I. "FROM THENCEFORTH PILATE SOUGHT TO RELEASE HIM."
A. Pilate was convinced of His innocence.
1. We are told that he knew that Jesus was delivered to him because the religious leaders were envious of Jesus.
2. He knew that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death.
B. But the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
1. This is the statement that turned the tide.
2. Pilate knew that they would complain to Caesar should he release Jesus, and that they would make their false charges to Caesar.
3. Pilate's job was on the line.
a. He has to make the choice to be loyal to his convictions or to lose his position.
b. Many Christians are faced with the same situation. To remain on their jobs, they are being required to deceive, or to cheat a customer.
c. Some of you have had to make that decision, so you can understand the position Pilate was in.
4. Pilate bowed to the pressure of the crowd.
C. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
1. The decision has been made, now all that is necessary is to make it formal.
2. It may have been the seat of judgment, but it was surely not the seat of justice.
3. There is often no justice in the judgments that are made.
II. "IT WAS THE PREPARATION OF THE PASSOVER."
A. There is something that has bothered me for many years. How could Jesus be crucified on Friday, and be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and still be risen early Sunday morning?
1. At most, He could have only been in the grave two nights, Friday and Saturday.
2. Where was the idea developed that He was crucified on Friday?
3. We are told that the day that He was crucified was the day of the preparation for the Sabbath.
4. They wanted to hasten the death of the prisoners so that their bodies would not be hanging on the cross on the Sabbath.
5. Mark 16
tells us that when the Sabbath was past, the ladies came early in the morning to take care of the body of Jesus.
B. I would like to suggest a possible answer.
1. Sir Robert Anderson in his book, "The Coming Prince" goes to great length to prove that what we commonly term Palm Sunday took place on April 6th, 32 A.D. He said that it equated, that year, with the 10th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar.
2. This means that the 15th of Nisan would have been on Friday.
a. In Numbers 28:16
, it declares that the 14th day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord. That would have been then on Thursday. That was the day that the Passover lamb was then slain.
b. Remember that the Jewish day begins with sundown, thus, it is possible that Jesus had the last supper with His disciples on Wednesday night.
c. We must remember that the Lamb was slain the day before the Passover.
d. It was the night after the slaying of the lamb that the blood was put on the door posts and the angel of the Lord passed through the land to slay the first born.
e. But that night would have been the beginning of the next day.
f. Numbers 28:17
declares, "And on the 15th day of this month is the feast.
g. Numbers 28:25
then declares that the 7th day would be a holy convocation or a Sabbath day.
h. Notice that in verse 31, John tells us concerning this day that it was a high day.
3. I suggest that it is possible that Jesus had the supper with His disciples on Wednesday night which would have begun the 14th day of the first month. That He was crucified on Thursday, the day that the passover lamb was to be slain, still the 14th until sundown.
4. That He spent Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night in the tomb, and rose early on the first day of the week.
5. That in this particular week with the 10th of Nisan falling on Sunday, you would have had consecutive Sabbath days, one on Friday, the 15th of Nisan, which would have been designated the holy day of convocation, or the high day, and then the regular Sabbath day on Saturday.
C. Having said all of that, it really does not make that great a difference what day of the week it might have been, the fact that matters is that He died on the cross for our sins.
D. We can look at the cross from five viewpoints:
1. From the viewpoint of God, the cross was the propitiation for sin. There the full holiness and justice of God was satisfied, and now God can forgive man's sin without violating His justice.
2. From the viewpoint of Jesus it was an act of obedience unto the will of the Father. Becoming a sin offering and giving Himself as a sacrifice for man's sin.
3. From the standpoint of the believer, it was substitution. He was there for me, the just for the unjust. God made Him to be sin for us, that we might receive the righteousness of God through Him. He was there in my place dying the death that I deserved.
4. From the standpoint of Satan: a victory as he bruised the seed of the woman, but his ultimate defeat as through His death, he destroyed him that had power over death, even the devil. There He spoiled the principalities and powers that are against us making an open display of His victory, triumphing over them through it.
5. As far as the world is concerned, it was an unjust brutal murder.
E. John tells us that it was about the sixth hour.
1. Mark's gospel tells us that at the third hour Jesus was crucified.
a. Mark began the hours with the daylight which was at six in the morning, so that the third hour would be at nine in the morning.
b. John is writing his gospel for the Gentiles, that is why he would often interpret the Hebrew words that He used, or give to you the Hebrew word. He then used the Roman accounting of time, which began at midnight.
c. It is possible that this judgment was passed at six in the morning, and that in getting all of the issues formalized, and the time it took to prepare the crosses and pass through the streets of Jerusalem and pass through the gate and up the hill to Golgotha that three hours would have transpired.
d. The Jews were up all night and it is quite possible that they wanted to get the issue before Pilate very early before any of the populace knew what was going on, so that a judgment may be made, and carried out before the majority of the people even knew about it.
III. "AND HE SAITH TO THE JEWS, BEHOLD YOUR KING."
A. I think that he did that with anger toward them knowing that they had gotten the better of him.
1. It was in a sneering way.
2. At this point Jesus was already unrecognizable as a human being, so vicious was the abuse that he received both from the officers of the high priest and the Roman soldiers.
3. He was probably a very sight.
B. Pilate and the crowd were at great odds at this point, there was a total loss of control and order.
1. They respond with screaming, "Away with Him, away with Him."
2. Again, I believe that Pilate answered with a sneer, "Shall I crucify your king?"
C. "We have no king but Caesar."
1. This is bitter debate.
a. The sensitive point with the Jews was his insistence that Jesus was the king of the Jews.
b. The sensitive point with Pilate was the mention of Caesar.
2. What a horrible confession this is.
a. Earlier in their history they came to Samuel and demanded that he appoint a king to rule over them that they might be like the other nations.
b. God spoke to Samuel and told him not to feel so bad, they had not rejected Samuel from ruling over them, but they had rejected God from ruling over them.
c. Now they are doing the same thing. They would prefer to bow their knee to Caesar than to the Son of God.
d. The day will come when they shall bow their knee, however.
3. Earlier they had said to Jesus in John 8:33
, "We are the defendants of Abraham, and were never in bondage to any man.
a. How they change their tune when it is to their advantage.
b. They are seeking to taunt Pilate even as Pilate had taunted them.
4. We must note, however, that Pilate got in the last word, for he had the accusation of Jesus placed above Him on the cross written in three languages, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS."
a. When they saw that they were incensed, and came to him demanding that he altar it too, "He said that He was the king of the Jews."
b. Pilate's answer was, "What I have written, I have written."