Praetorium

Praetorium Trial

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John 18 Commentary
John 18:2-9 Jesus of Nazareth
John 18:10-12 Judas' Kiss
John 18:13-24 Annas and Caiaphas
John 18:25-27 (A): Peter Denies Jesus
John 18:25-27 (B): Jesus' Trial

John 18:28-32 Praetorium

John 18:33-38 My Kingdom Is Not of This World
John 18:39-40 Barabbas
JOHN 18:28  28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.

What and where is "Praetorium"?
Derived from Praetor, a Latin word that means, "Leader," Praetorium is wherever the Roman emperor or governor, who represents the emperor, is staying or is headquartered, whether it be his official residence or battlefield tent. The official residence of the Roman governor of Judea was at the port city of Caesarea, so that residence typically served as his Praetorium. When he was in Jerusalem, presumably to keep an eye on the rebellious Jews during one of their biggest feasts, he stayed with the Roman garrison at Antonia Fortress, located adjacent to the northwest corner of the temple area and referred to as, "Praetorium" above.

Why didn’t they want to go inside the Praetorium?
"Lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover” (John 18:17). Jews who entered a gentile's house, where there was leavened bread, during the Passover were considered "defiled" (John 18:28) and excluded from the celebration meals.

JOHN 18:29-30  29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”

Who is "Pilate" (John 18:29)?
Pontius Pilate is the Roman governor of Judea, the province in which Jerusalem is located.

Why did he have to go "out to them" (John 18:29)?
They wouldn't come inside, so he had to go out to Antonia Fortress' gate, where there were.

What is the Jews' initial response to Pilate's opening question?
"If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you." (John 18:30)

Why do they respond in such vague terms?
Either they thought calling Jesus an "evildoer" would be good enough for Pilate to sentence Him to death, or something else is at play.

Who had gone to arrest Jesus a few hours earlier?
600 Roman soldiers, among others.

Who must have approved the deployment of 10% of his legion?
Pilate.

To win that approval, what must the Jews already have done?
Accused Jesus before Pilate.

Then why did Pilate ask them, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" (John 18:29)
He is holding court and wants them to formally file charges against the accused.

Then why did Pilate ask them, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" (John 18:29)
He is holding court and wants them to formally file charges against the accused.

What does the response of the Jews - "If he were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you" (John 18:30) - amount to?
'We got the guy, so let's get this over with.'

JOHN 18:31-32  31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

What is Pilate telling the Jews?
If they aren't going to play by his rules, he isn't going to help them.

Why do the Jews respond, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death” (John 18:31)?
Under Roman law, only a Roman court could sentence someone to death. That's why they had brought Jesus to Pilate in the first place.

What do the Jews end up doing?
"And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” (Luke 23:2)

Are they right?
Jesus called Himself God, not "King," didn't pervert the nation, and permitted paying taxes to Caesar: "Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s." (Matthew 22:15-21)

Then why did the Jews lie to Pilate?
Claiming to be king and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar would be seditious and punishable by death.

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