Summary: how Jesus revealed the truth to Pilate
The Revelation of the Truth
John 18: 28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected. 32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.
Luke 23: And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”
John 18: 33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
There’s one profession that has really come into the limelight within the past few years - the profession of being a judge. It all started gaining popularity with a TV show called the “People’s Court.” There’s another one out now called something like “Texas Justice,” and another one called “Judge Joe Brown” or something like that. I used to really enjoy sitting down and watching Judge Judy over the lunch hour. There is also a network called “Court TV” that televises cases for the nation to see. What is interesting for me was to examine specific cases and try and determine the truth - who is guilty and who is not. Just last night I watched a show on 20/20 about a lady who was accused of conspiring to murder her husband. It was tough to determine whether she did it or not. After watching these professionals at work, I realize now the pressure that a judge and jury would have to try and make the right decision. It seems to be especially difficult given the fact that usually both sides will have completely opposite stories - somebody has to be lying. So you have to try and wade your way through what is truth and what is lie to ascertain that the truth really is.
That’s exactly what the role of Pilate was when Jesus was brought before him to be executed. He had to get both sides of the story - that of the Jews and that of Jesus. As we see this story of our salvation unfold, and hear both sides of the story, we will also see -
The Revelation of the Truth
I. The false accusations
First, let’s look at what the prosecuting attorneys - the Jews- had to say. These men were used to their followers taking them at their word. And so when Pilate asked them, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”, it seems almost as if they were taken back a step. And so they replied, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” What does this reveal about the Jews? They were full of self righteous pride - as if they were saying, “how dare you even question us! We would NEVER hand someone over to be put to death who didn’t deserve it!” They were trying to condemn Jesus without any proof.
When Pilate didn’t accept this explanation, they finally had to come forward with a few charges. “We have found this man subverting our nation. . . and claims to be Christ, a king.” True or false? Both, right? If you remember last week’s revelation of the Christ, it wasn’t as if Jesus going around and telling everyone he was the Christ. The Jews were looking for a political Messiah, and Jesus didn’t want to give the impression that he had come to set up an EARTHLY kingdom. John 6 mentions that After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, (feeding 5,000) they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. In spite of Jesus’ reluctance to become an earthly king, he did still claim to be a king, and he still was somewhat “guilty” of “subverting” the Jews. The verb literally means “to twist” or “to confuse.” He had definitely done that - but only in a spiritual sense. Jesus had challenged the whole religious system of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. He had openly ridiculed and embarrassed their legalistic way of life, making the people question their authority and getting them to think on their own. So this first accusation was a half truth of sorts. They said he had subverted their nation and claimed to be a King - which was true - but not in the political sense that they were insinuating.