After being “interviewed” by the chief priest and officers of the Jews, Jesus was taken to Pilate. This was all part of the Plan of God and the fulfilment of prophecy where He said he would be delivered up to the Gentiles and would be shamefully treated by them.
The way the Jews acted when they brought Jesus to Pilate shows their hypocrisy and their malice. The words they said and the actions they took showed just how false they were, as you will see.
The Jews came to Pilate but refused to go in and see him. Pilate was the governor appointed by Caesar to rule the territory of Israel, which was no easy task. The Jews, because of their heritage were a difficult and recalcitrant people and did not easily bend to the authority of the Romans. The Romans found them troublesome and difficult to govern.
As a result Pilate went out to meet the Jews for they would not come in to him. The Jews could not be in contact with Gentiles at that time as they would be unclean and need to go through the various purification rites when Jews had dealing with Gentiles. Those rites typically ran for a week, but it was the eve of the Passover and if they had to go through those rites they would not be clean under the law in time to eat the Passover feast.
So they were adhering to the strict letter of the law so they could keep the Passover, but contrary to the law they were looking to have Jesus put to death without a trial and no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Hypocrisy of the Jews
Jesus had done no wrong and yet the Jews wanted Him dead. When Pilate asked the Jews what the charges were against Jesus they were sly and crafty. They did not offer any charge but only a statement to the effect saying, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” (Verse 30)
This was hypocrisy pure and simple. As if the mere fact they brought Jesus to Pilate was sufficient evidence that He was a wrongdoer.
But Pilate was having none of that. He told them to, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” (Verse 31)
Then the Jews in their hypocrisy invoked their own law for their own benefit saying, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” (Verse 31) Their hypocrisy of the Jews was complete for they wanted Jesus dead, but without evidence, accusation or trial, but did not want to do it themselves. And yet in delivering Jesus into the hands of the Romans they were condemning Him to death and effectively putting to death an innocent man.
But this was the will of God. This was all preordained that Jesus had to die at the hand of the Gentiles and be hung up as He was on a wooden structure. This was the method by which the Romans put people to death.
Under Jewish law when a person was put to death they were stoned. In all cases where a person committed a mortal sin where the death penalty was the result, the method by which the judgement was to be carried out was to stone them.
But Jesus had to die by hanging on wood. We see the reason why in the letter of Paul to the Galatians. It is by the death of Jesus that our sins are taken away, which occurs by baptism into His death, and also in His death we are released from the law. More to the point we are also released from the curse of the law.
The curse of the law was given by Moses where he said the following.
“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.” (Galatians 3:10)
However there was also a second curse that was given by Moses at the same time which said,
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree” (Galatians 3:13)
So by taking on the curse of the law through this second curse, Jesus lifted the curse from those who come to Him in faith and believe. And by this method we can become the children of Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ, by entering into His death and resurrection in baptism, so that we may receive the promised inheritance and the Holy Spirit to bring us to perfection in Jesus Christ.
So while the Jews in their hypocrisy by craft and cunning attempted to get rid of Jesus, they were doing the will of God and ensuring that His will would be done so that we would have access to the Grace of God in Jesus.