Before Pilate, Herod and the Crowd:
On the Path to the Cross, Jesus stood before Pilate and Herod. A Biblical examination of their dealing with Jesus will allow the Holy Spirit to give us a clear understanding of unrepentant mankind’s response to God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ.
It is interesting that Pilates wife was given a dream which troubled her enough to send a message to him, “Do not have anything to do with this innocent man.” (Matthew 27:19) Pilate knew that it was out of envy the Sanhedrin handed Jesus over to him. (Matthew 27:18) Pilate nor Herod found no basis of accusations that would warrant Jesus being put to death. (Luke 23:4; 13, 15, 16, 20, 22) The Bible says, “Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to the [Sanhedrin]” (Luke 23:20) three different times. (Luke 23:22) Pilate said, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. After examining Him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any charges against Him. Neither did Herod, for he sent Him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.” (Luke 23: 15, 22) Matthew tells us when Pilate saw he was getting nowhere he stood before the crowd, “[he] washed his hands with water and said, ‘I am innocent of this Man’s blood. It is your responsibility.'” (Matthew 27:24) The whole crowd responded, “His blood is upon us and our children.” (Matthew 27:25) The beloved John tells us when Pilate heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, he “even became more afraid.” (John 19:8) While Pilate spoke with Jesus he recognizes his God given authority, “Do you realize I have power to free you or crucify you?” (John 19:10) Jesus sets the record straight, “You would have no power over Me if it were not given to you from above.” (John 19:11) The Bible says, “wanting to please the crowd, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15)
Thus the sin of Adam is still manifesting itself, man relinquishing his authority to please someone else. (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3 – The Fall) Just as Adam had the authority to say no to Eve, Pilate and Herod had the authority to set Jesus free. But their hard hearts caused them to be guilty of not believing in who Jesus was, thus they did not do what is right when it was evident Jesus was not guilty nor worthy of death.
God has placed mankind in places of authority, they have the power and freedom to do what is right in accordance to God’s Word, yet they let the influences of the crowd move them to please personal interest. Thus we see the legalization of shedding innocent blood (abortion), the approval of sexuality (homosexuality, transgender, fornication, multiple marriages) which pleases the view of mankind, not God. Hard hearts are embracing that which is evil, calling it good and calling what the Bible says is good, evil. There is that old falsehood which got it start with Eve, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1)
The outcry of the crowd today has not changed, give us that which supports any rebellion to God’s truths and crucify any truth which is pleasing to God. Anyone who proclaims God’s truth in regard to what is misleading mankind today it at risk of public ridicule, mocking, and despising. There is nothing more pleasing to a world view than to make it difficult to preach and teach God’s Word as it pertains to mankind’s temptations and trials. Addressing these influences would bring sinful mankind to the Cross of Christ, pointing sinners to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
We see the hardness of people who are religious, but not surrendered to Christ in their lives. So hard hearted were the Jews at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion they said, “His blood is upon us and our children.” (Matthew 27:25) A people who knew the teaching of the Old Testament, they had read of God’s chastisements time after time. God moved other nations to take them captive because of their rebellion and sins. (Warnings from Israel’s Past, 1 Corinthians 10: 1-1; Ezekiel 21:24-27 Babylon as God’s Sword of Judgment; Genesis 6:5; Deuteronomy 29:24-26; 2 Chronicles 7:19,22; Jeremiah 18:9-10) They had seen their children not follow the ways of God time and time again. (Judges 2:10-15) Now they are calling down curses upon them and their children. Even in modern times we have read of the Holocaust of the Jews (The Lexham Bible Dictionary) and there will be coming attacks on the Jewish people up until the last days. (Luke 21:25-36) Exodus 20 holding the Ten Commandments shares a frightening truth which should had been a warning to the Jews at Jesus’ trial before the unbelievers, as well as us. “…punishing the children for the sins of their parents until the third and fourth generations…” (Exodus 20:5b)
We all need to walk in a reverent fear of the Lord, we must not let our children see in us a willful disobedience to God’s Word. When we slip into a sin, our children must have an understanding that we are seeking the Lord not only for forgiveness, but also His empowerment to overcome that sin that so easily beseeches and entangles us.
As Jesus stood before Pilate, the Roman governor who authorized the crucifixion of our Lord said, “…for this reason I was born into and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of the truth listens to Me.” (John 18:37b) The truth (ἀλήθεια alḗtheia) relating the word of truth (God’s Word) which moves people to live a life of integrity before God and Christ which is enabled by the Holy Spirit of Christ.
(Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B, p. 243). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers; Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 378). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) Truth is realizing a person may be academically right and theologically correct but still lack integrity in life. This is often seen among those who serve in governmental positions as well as in appointments of religious positions. (The New American Commentary)
The Bible says Pilate “retorted” (NIV) “What is truth?” (John 17:38) Here is Jesus, the full embodiment to of truth and Pilate misses the opportunity of full repentance. It is believed Pilate’s question was not genuine. The Bible does not record him waiting for an answer to his question, but he quickly walks out to the Jewish crowd. (John 18:38) Jesus has answer for those who would retort, “What is truth” – “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:47)
Christians are called to teach and live God’s truths for all to see like Jesus did. (Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Bible; Ephesians 4:25) Where is your heart in regard to Jesus and the cost He paid for the sins of the world? Do people see in one who walks in the crowd, crucifying the truths or clinging to the whole truth of God’s Word?