Matt 27:11-14 Jesus Accused before Pilate and Herod CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The companion passages that cross reference these verses are found in Mk 15:1-5; Lk 23:1-16 and Jn 18:28-38. You will want to refer to these in order to understand everything that happened during the trial of Jesus from his deliverance to Pilate until the release of Barabbas. There are numerous interesting things to study in these passages about Jesus accused.
Jesus Accused Before Pilate – Matt 27:11-14; Mk 15:2-5; Jn 18:28-38
After the Jews concluded their trial of Jesus before Caiaphas, they had found that he was worthy of death for blasphemy (Matt 26:65-66). And they could have killed him for this, if it were true (Lev 24:11-16). But they were afraid to kill him because of the people (Matt 21:46, 26:4-5). Most of the people wouldn’t have believed that he was guilty of blasphemy anyway (i.e. Jn 9:33).
So, they led Jesus to Pilate to be killed, resulting in the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the method of his death. The Jews would have stoned him, but the Romans crucified him (Matt 20:19, 26:2)
During Pilate’s first examination, Jesus simply refused to answer any of the accusations against him (Is 53:7). When Pilate questioned him about being the King of the Jews, Jesus answered two things. First, he said, “Thou sayest it (Lk 23:3). That’s because Pilate believed that he was (Jn 19:19-22). Second, Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36-38). In other words, he was not the threat that the Jews had professed that he was.
Pilate’s distress was how to release Jesus without killing him (Lk 23:20).
· First, he tried to convince the Jews to judge Jesus according to their own law (Jn 18:31). They wouldn’t do it because they wanted the death penalty and evidently the Romans would not have legally allowed them to kill Jesus (Jn 18:31 – notice this supposed legal restriction didn’t keep them from stoning Stephen, Acts 7:58).
· Second, he tried a swift judgment of not guilty (Lk 23:4). That didn’t work because the Jews simply became more adamant in their condemnation of him (Lk 23:5).
· Third, Pilate tried sending Jesus off to Herod (Lk 23:7). But that failed because Herod sent him back to Pilate (Lk 23:11).
· Fourth, he tried chastising him and releasing him (Lk 23:16). But the Jews became furious.
· So, finally Pilate tried releasing Jesus instead of Barabbas [a notable criminal] according to his custom (Matt 27:17). But the Jews protested and called for the crucifixion of Jesus instead (Matt 27:21-23).
Jesus Accused by the Multitude – Matt 27:12; Mk 15:1; Lk 23:1, 4, 13; Jn 18:28
Notice the titles of those who were opposed to Jesus. They were the chief priests (Matt 27:12), the elders and scribes (Mk 15:1), and the rulers and the people (Lk 23:13). Missing are the publicans and sinners to whom Jesus ministered. These guys were against Jesus for one reason and one reason only. They accused him because of envy and Pilate knew it (Matt 27:18).
In fact, Christ’s accusers were hypocrites. They accused Jesus of many things when all they had was the false accusation of blasphemy. Jesus was not the one stirring up the people, they were (Mk 15:11; Matt 27:29). The accusers refused to enter the judgment hall so that they could eat the Passover (Jn 18:28), when it was the Passover that they were about to kill (1 Cor 5:7). They professed that it was not legal for them to put Jesus to death (Jn 18:31), yet they disobeyed Moses’ law in killing him (Jn 7:19).
Jesus Accused of Many Things – Matt 27:13; Lk 23:2, 5; Jn 18:30
The accusations leveled against Jesus were all false, of course. The only thing they had on him after spending the night examining him before Caiaphas was blasphemy. Though they mentioned this to Pilate (Jn 19:7), yet they accused him of much more than that. They accused him of (Lk 23:2, 5):
Perverting the nation – yet it was they who had perverted the nation (Matt 21:33-45)
Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar – a lie (Matt 22:21, 17:24-27)
Professing himself to be Christ the King – which is who he was (Matt 2:2; Jn 4:25-26)
Stirring up the people with his teaching – he was not a seditionist (Lk 23:18-19); the trouble was that the multitudes followed him (Matt 19:2)
Being a malefactor (Jn 18:30) – in this case a criminal worthy particularly of capital punishment, which he was not (Jn 8:46, Heb 4:15).
Jesus Accused Before Herod – Lk 23:6-12
Pilate, in an effort to get the Jews off his back, sent Jesus to Herod. This turned out to be a good political move, as well, since Herod and Pilate were enemies before this. Their enmity probably resulted from something that Pilate had done in Lk 13:1. Nevertheless, we learn an important rule from this. Enemies will become friends when they have a common enemy.
Herod was interested in seeing a miracle from Jesus (Lk 23:8) in the same way that people want to be entertained with magic by a magician. When Herod and his men mocked Jesus they fulfilled Matt 20:19.
Jesus Returned to Pilate – Lk 23:13-16
After examination by both Herod and Pilate, Pilate rendered his judgment, “I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him,” (Lk 23:14).