Do what’s right John 18:28-19:16; Luke 23:1-25

Pilate began questioning Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus asked if Pilate had any personal interest to know the truth (or merely to clarify the charge against Him). Pilate was offended that Jesus would suggest such a thing; he was not a Jew, had no interest in Jewish matters or the truth. Then Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world, not a warring type (John 18:33-38).

Having concluded that Jesus posed no treat to the political stability of the Roman interests in Palestine, Pilate declared Jesus innocent. But the chief priests and multitudes insisted that Jesus was a trouble-maker from Galilee to Jerusalem. When Pilate found out that Jesus was a Galilean, he realized that he had a way out of his dilemma between Jesus’ innocence and the people’s insistence to put Him to death. He sent Jesus to Herod Antipas (the tetrarch of Galilee) who also was in Jerusalem at that time (Luke 23:5-7).

After Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, Pilate summoned the religious leaders and announced that Herod agreed that Jesus had done nothing deserving of death. Pilate suggested that Jesus be punished and released. Now, there was a custom of releasing a Jewish prisoner at Passover. However, this was unacceptable to the religious leaders (Luke 23:13-17). They persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas, a notorious criminal, to be released instead of Jesus (Matthew 27:20-23).

Nevertheless, Pilate had Jesus flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus’ head and clothed Him in a purple robe (John 19:1-2). Was Pilate trying to arouse sympathy for Jesus? If so, he did not succeed. The blood-thirsty crowd would have it no other way; they shouted “Crucify, Crucify!” When Pilate heard that Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God, he was even more afraid as he had been warned earlier by his wife not to have anything to do with that innocent man – Jesus (Matthew 27:19). Could Jesus really be the Son of God? Pilate asked Jesus, "Where do you come from?” but Jesus did not answer.

Pilate was more determined to release Jesus but the Jews had a trump card, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." (John 18:12) The battle was over; Pilate lost. He feared the judgment of Rome more than judgment from God.

Spiritual Exercise: When you are caught in a dilemma, how do you decide? Often we are concerned how others see us and what they think of us. But we may have forgotten the most important person in the audience – God.


Help me, Lord to be bold, to obey your Word; 
And not turn from it to the right or to the left.
Teach me as I mediate on your Word
Enable me to do everything written in it. 
Help me to seek only to please you and 
Do all to your glory.

Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © January 2010 by Alan S.L. Wong

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