Sentenced

The temple police took Jesus from the high priest’s house to the Roman governor’s headquarters and all the scribes and chief priests went along to see what the governor would say. But when they got there, they would not go in, for fear that they would be defiled for entering a gentile building. So they stood outside whilst Pilate was summoned out.

Pilate came out to meet the crowd that had gathered and asked them, “What charge do you bring against this man?”

They replied, “We found this man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is the Messiah—a King. If this man was not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” The governor was amazed that Jesus did not once try to defend himself against the many accusations being brought against him.

So Pilate told them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” But they responded by saying, “It is not legal for us to put anyone to death.”

Pilate went back inside and summoned for Jesus to be brought to him. Once inside, he asked Jesus directly, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered him, “That is true; but are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?”

“I am not a Jew, am I?” Pilate said, “Yet your own people have handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus began to explain himself to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it was, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But my kingdom does not have its origin here.”

“So you are a king then.” Pilate asked.

Jesus continued, “You say that I am a king. It’s true. I was born for this and I have come into this world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

After hearing what Jesus had to say, Pilate responded, “What is truth?”, then turned and went outside to the waiting Jews: “I find no grounds for charging him!”

But those who had brought Jesus insisted, “But he stirs up the people—teaching throughout all Judea—from Galilee all the way to even this city.” When Pilate heard this, he asked the crowd if Jesus was a Galilean. When he learnt that he was, he had Jesus sent to Herod, because as a Galilean, Jesus fell under Herod’s jurisdiction. It just so happened that Herod was also in Jerusalem at the time.

Herod was very glad to receive Jesus. For a long time Herod had wanted to meet this Jesus of Nazareth, because he had heard so much about him and wanted to see him perform a miracle. Herod bombarded Jesus with many questions; but Jesus did not answer him.

The chief priests and scribes, who were standing near by, continued to accuse him and in the end, Herod and the soldiers with him, began to mock Jesus as well. The dressed him in a brightly coloured robe and sent him back to Pilate. Up until this point, Herod and Pilate had been hostile toward each other—but on this day, they became friends with one another.

So Jesus was taken back to the governor’s headquarters to face Pilate once again. Pilate called the chief priests, the leaders and the scribes and said to them, “You have brought me this man as one who stirs up the people. But in fact, after examining him in your presence, I have found no grounds to charge this man with those things you accuse him of. Neither has Herod, because he has sent him back to me. Clearly, he has done nothing that deserves the death penalty. Therefore, I will have him whipped and then release him.” But the crowd cried out to Pilate, “No! Not this man. Take him away and release Barabbas to us!”

They said this because there was a custom that allowed for the governor to release one prisoner to the people at the time of the Passover festival. Now Barabbas was in prison for murder and for stirring up a rebellion against Rome.

Whilst Pilate was listening to the crowds request, his wife sent word to him that he should have nothing to do with this Jesus, because she had suffered a terrible dream because of him. On hearing this, Pilate asked the crowd—who had themselves been stirred up by the chief priests and elders—which of the two prisoners they wanted him to release.

The crowd shouted back, “We want Barabbas!”

Then Pilate asked the crowd, “What do you want me to do with this man—the one you call King of the Jews?”

“Crucify! Crucify him!” they replied.

On hearing this, Pilate said to the Jewish leaders, “Take him and crucify him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging him.”

But they insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever, so he went back inside and asked Jesus himself, “Where are you from?” But Jesus said nothing.

Somewhat puzzled, Pilate asked him, “You are not talking to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you?”

Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me at all if it had not been given to you from above.”

So again, Pilate tried to persuade the Jews to let him release Jesus, but the Jews just shouted back, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”

When Pilate heard those words, he had Jesus brought outside. The crowd was getting very restless—on the verge of rioting—so Pilate, not knowing what else to do, took some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying to them, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”

To this the crowd replied, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then Pilate released Barabbas to them—and handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers, who lead him back into the headquarters, where they savagely beat him.

They mocked him by dressing him in a purple robe and they twisted thorn branches into a crown and forced it onto his head. They took a stick and repeatedly hit him on the head; they spat on him and bowed down on their knees in front of him, shouting as they did, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

When they had finished mocking him, they removed the robe and dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.


Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.

If you would like to dig a little deeper into this story, you will find some further thoughts and questions here.

Easter Story
Return Of The King | Last Supper | Garden | Accusations | Denial | Sentenced | Crucifixion | Burial | Empty Tomb | Appearance

One Response to “Sentenced

  • I’m always astounded by the utter hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. Dragging Jesus off to Pilate demanding His death but not wanting to take Him into Pilate because they would be unclean. The other thing which amazes me is the silent witness of Jesus and the calm word of truth when needed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: