messiah: Psalm 22:16
Psalm 22:16 ESV
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—

vv 33-35) Pilate questions Jesus

v 36) Jesus’ kingdom

vv 37-38) A discussion on truth

vv 39-40) Pilate tries to release Jesus

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