First Stage of the Roman Trial (Part 3)
We closed our previous lesson with Pilate asking Jesus the question - "What is truth?" (John 18:38). It should be noted that this an inquiry all men should ask and seek the answer to. What exactly is truth? Jesus is truth (cf. John 14:6), God's word is truth (cf. John 17:17), and truth--when believed and obeyed--is what makes one free (cf. John 8:31,32). Pilate would have been wise to continue questioning Jesus on this subject! But instead Pilate "went out again to the Jews, and said to them, 'I find no fault in Him at all.'" Pilate had made his decision, and he reported it to the Jews. He was fully satisfied that Jesus had violated no Roman law. As far as Pilate was concerned, Jesus was no threat to Roman authority, even if He was a king of some sort.

Although Pilate rendered a proper judgment at this time, his subsequent actions revealed a weak character. Since he found no fault in Jesus, he should have immediately released Him. Apparently, he lacked the courage to do this. He began seeking for another way out of this situation. He hoped to find a solution that wouldn't bring down the wrath of the Jews upon himself.

"And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing" (Matt. 27:12). When Pilate left the Praetorium to go speak with the Jewish leaders, Jesus must have been escorted behind him. More accusations are hurled against Jesus, but He listens to them in silence. Isaiah predicted this when he wrote - "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth (53:7).

Pilate asked if Jesus was hearing all the accusations being made against Him (cf. Matt. 27:13). "But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly" (Matt. 27:14). Jesus was silent but not ill-tempered. Our Lord did reply to all appropriate questions (i.e., honest inquiries that needed answers). Jesus certainly could have defended Himself verbally, but such would have frustrated the Father's will and purpose for Him coming to this planet (cf. John 12:23-28). Additionally, there was nothing that He could say to change the mind of those who yearned for His death. Jesus knew that Pilate did not believe the charges that the Jews brought against Him anyway, so there truly was no reason for Him to speak.

Pilate marveled greatly because he certainly had never before known a prisoner who had been accused of a capital crime by such powerful men to appear so indifferent to the results of his trial. Pilate also was amazed (and likely confused) as to why Jesus was making no effort to vindicate Himself (since He was capable of such).

"But they were the more fierce, saying, 'He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place'" (Luke 23:5). The Jews continue to protest Pilate's ruling, and they do so desperately and passionately. Here they are trying to emphasize the largeness of territory that Jesus had traveled (all the while as a troublemaker, allegedly) in an effort to cover up the smallness of their evidence against Him.

We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.