All biblical citations not found in passages quoted from other authors are taken from the RSV translation. See copyright notice at the end of this post.
Some scholars see a concentric arrangement in this section of the Passion Narrative based upon the “outside” to “inside” movement of the characters. Peter F. Ellis, in his book THE GENIUS OF JOHN outlines it as follows:
A1. Outside, The Jewish leaders ask Pilate to condemn Jesus to death (18:28-32).
B1. Inside, Pilate questions Jesus about kingship (18:33-38a).
C1. Outside, Pilate declares “I find no crime in him” (18:38b-40).
D. Inside (???), Jesus is scourged and mocked by the soldiers as “King of the Jews” (19:1-3).
C2. Outside, Pilate declares “I find no crime in him” (19:4-8).
B2. Inside, Pilate questions Jesus about his power (19:9-11).
A2. Outside, Pilate gives in the Jewish leaders and condemns Jesus to death (19:12-16a).
The A1 section focuses on the leader’s desire to have Jesus condemned, while the closing section (A2) shows this desire coming to fruition. sandwiched between the opening and closing of the context is the account of how this desire was achieved.
In concentric arrangements (also called “chiamus”) the center section (D in the above outline) often provides an interpretive clue to the section, or a reason for it’s content. At the beginning, (A1) no specific reason is give by the leaders for their desire to have Jesus condemned; the charge comes at the end (A2): “Everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” They insist (or at least claim) that Jesus’ kingship is political in essence, but this charge has already been refuted in the section where Pilate interrogates Jesus about the nature of His Kingship (B1) and about power (B2). Pilate’s proclamation of Jesus innocence in the C1 and C2 sections highlights the nature of the leaders evil desire (A1) based upon their false charge (A2). The hinge around which the parallels are built (D) show both the absurdity of the Jewish leaders charge, and the complete an utter lack of justice exhibited by Pilate.
18:28. Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
John tells us nothing concerning what may have taken place between Jesus and Caiaphas.
The Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture: “The praetorium to which Jesus was brought from Caiphas was the residence of the governor. The procurators of Judaea, who were subordinate to the imperial Legate of Syria, resided habitually at Caesaraea, but came to Jerusalem for the great festivals or whenever a concourse or other circumstances endangered public tranquility. About Pilate’s place of residence at Jerusalem there has been a difference of opinion. The Herodian palace near the present Jaffa Gate would seem to be naturally indicated as the Jerusalem residence of the supreme Roman magistrate, and we know from Josephus (BJ 2, 14, 8; 15, 5) that a quarter of a century later the governor Gessius Florus lodged there. Pilate also by the famous incident of the shields would have signified his intention of doing so. On the other hand, the arx Antonia or vast fortress-palace built by Herod at the NW. angle of the temple area was undoubtedly the most central and best post of vigilance. Especially, when the air was electric, it would be the proper place for the Governor to lodge. Since the 13th cent. the Via Dolorosa has begun from there, and excavations made between 1927 and 1932 in the property of the Sisters of Sion seem to have given reasonable grounds for connecting this place with the Lithostrotos (stone pavement) of Joh_19:13. Probabilities in favour of the Antonia have therefore decidedly grown in recent years.”
It was early. The Greek is proi, the last watch following cockcrow. According to the Roman author/philosopher Seneca, this was not an unusual time for Roman legal action. Most scholar assign a time of about 6 AM. The reference to Caiaphas and the allusion to cockcrow may be intended to draw a connection with the previous verses, especially the sword wielding and denial of Peter. In His response to Pilate’s question, “are you King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews” (18:36). In an earthly kingdom, Peter’s sword play would have earned him a commendation, while his cowardice would have earned him an execution.
They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
Their is nothing in the Law of Moses concerning this, but it was a standard practice as the time of Jesus (see Acts 10:28), as Delitzsch has shown in his Talmudic Studies. The irony strike the reader of John’s Gospel like a hammer. Jesus is the Paschal Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, a fact unrecognized by the leaders, perhaps willfully by some of them. Their desire to avoid ritual impurity as a feast celebrating life and liberty looms stands in sharp contrast to their having taken away Jesus’ freedom, and their attempt to have Him put to death.
Augustine: “O impious blindness! They feared to be defiled by the judgment hall of a foreign prefect, to shed the blood of an innocent brother they feared not. For that He Whom they killed was the Lord and Giver of life, their blindness saved them from knowing.”
18:29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
18:30 They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.”
18:31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” 18:32 This was to fulfill the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
29. So Pilate went out. The Protestant reference work The Pulpit Commentator states: “He (Pilate) is represented by Philo as a proud, ungovernable man;…Philo speaks of Pilate’s “ferocious passions,” says that he was given to fits of furious wrath, and that he had reason to fear that complaints laid before Tiberius for “his acts of insolence, his habit of insulting people, for his cruelty, and murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending inhumanity,” might bring upon him the rebuke which ultimately the emperor gave him, in consequence of his endeavor to force from the Jews assent to his placing gilt shields in the palace of Herod.”
What accusation do you bring against this man? The Jewish leaders would not have been able to approach Pilate directly due to the Roman chain of command; a request must have been made through a subordinate of Pilate’s. This would explain how Pilate knows they have a prisoner with a charge against him, and, also, how he knows the specific charge against Jesus (18:33). Furthermore, recall that a Roman cohort had been sent to arrest Jesus, the order probably having been given by Pilate or an officer under his command. Either way, Pilate could not have been ignorant of the charge against Jesus, a fact seen in verse 33. The question “what accusation do you bring,” should be seen as a legal formality. Father John McIntyre: “Pilate demands, as Roman law required, a formal indictment against the accused. The Jews had evidently expected an immediate sentence on our Lord.” This expectation is not hard to understand in light of what was said about Pilate earlier.
The Jewish leaders testy, non-specific reply (next verse) makes sense if they know Pilate has already been informed. If all this is so, then we are justified in seeing a contrast between the leaders meticulous observance of religious law, and their annoyance with judicial ritual. According to the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, the often heated animosity that existed between Pilate and the Jews was to be blamed on both sides. The testy response of the leaders could not but have tweaked Pilate’s anger, and he will do some tweaking of his own.
30. They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.”
A blatant lie. Early, before Annas, Jesus had spoken of his open and public teaching which many could witness to; just as easily, many could witness to the evil designs of the leaders (7:25-26; 11:56-57). But St John almost certainly wants us to think of Caiaphas’ prophecy and its circumstances (11:45-53).
Some see in the response an attempt to railroad Jesus without a formal trial. The Pulpit commentator: “This was somewhat audacious. It was as much as to say, ‘We have judged, you have only to register our decision. We are not bound to go through our evidence before you.’”
The reference to the leaders handing Jesus over to Pilate here in the A1 section is reversed in the A2 section (19:16). As the Jewish leaders manipulate the Roman leader he manipulates justice, thus both he and they become guilty.
31. Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
Irony! Pilate tells them (perhaps not without contempt) to judge Jesus by the Law of Moses, but they in their turn appeal to the law of Rome, a foreshadowing of their cry in the A2 section: “We have no king but Caesar” (19:15).
32 This was to fulfill the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
Father’s Nolan and Brown: “Their refusal to judge Jesus according to their own law came to pass, adds St John, that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, in which He had foretold that He should die the death of the cross (Jn 3:14; 12:32-32; Matt 20:19). Had He been punished according to Jewish law, having been judged a blasphemer, He should have been stoned to death, according to Leviticus 24:14~’Bring forth the blasphemer without the camp, and let them that heard him put their hands upon his head, and let all the people stone him.’”
18:33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
18:34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
18:35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?”
18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”
18:37 Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”
18:38a What is truth?
33-34. Are you the King of the Jews?…Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?
I’ve never seen a biblical scholar make this connection, but I believe these verses should be seen in relation to passages such as 5:19~”Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.”” Also, 5:27~ “and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.” And 5:30~””I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”” As Jesus will point out in this sections parallel (B2 19:9-11), Pilate would have no power over Jesus if it had not been given him from above. Pilate is not here acting in accord with the governmental power bestowed by God on princes and kingdoms (Rom 13:1ff), rather, he is acting in accord with his own caprice.
Theophylactus: “He intimates here that Pilate was judging blindly and indiscreetly: If you say this thing of yourself, He says, bring forward proofs of My rebellion; if you have heard it from others, make regular inquiry into it.”
35. Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?”
Am I a Jew? Here we see Pilate’s bigotry and animosity towards the Jews, which would eventually lead to his deposition as Procurator. His question is emphatic, demanding an answer of “no,” for the mere thought of the other response sickens him.
