Are you asking this for yourself, Jesus counters, or because others have told you so?
Hey, Pilate answers, I’m not a Jew. Your people and nation brought you here to me. What’s the deal?
My kingdom isn’t of this world, Jesus says. If they were, my servants would fight for me.
Kingdom, huh? Are you a king, then?
So you say, Jesus answers. This is why I was born, to speak the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.
And Pilate delivers that line, What is truth? and goes out to tell the Jews he can’t find anything on which to convict Jesus.
Not only that, but in stronger terms. He is innocent.
Throughout the rising and falling drama of the next hour or two, Pilate says it two more times. He is innocent. I find no fault in Him!
He knows the Jews want Jesus killed, and he’s trying hard to get out of it. He even tries sloughing off the job onto Herod, who’s at first excited to see Jesus, since he’s hoping to get some kind of magic show out of it. In this case, Jesus answers not a word. Disappointed, Herod joins in with his guard in mocking and abusing Jesus, and they send Jesus back to Pilate, dressed in a kingly robe designed to further mock Jesus’ claims.
This is when Pilate orders the scourging. Even then, you can hear the exasperation in his pronouncement, Behold the man.
Look at Him.
By now He’s endured spitting and smacking and punching. Lies, malice, and mockery. All in silence, except for his cryptic statements to one Roman governor.
And Pilate caves to the crowd. Since when is Rome a democracy? Or swayed by the threat of riots?
By now I think Pilate was scared spitless. Caught between the under-rulers of a conquered nations and the appeal of a wife who begs him not to have anything to do with sentencing Jesus, himself arrested by the otherworldliness of this Man who wouldn’t even plead for his own life—indeed, who said you would have no power at all over me if it hadn’t been granted you—who wouldn’t be spooked by that?
Astonishing, though. A hardened Roman official, who made it his business to clear out anyone stirring up trouble in this little province. Wouldn’t he have jumped at the chance to make an example of Jesus?
Yet, he doesn’t. Very strange.
And the Untame Lion continues walking the road toward His destiny as the ultimate Passover Lamb ...
13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. (Luke 23, NKJV)
(first posted March 23, 2014)