Summary: In our Scripture today, we have Jesus bound by the Sanhedrin, convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death but there’s one problem: only Rome can put someone to death. So after receiving 40 lashes, Jesus is taken before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate
Jesus, Barnabas and Pontius Pilate
Map of Jerusalem. In our Scripture today, we have Jesus bound by the Sanhedrin, convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death but there’s one problem: only Rome can put someone to death. So after receiving 40 lashes, Jesus is taken before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. It is now 6 AM. On the screen you’ll see a map of the city of Jerusalem and you’ll see Caiaphas’ house. Picture of Antonio Fortress. Jesus is led by the temple guard through the city streets to the Fortress Antonio with the Sanhedrin following behind. Fortress Antonio was built by Pilate adjacent to the temple. It was at the heart of the city and of course this grieved the Israelites that there was a Roman garrison in the heart of the holy city. The walls were shared with the northern wall of the temple mount. Picture of stone pavement. Now if you were go to the Holy Land, you would be taken along the via delorosa, the way of suffering, where you would walk the stations of the cross. This begins at the Sisters of Sion convent. In the basement of the convent, you would see excavations that reveal a stone pavement is the traditional place where Jesus stood when he was sentenced to die. A large crowd is now gathering to see the verdict against Jesus.
Picture of the crowd. In both the trial of Jesus, before the Sanhedrin and now Pilate, Jesus remains virtually silent as he is accused of crimes for which his accusers hope he will be put to death. To be accused falsely and have a death sentence looming over your head and saying nothing, that is strange to say the least. In fact, Pilate is amazed by Jesus’ virtual silence. The silence of Jesus.
King of the Jews. This is the crime for which he has been sentenced. In that time, Caesar was king of the Jews and all the Roman Empire. Anyone who claimed to be king of the Jews was setting himself up to be against Caesar and thus leading an insurrection. As Pilate interrogates Jesus, he asks, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus gives a rather cryptic answer, “Yes, it is as you say.” Then Pilate asked if Jesus wanted to hear the charges against him and to the great amazement of Pilate, Jesus says nothing. This was his opportunity to respond to those charges and Jesus remains utterly silent.
I believe Jesus has in mind a passage of Scripture from Isaiah 53. In Isaiah’s day, these words were spoken to those who suffering in captivity in Babylon, and they believed they were suffering for the sins of the rest of the Israelites. Previous Slide with Isaiah 53:6-7 on it. But in Jesus, this Scripture takes on new life and new meaning. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Jesus did not open his mouth and was offering himself as a lamb to the slaughter for the sins of the world.