Published on
October 30, 2023

John 18

“So Pilate told them, ‘Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your law.’ ‘It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,’ the Judeans declared.”

Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Author Photo
Steve Wiggins
Read Time
4 minutes
John 18
“So Pilate told them, ‘Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your law.’  ‘It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,’ the Judeans declared.  They said this so that Jesus’ words might be fulfilled signifying what sort of death He was going to die.  Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’  Jesus answered, ‘Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?’  ‘I’m not a Jew, am I?’ Pilate replied.”  John 18:31-35a (HCSB)  

There was a time when a Gentile’s following of Jesus was tantamount to converting to Judaism.  The idea of “Messiah” was a purely Jewish thing.  Understanding who Jesus was and the importance of His ministry required specific knowledge of God’s Word, which could only be obtained through a close affiliation with Jews.  

Perhaps, no one understood that idea more than the guy who presided over the trial of Jesus.  This concept was not just the opinion of an ignorant Roman Governor.  The question, “What do we do with Gentile believers?” is, perhaps, the most hotly debated issue in the New Testament.  

Strange how the modern Church has mostly lost a Hebraic understanding of the Scriptures.  Given its almost exclusively Hebrew beginnings, perhaps, the most glaringly obvious question in the Church today should be, “Why are there so few Jews in the pews?”

There are two kinds of people who read the Bible, looking for information about Jesus:  Those who seek Him plainly, and those who seek Him vainly.  

The first type finds Jesus.  “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”  John 8:31-32 (NKJV)

The second type can’t find Jesus because they’re not seeking the truth.  They are looking for loopholes, so they won’t have to believe in Him.  Pilate was looking for loopholes and enough information to strike a political compromise.  Instead of a platform of conviction, Pilate chose fear, for the roots of compromise are fear and weakness.

Matthew’s Gospel testifies that Pilate’s wife warned him against convicting Jesus.  Matthew 27:19 But, as is the case with all people, when confronted with the facts of the Gospel, the kingship of Jesus was ultimately a personal decision for Pilate to accept or reject.  Sadly, Pilate wasn’t looking for truth.  He didn’t know what truth was.  Jesus is the Word of God, made flesh.  Apart from God’s Word, there is no spiritual truth.  By rejecting Jesus’ personal testimony, Pilate rejected the authority of God’s Word.

“‘You are saying that I’m a king,’ Jesus replied.  ‘I was born for this, and I have come into the World for this: to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.’ ‘What is truth?’ said Pilate.”  John 18:37b-38a (HCSB)

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