Jesus is Taken to Pilate

(John 18:28-32)

Jesus is taken before Pilate

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.

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Jesus, Barabbas and the Rule of the Mob

(Luke 23:13-25)

In one of the worst travesties of so-called justice in history we see here the exchange of the life of the Lord and Saviour of the world for a sinner accused of insurrection, murder and mayhem. And the decision was not based upon truth or justice, but jealousy, envy and the sway of public opinion causing the governor to make this worst of all decisions.mob rule

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Jesus is Brought Before Pilate

(Luke 23:1-5)

The trial of Jesus before Pilate was a farce. It shows how badly an event can go when the rulers give sway to the desires of liars rather than listening to the truth of a matter. And there is no doubt that Pilate saw the truth of this matter as it is clear from his response. But as Jesus said when He was arrested in the garden at Gethsemane, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53)jesus before pilate2

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Jesus Sent to Pilate

(Mark 15:1-15)

After Jesus was put on trial before the chief priests and elders, they held a meeting and decided to bind him and deliver him to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus whether he was King of the Jews and Jesus responded, “You have said so.” (Verse 2) Despite the many charges made by the chief priests and scribes, none of which they could prove. Jesus made no answer and so Pilate wondered.

jesus-before-pilateNow the reason they brought Jesus before the governor may have been twofold. First, as governor they needed his consent to put Jesus to death. And second, by focussing on the fact that Jesus was King of the Jews they hoped Pilate would sentence him to death on the basis that he would be perceived as a threat to the rule of Rome over the land.

As the event continues we see that Pilate recognises that the priests had brought Jesus to him not for any crimes committed, but out of envy. (Verse 10) Pilate had a tradition that he would release one prisoner back to the Jews at the time of the feast each year. Knowing the envy of the priests he chose to offer Jesus or Barabbas, who was a rebel and a murderer accused in the insurrection. The comparison between these two should have led to the release of Jesus for Pilate deliberately offered a truly evil man that no person in their right mind would want back on the streets.

However he underestimated the power and the will of the priests. They stirred up the crowd to call for the release of Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. Pilate was completely perplexed over this matter for he said to the crowd when they sought Jesus’ death, “Why, what evil has he done?” (Verse 13) In the end he gave over to the crowd and having scourged Jesus he delivered him to be nailed to the stake and released Barabbas. (Verse 15)

Here is a lesson for us today. There is a rule of the mob or the crowd. Riots and insurrection are caused by the rule of the mob. Crowds become charged with emotion and take on a life of their own which cannot be reasoned with and cannot be easily controlled. Look at any television report where there is a mob out of control. Look at the eyes of the people in the crowd as they run to cause violence and destruction. They are not in control of themselves but are driven by adrenalin and emotion.

Emotion is the tool of the devil. By whipping people into a frenzy they lose their self-control and can be pushed to all kinds of evil as the devil leads them. Mob rule is satanic for it ignores what is good, right and true because mob rule is based upon emotion and not reason. This is exactly what happened before Pilate when Jesus was condemned. It takes only a few well placed people with axes to grind to whip a crowd into a frenzy, which is how the chief priests whipped this crowd into murdering the Lord and Saviour of the world.

It is the same today. Occasionally you hear of riots that have been orchestrated by certain pressure groups. All they need is a crowd and a few people to drive the agenda throug emotion and the process is set off and running like a runaway train. It is literally a train wreck waiting to happen.

Stay away from mobs. If there is a large gathering of people getting together to protest an issue, beware. It does not take much for it to turn to insurrection and violence as the mood of the crowd is pushed and pulled by those who want to stir up violence. I say it again, beware of mobs and crowds that can turn to violence. There is no good to be done in such a situation, and if you find yourself in such a place…flee!

(Picture sourced from

Jesus and Barabbas

(Matthew 27:15-26)

Jesus stood before the governor Pilate for judgement. Pilate could find nothing wrong by which to judge him in spite of the fierce accusations made by the chief priests. So Pilate wishing to release Jesus offered to set him free, as his custom was to release one prisoner at the Passover feast. So in order to polarise the decision of the people he put up two prisoners for them to choose; Jesus and Barabbas.

Barabbas was a criminal of some infamy at the time. Pilate judged that when offered two choices between a righteous man and a notorious criminal, the people would choose the good man over the evil man. However the chief priests understood psychology and the mentality of the mob. So they incited the crowd by placing a few people in it to whip up a frenzy of emotion and to have the mob choose the evil Barabbas over Jesus Christ.

Pilate’s wife sent word to him not to have anything to do with the judgement of Jesus. She had dreamed about Jesus and suffered anguish over him in her dream, so she warned her husband. When Pilate saw that the crowd was swinging towards Barabbas he asked them what they would have him do with “Jesus who is called Christ.” The emissaries of the priests now had sway with the mob and they then incited the crowd to have Jesus Christ put to death. So violent was this mob that they were at the point of rioting. So Pilate literally washed his hands of the matter. He took a bowl of water and before them all washed his hands saying, I am innocent of this mans blood; see to it yourselves.”

The mob mentality had complete control and they responded saying, “His blood be on us and on our children.” And at this saying Pilate released Barabbas and handed Jesus over to the will of the priests to have him put to death. Jesus had said that all the righteous blood of the prophets spilled on account of the word of God would come upon this generation. He said, “Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:36) And here we see that the mob took this on themselves. Thus Jesus said also of the chief priests, “Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.” (Matthew 23:38) As a result of their action in condemning and killing the Lord, the house of the chief priests, which was the temple worship, has become desolate and fading away, for it has been replaced now by the spiritual worship we have in Christ Jesus. This could not occur until he had died and been rejected by the priests and the people.

We can learn much from this. The mentality of a mob is not like the mentality of an individual. The devil likes mobs because they are not ruled by reason and logic, but by emotion. It is not hard to sway a mob once there is a head of momentum. In physics and nuclear reactions they talk about a reaction reaching a critical mass where the reaction just builds of its own accord with no outside ignition. That is what a mob mentality is like. They sway in accordance with the emotions of the rest of the mob and they innately pick up the moods of the mob to unite as if a single organism. Mobs are ruled by the powerful emotions: hate, anger, racism, fear, wrath and blood lust. Even football crowds suffer a mob mentality for their emotions run high, and if there is a negative event they too can become quite violent.

We need to learn from this. In Christ we stand as individuals and are being trained to think and act based upon reason. One of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is self-control. Indeed all of the fruits of the Spirit are not the fruits of the mob mentality but of the individual. And this is how we stand before Christ and will stand before the judgement seat of God. We will stand as individuals giving account of ourselves. There will be no mob to hide amongst, for that is the power of the mob, the ability to do evil incognito.

For us then who choose the path of Christ, let us look to Jesus and learn to stand in our own right. Just because a hundred, thousand or million people may believe something and go one way does not make it right. We need to learn for ourselves and be guided by the Holy Spirit as individuals. Learn from the Bible. The Lord has put his teachers and preachers into the church to help us grow, but we need to ensure even what they are preaching is correct. Weigh all things against the word. Ask, seek and knock on the Lord’s door for him to open the truth and he will answer you.