Read John 18:19-24 and 28-40
19Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20"I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."
22When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.
23"If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" 24Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
28Then 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. 29So 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."
31Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."
"But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected. 32This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.
33Pilate 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?"
36Jesus 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. 39But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?"
40They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion. (NIV)
As we read this account of the arrest of Jesus, we see that while it is similar to the accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke, there is some new and some different information in John’s Gospel. John does not as much of the discussion between the high Priest and Jesus as do the three synoptic gospels. What John contains is more information between Jesus and Pilate. As a side note, only Luke has Jesus going to see Herod where he does not say a word.
The common theme among them all is that neither Pilate nor Herod find anything to charge him with.
The one main conflict with John’s Gospel and the other three is the day this is all happening. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus and his disciples have already celebrated the Passover meal the night he was arrested. Here is verse 28, John tells us that the Passover meal is to be eaten on the day he appears before Pilate and the High Priest. We don’t know who is correct and we could spend a lot of time debating it. But the point of all three is that Jesus was crucified at the time of the Passover. For John, by placing the Passover meal a day later than the synoptic gospels, he is showing the connection in a more meaningful way. By the Passover still to happen, John is demonstrating that Jesus was crucified at the time the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. It is a powerful image of Jesus being the lamb who was sacrificed for us. I tend to believe John’s timeline because if there was a custom of releasing a prisoner at Passover, it would be cruel to release him the day after the event. But that would not be something the Romans would not do just as a cruel twist.
When we look at Pilate, we see a man who had already made two major mistakes with the Jewish people and the Jewish leaders. This made him unpopular. He came to the area around 26 AD and was removed from office in 35 AD after a third major mistake with the Jews. Many believe that is why he did not let Jesus go. He was pushed into a corner and had to kill Jesus to keep the Jews from reporting to the Emperor that he was a problem.
But as we see in verse 32, John tells us that these things were happening to indicate the kind of death Jesus would suffer and this would be a fulfillment of prophecy.
In this, we see that Jesus was an innocent person. He was sinless to his death. And because he was sinless, he was worthy to be the once and for all atonement for all our sins. Jesus freely went to the cross out of his love for us. He suffered so that we would not in all of eternity.
It can be hard to receive this kind of love. But that is how lavishly God loves us.
Blessings and Peace