Pilate insists that what is taking place is a thoroughly Jewish matter, but the mere presence of Jesus at the interrogation makes that a lie; indeed, handed you over to me and what have you done witness against Pilate’s claim.
36. Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”
Recalls the action and subsequent rebuke of Peter in the garden.
Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture: “Jesus does not answer this (i.e., Pilate’s) question, except by clearly defining what his kingship is. It is not of terrestrial origin. If it were, his guards— the military force which in that hypothesis he would have had—would have striven against his arrest. Consequently his kingship is not ‘from hence’ (translated “this world”)— terrestrial—and therefore he is no Palestinian rival of the majesty of Roman Tiberius”
St John Chrysostom: “He means that He does not derive His kingdom from the same source that earthly kings do; but that He has his sovereignty from above; inasmuch as He is not mere man, but far greater and more glorious than man: If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews. Here He shows the weakness of an earthly kingdom, has its strength from its servants, whereas that higher kingdom is sufficient to itself, and wanting in nothing. And if His kingdom was thus the greater of the two, it follows that He was taken of His own will, and delivered up Himself.”
For a fuller treatment of the significance of our Lord’s words, consult The Passion Of Jesus In The Gospel Of John, by Father Donald Senior, pages 80-81. The emphasis is not on space (heaven up there, earth down here), rather the differing realities of this world and the one “from above” are being described in spatial categories.
37. So you are a king…you say that I am a king. Pilate’s accusation/question is parried by our Lord, who basically admits to being a king, just not in the sense posed by Pilate.
St Augustine: “He did not fear to confess Himself a King, but so replied as neither to deny that He was, nor yet to confess Himself a King in such sense as that His kingdom should be supposed to be of this w world. He says, you say, meaning, you being carnal say it carnally. He continues, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that 1 should bear witness to the truth.”
Fathers Nolan and Brown: “In response to Pilate’s question…Jesus proceeds to explain that His is not that mighty temporal kingdom for which the Jews had hoped, and which the Romans might well fear; if it were, His followers would surely have striven that He should not be delivered to the Jews; but in truth it was not a temporal Kingdom. My kingdom is not from hence; i.e., is not of this world, not a temporal kingdom. In this world it was, and is; but of this world it is not (see 17:15-16).”
“For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.”
St Augustine: “But when Christ bears witness to the truth, He bears witness to Himself; as He said above, I am the truth. But inasmuch as all men have not faith, He adds, Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice: hears, that is, with the inward ear; obeys My voice, believes Me. Every one that is of the truth, has reference to the grace by which He calls according to His purpose. For as regards the nature in which we are created, since the truth created all, all are of the truth. But it is not all to whom it is given the truth to obey the truth. For had He even said, Everyone one that hears My voice is of the truth, it still would be thought that such were of the truth, because they obeyed the truth But He does not say this, but Everyone that is of the truth hears My voice. A man then is not of the truth, because he hears His voice, but hears His voice because he is of the truth. This grace is conferred upon him by the truth.”
Father Lapide writes that Christ came to bear witness “To evangelical truth, which mainly consists in these things—(1.) In the true knowledge of God, namely, that He is One in Essence, and threefold in Person.
“For every being is true, that is a true and not an imaginary thing, and is true in itself. Wherefore God, who is Very Being (I am that I am) is also truth, and good itself. Because His essential Being is Truth and Goodness. Again, the Son who proceedeth from the Father, as His Word, is Truth Itself, not merely of existence but of mind. Whence S. Augustine says, when Jesus bears witness to the truth, He bears witness to Himself, for He Himself is truth.
“(2.) In the knowledge of the Incarnation; namely, to know that the Son was sent into the world in the flesh, that He might save the world, and that no one can be saved, except by faith in Him (see John xvii. 3).
(3.) In the knowledge of true blessedness: viz., that it consists not in wealth, honours, &c., but in the kingdom of heaven, i.e. in the vision and possession of God. For the sum of Christ’s preaching was, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat_3:2).
“Christ says that He was born to bear witness to the Truth. (1.) To keep Pilate from wondering that He owned Himself to be a King, for it was but speaking the truth. (2.) That Pilate might learn the innocence and candour of Jesus; for in this truth consists. (3.) To remind him of the justice with which he ought to decide His cause, and that he should not be so moved by the false charges and clamours of the Chief Priests, so as to condemn Him against truth and justice.
“Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice. Those, i.e., who are studious and desirous of the truth; who earnestly and with their whole heart seek the Truth, i.e., the true God and the true Messiah, true happiness and salvation. And who when they have found it embrace it before all things beside. They are opposed to those who are “of contention” (Rom. ii. 8), who, like the philosophers of that time, are ever striving to contend, dispute, and argue. To be, then, “of the truth” is the same as being “of God.” For the Son of God is the Son of the Truth; for God is truth, according to Joh_8:47, “He that is of God heareth God’s words. Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Because, though ye are “of God” by creation, yet ye are not “of Him” by election, faith, and grace. “He commended,” says S. Augustine (in loc.) “that grace which calls according to His purpose.” For he that hath received his testimony (the testimony of the Baptist) “hath set to his seal that God is true” (Joh_3:33). And how true it is, is shown by the statements of enemies. For Josephus (Antiq. xiv. 8) writes, “At that time lived a wise man called Jesus, if indeed it is allowable to call Him a man, for He performed wonderful works, and taught those who willingly received the truth.” (Most scholars consider this an interpolation into Josephus)
“Christ tacitly answers Pilate’s objection, viz. “If Thou bearest witness to the truth, why do the Scribes and Pharisees, who profess the truth, hear Thee not—nay more, persecute Thee even to the death?” He answers, “Because they themselves are not of the truth, but of a lie. For they follow the false opinions of wealth, honours, &c., which the devil suggests to them.” See Joh_8:44.”
38a what is truth?
Down through the ages this question by Pilate has received a multitude of interpretations; but surely Father Senior is correct when he notes that the question must be seen in relation to Jesus’ words about the truth in the previous verse. He writes: “But following on Jesus’ words about the meaning of truth and the Gospel’s portrayal of Jesus himself as the Truth sent from God to illumine the world, Pilate’s words are self-condemning. He joins ranks with the religious leaders; he cannot understand Jesus or his words because he is “not of God” (8:47).”
18:38b After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him.
18:39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?”
18:40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
38b I find no crime in him. In light of Pilate’s question, “what is truth,” we must see this declaration of innocence as worthless in improving Pilate’s character. Notice what immediately follows the declaration of innocence: “But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover, will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” Only a man with no shred of decency, no commitment to truth and justice could act like this. His words are seen in an even worse light later, when he says: “Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” (19:10).
39. “But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” The custom of giving pardon to a condemned criminal at Passover is not known outside of Scripture
40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber. See comment below.
19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
19:2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe;
19:3 they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
The unwillingness of the leaders to be placated is matched by Pilate’s unwillingness to act with justice.
19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
Lapide: “That is after he had said (Luk_23:22), “I will chastise Him and let Him go.” The tradition is that He was first scourged with thick ropes, then with knotted ropes and iron scorpions, then with chains, and lastly with rods of thorns. But Ribera says that these traditions are of little account, as the inhabitants of the country have so often charged, and the old traditions were not kept up.”
The fact that a robber is released while Jesus is scourged is ironic when seen in relation to the cleansing of the temple. Jesus had formed a scourge to chase the money-changers from the Temple and now a money robber goes free as he faces scourging.
2. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; Probably a faded red military garment, purple was quite expensive. On the other hand, scarlet (Matthew’s description) and purple may have been used interchangeably.
Bede: “For instead of a diadem, they put upon Him a crown of thorns, and a purple robe to represent the purple robe which kings wear. Matthew says, a scarlet robe, but scarlet and purple are different names for the same color. And though the soldiers did this in mockery, yet to us their acts have a meaning. For by the crown of thorns is signified the taking of our sins upon Him, the thorns which the earth of our body brings forth. And the purple robe signifies the flesh crucified. For our Lord is robed in purple, wherever He is glorified by the triumphs of holy martyrs.”
19:4 Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.”
19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
19:6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.”
19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.”
19:8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
4. “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” Brilliant! Then why did you have him scourged like the commonest of criminals?
5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” The man concerning whom they had just said: “not this man, but Barabbas!”
