Summary: Jesus stands before Pilate. It seems that Jesus is being swept away by the events surrounding Him but the TRUTH is that Jesus is the only one in control. It is Pilate and the Jewish leaders who are being swept up in a battle that they cannot see or control.
Governor Pilate stood on the balcony of the praetorium, his headquarters, and looked down at the mobs milling around in the streets below. “Ugh!” he thought. Jewish pilgrims, priests, vendors, thieves, rebels, beggars, prostitutes … rabble! … all crammed into Jerusalem’s narrow streets … and it was his job to keep law and order over this whole mess.
Trouble could erupt anywhere … at any moment. In fact, two days ago he heard about a rabbi … a “messiah” … the crowd called Him … riding into town. Pilate’s sentries and spies reported that a huge crowd greeted Him as He rode through the East Gate on a colt. The crowds shouted “Hosanna!” as He passed them on His way to the Temple. Some ran before Him, spreading their cloaks and palm branches on the ground before Him.
When Pilate made inquiries as to who this man was, no one seemed to know much about this so-called “messiah” except that His name was “Yeshua” and that He came from some spot in the road way up north called “Nazareth.”
“Messiah?” he asked one of his advisors. “What’s a ‘messiah’?” When he was told that the word “messiah” was a title that meant ‘king’ in Hebrew, Pilate burst out laughing. What an absurd thought. “Herod’s gonna love that, I’m sure,” he scoffed … but his humor was short-lived. “Great! Passover … the streets are crowded … the tension in the city is so thick that you can cut it with a knife,” he thought as he looked down into the packed street below him, “and now this! Some yokel rides into the town and is welcomed as a king and I have no doubt that Herod’s gonna be thrilled when he hears that, I’m sure. Herod’s been nothing but a pain in my neck … constantly whining and complaining to Rome. When he hears about this, he’s gonna blow his top. I’m not too worried about Herod though … I know how to handle him,” he smirked, “but this ‘Yeshua’ … I know nothing about him.”
Pilate listened in astonishment as his advisor told him what this Yeshua character had done at the Temple. “He just walked into the main Temple courtyard and began turning over the tables of the money changers and drove out some of the livestock that was for sale. It caused quite a commotion, Sir. He’s got the Jews all stirred up.” “This Yeshua got hutzpah, I’ll give Him that,” Pilate smiled, “but I don’t need this kind of trouble right now. Something like that could set the Jews off and cause a riot … and the last thing I need is for Rome to hear about another riot” … wincing over the letter that he got from the Emperor after the Jews got so upset because he borrowed money from the Temple treasury to finish building a badly needed aqueduct in Jerusalem. “Hypocrites!,” he swore after he got the letter. “I notice that they don’t mind drinking the water that comes out of it.”
“Well … let’s get this over with,” Pilate says to his Captain of the Guard. “Bring the prisoner here so that I can interrogate him and get to the bottom of this and hopefully avert a colossal disaster.” He plops down in his chair and waits for the Captain of the Guard to being Yeshua into his council chamber.
When Jesus is escorted into the room and made to stand before him, Pilate is struck by how plain and ordinary He looked. He was expecting an imposing, rough looking figure with the fire of defiance in His eyes and the spirt of rebellion just oozing out of Him. This “messiah” was anything but what Pilate expected. There was nothing threatening or menacing or belligerent about Him or His manner … and yet, there was something about Him. Pilate was immediately mesmerized by this man the second their eyes met for the first time. There was something mysterious and intriguing about Him … He had a peace about Him that was somehow unsettling. He was surprisingly calm, and that aura of calm seemed to come from a place of great strength at His core. He was both intriguing and baffling at the same time. Pilate always considered himself to be a good judge of character and could usually read a man pretty well but this Yeshua character ... Pilate just couldn’t get a fix on Him. He felt drawn to this man but he couldn’t tell why.
“What is he charged with and where are his accusers,” Pilate demands. “Sire … they refuse to come in. They’re waiting for you to come down and talk to them.” “How degrading,” he thought. Such insolence. Such arrogance. They probably wouldn’t come in for some silly reason that had to do with their religion.