John 19:12-16

12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

Pilate was afraid of what Tiberius Caesar would do if the Jews sent him a report that Pilate had released someone claiming to be king.

The Jews hated Roman rule and wanted a king who would overthrow it. But, in hypocrisy, they claimed to be friends and subjects of Caesar.

Gabbatha (v. 13) = raised place. An elevated platform outside the palace (the Fortress of Antonia). There was a chair — the Bema = judgment seat on a tiled pavement.

Preparation Day of the Passover (v. 14) — Friday, the day before the Passover Sabbath (Saturday)

the sixth hour (v. 14) — John reckons by Roman time in which the day began at midnight (as we do). At 6 am, the Jews called out “Crucify Him!”

Mark uses Hebrew time, so in his account, it was the third hour when Christ was crucified — which was the very time the Passover lambs were slaughtered.

We have no king but Caesar (v. 15) — A rejection, not only of Christ, but of God. The Jews rejected the Davidic line. They rejected the promises and prophecies. They acknowledged only a Gentile pagan as ruler.

Pilate gave the death sentence — Matthew 27:24; Luke 23:24

delivered Him to them (v. 16) — to the Jewish will (Luke 23:25), but it was Roman soldiers who crucified Him.

Who was Pilate? It is supposed that he was a freedman. About the  year 26 S.D. he had succeeded Valerius Gratus as procurator of Judea and Samaria. This position he held for ten years. Josephus records the fact that he hated the whole Jewish race. He also was tyrannical toward the Samaritans. They entered a complaint against him and he had to go to Rome to defend himself. Before he arrived, Tiberius Caesar, whom he feared, had died. According to the historian Eusebius, Pilate committed suicide. — Gaebelein, page 360.


Our Lord’s own estimate of Pilate’s act is recorded by the Spirit of prophecy through the Psalmist: “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with that which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood” (Psalm 94:20-21). Let us not forget, however, that behind the governor of Judea, who delivered the Lord Jesus unto the Jews, was the Governor of the Universe, who “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). And why? Because He was “delivered for our offenses” (Romans 4:25). Christ was delivered to death, that we might be delivered from death. — Pink, page 227-228.

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