I. "WE HAVE A LAW, AND BY OUR LAW HE OUGHT TO DIE, BECAUSE HE MADE HIMSELF THE SON OF GOD."
A. Now they get to the real issue.
1. They had brought Him to Pilate with the charges that He had declared Himself a King in opposition to Caesar.
2. Those were trumped-up charges to present to the Roman court in order that they might get the sentence of death by crucifixion.
B. It is interesting how that truth can often come out in unguarded moments. The real motive for bringing Him to Pilate was not His claim to be the King of the Jews, but because they imagined that His claim to be the Son of God was blasphemy.
1. There are those fools today who deny that Jesus is the Son of God because He did not ever actually say, "I am the Son of God."
2. They say that the idea of His being the Son of God was an invention of the disciples many years later.
a. Jesus kept referring to God as His Father.
b. Jesus declared, "I and the Father are one."
c. When the high priest asked Him, "Are you the Messiah the Son of the Blessed?" He answered, "I am."
d. When they took up stones to stone Him, Jesus said, I have done many good works, for which of these works are you stoning Me, and they answered, not for the good works, but because You, being a man, are continually making Yourself God.
e. In John 10:36
, Jesus admitted to declaring that He was the Son of God. "Say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world that you blaspheme because I said, "I am the Son of God."
f. In Luke 22:70
, they asked Him, "Are you then the Son of God?" And He answered, "You said it, that I am." And they said, "What need do we have of any further witnesses, for we ourselves have heard from His own mouth."
g. If the modern liberals of today do not have enough sense to realize that Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God, the Jews certainly knew it in their day.
C. The centurion who was in charge of the actual crucifixion of Jesus was probably there in the courtyard and heard this statement by the chief priests, and later when he saw all of the supernatural events that accompanied the death of Jesus, darkness over the land, and the great earthquake, he declared, "Truly this was the Son of God."
II. WHEN PILATE HEARD THAT SAYING, HE WAS THE MORE AFRAID.
A. Pilate had found himself in an awkward position. He was under extreme pressure.
1. He knew that Jesus was innocent, and a sense of justice in his heart dictated that he should free Jesus.
2. He had received a warning from his wife to have nothing to do with that just Man.
3. He was under extreme pressure from the crowd to do that which in his own mind was wrong, yet it was politically expedient.
4. It is hard to go against your own conscience. It is a fearful thing to turn your back on that which is right. And Pilate was the more afraid.
B. He went back into the judgment hall to again talk with Jesus.
1. Remember the Jews would not come into the judgment hall because of their desire to observe their holy day. So Pilate would make his way in and out of the judgment hall, coming in to talk with Jesus and going out to speak with the Jews.
2. He asked Jesus, "Where did you come from?"
3. Over and over Jesus had been asserting that He had come from His Father, that His Father had sent Him.
4. But Jesus did not answer Pilate.
a. We can only speculate as to why He did not answer Pilate.
b. Speculation has little or no value.
C. Pilate then sought to take authority over Jesus, and declared, "Do you refuse to speak to me, do you not know that I have the power to crucify You, and I have the power to release You?"
1. Pilate is now declaring that He has power over the destiny of Jesus.
2. I can crucify You or release You.
3. Pilate's subsequent actions cannot then be excused, he has condemned himself by his own actions. He admits that he can release Jesus.
D. Jesus corrects Pilate with the words, "You could have no power against Me at all unless it was given to you from above."
1. You may think that you have power over me, but that is not totally correct. The only power you can have is that which is allowed to you from above.
a. The psalmist said in 62:11, "God has spoken once: twice have I heard this, Power belongeth unto God."
b. In Romans 13
, Paul tells us to be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God: and the powers that be are ordained of God.
2. We all of us operate under a limited sphere that has been allowed to us by God.
3. My freedom is within limited parameters God has set the boundaries for all of our lives.
4. "Therefore He that has delivered Me unto you has the greater sin."
a. Jesus was not exonerating Pilate, what he was about to do was sinful.
b. He was going to deny the Son of God. He was going to be guilty of a gross miscarriage of justice.
c. But those who had brought Jesus before Him were guilty of a greater sin.
III. "AND FROM THENCEFORTH PILATE SOUGHT TO RELEASE HIM."
A. Sometimes we try very hard not to do what we know to be wrong.
1. Somehow we just do not have the sufficient courage to stand against the crowd and do that which we know to be right.
2. The pressure of the crowd has led many to horrible sins.
3. It seems that there is always someone seeking to pressure us to go against our own convictions.
4. It was under pressure of the little maid, and later the soldiers that Peter denied his Lord.
5. So many times a little maid can pressure a great man to fall.
B. His seeking to release Jesus did not count, he will always be known as the man who delivered Jesus wrongfully to be crucified.
1. He will never be able to live down his gross miscarriage of justice.
2. The deed once done cannot be retracted.
3. All of the struggle as noble as it might have been is discounted when one gives into the pressure.
4. That Pilate tried is not sufficient to release him from his guilt.