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The crime he stood accussed of, at least as far as Pilate knew, was that he had claimed to be a king; a charge that could have a very different meaning between Jews and Romans. I speculated earlier that the charge of being a king came to Pilate via a subordinate who would have approached him to announce that the Jewish leaders had business with him. Whatever the case may be, the true charge now comes out:
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” See 5:18; 10:33, 36).
Claiming to be Son of God was not punishable under Roman law, but claiming to be a king might just get one killed by the Romans. Among the Jews, “Son of God” and “king” could be taken as synonymous terms. The fact that the Jewish leaders understood the nature of Jesus’ claim to sonship suggests that their original reticence about bringing this specific charge (Son of God) against him in a legal action involving Rome was manipulative.
8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid.
Injustice towards a man may be one thing, but injustice towards a god is another, except in Christianity, where they are closely associated and reprehended. The pagan heart of Pilate must have skipped a few beats.
19:9 he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.
St John Chrysostom: “Pilate, agitated with fear, begins again examining Him: And went again into the judgment hall, and says to Jesus, Where are you? He no longer asks, What hast you done? But Jesus gave him no answer. For he who had heard, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, and, My kingdom is not from here ought to have resisted, and rescued Him, instead of which he had yielded to the fury of the Jews. Wherefore seeing that he asked questions without object, He answers him no more indeed at other times He was unwilling to give reasons and defend Himself by argument, when His works testified so strongly for Him; thus showing that He came voluntarily to His work.”
19:10 Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”
St John Chrysostom: “He remaining thus silent, Then says Pilate to Him, Speak you not to me? know you not that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you? See how he condemns himself. If all depends upon thee, why, when you find no fault of offence, do you not acquit Him?”
19:11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
Lapide: “Thou wouldest have no power against Me, unless it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin. The best explanation of this passage is that of Jansenius, Cajetan, and Ribera. Thou couldest have no power over Me, both because I am innocent, and because I could deliver Myself, if I so willed; But My Father willed that I should submit to thee, in order to the work of redemption, and accordingly permitted thee to give way to the Jews in this matter, and to exercise thy power over Me. But this thou wouldest not have done, unless they had accused Me. Their sin is therefore greater than thine.”
19:12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.”
Lapide: “He had sought to do so before. But he now more especially did so, after he had heard that He was the Son of God; fearing to incur the vengeance of God on condemning Him. The fear of Cæsar, however, prevailed over the fear of God. The Gentiles reckoned many sons of the gods, whom they worshipped as demigods.”
19:13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
The Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture has this on verses 12-13~”12. After the last word of Jesus—’And from this’ is both temporal and logical—Pilate tried to release him. He is deterred by the threat of denunciation to the emperor. Not to be ‘a friend of Caesar’ was a serious matter, when the Caesar was Tiberius who, as Suetonius informs us, was atrociously severe where there were suspicions or charges of treason’judicia maiestatis atrocissime exercuit’ ( Vita Tiberii, 58). ‘If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king declares against Caesar’—this was decisive. 13. Pilate had Jesus brought out and set up his tribunal—the folding curule chair of a Roman magistrate—’in the place . . . called Lithostrotos’ (from the remarkable pavement), but also known by the Hebrew (Aramaic) name of Gabbatha, meaning a height or eminence rather than a bare front (also etymologically possible). Pilate caved in to peer pressure and knowing Jesus was innocent,he had Jesus Scourged and then condemned an innocent man to a most gruesome death.”
19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
According to Exodus 12:6 the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed at the evening twilight, but with the establishment of the Temple and the large influx of pilgrim this became impossible, and so by Jesus day the sacrificing began at the sixth hour, (noon).
Behold your king! Having been cowed by a fear of his ruler Caesar, Pilate mocks the leaders by proclaiming Jesus their King, though he had once insisted that Jesus what innocent of that (political) charge.
19:15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
19:16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
St Augustine: “But Pilate is at last overcome by fear: Then delivered he Him therefore to them to be crucified. For it would be taking part openly against Caesar, if when the Jews declared that they had no king but Caesar, he wished to put another king over them, as he would appear to do if he let go unpunished a Man whom they had delivered to him for punishment on this very ground. It is not however, delivered Him to them to crucify Him, but, to be crucified, i.e. by the sentence and authority of the governor. The Evangelist says, delivered to them, to show that they were implicated in the guilt from which they tried to escape. For Pilate would not have done this except to please them.”
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