John 18 Bible Study
While John doesn’t elaborate on what happened next, Mark and Luke do, so let's read Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46.
MARK 14:32-42 32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” 35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."
LUKE 22:39-46 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
Where exactly did Jesus take them?
They exited Jerusalem eastward and crossed "the Brook Kidron" (John 18:1) to the base of the "Mount of Olives" (Luke 22:39) where "there was a garden" (John 18:1) called "Gethsemane". (Mark 14:32)
Which disciples stayed with Jesus as He prayed?
Where were they?
"Peter, James, and John" (Mark 14:33) were a little ways away. The other eight were farther away.
What did Jesus tell them to do?
"Sit here while I pray." (Mark 14:32) "Stay here and watch." (Mark 14:34) “Watch and pray.” (Mark 14:38)
What did they end up doing?
"He came and found them sleeping." (Mark 14:37) "He found them asleep again."(Mark 14:40)
"He found them sleeping from sorrow." (Luke 22:45) The disciples were so devastated and depressed by what Jesus had told them after the supper that they literally couldn’t even keep their eyes open: "their eyes were heavy". (Mark 14:40)
Was Jesus feeling any better?
He was feeling even worse than them: "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death." (Mark 14:34) In fact, He was in such agony that He began to sweat blood: "And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:44)
Is that a figurative description of His agony?
No it's literal. When a person is under extreme physical or emotional duress, blood vessels can rupture. If they rupture in the brain, it is called a stroke. If the capillaries around the sweat glands rupture and let blood seep into the sweat glands and eventually through the sweat pores, it is called "hematohydrosis". It should be noted that this rare but documented medical condition leaves the skin extremely sensitive, and this would have aggravated the pain Jesus felt in the ensuing hours.
What does Jesus beseech the Father while being this agony?
That "the hour might pass" (Mark 14:35) from Him and for the Father to "Take this cup away from Me.” (Mark 14:36)
Why does Jesus seem to be wimping out here? Why can’t He be
more like John Wayne and say, “Give me that cup"?
He isn't agonizing over the impending physical pain of getting His back ripped open during the whipping or getting nails pounded into Him on the cross. Those will be painful and humiliating things to suffer, but not worth Jesus sweating blood over. Some of the martyrs who died for Jesus in the last 2000 years in fact suffered even more painful deaths but died singing hymns and praises to God.
If not the physical pain, then what was it? What was in "the cup"?
To illustrate this, imagine a massive trophy cup in front of you. Think of some of the gross things you’ve done and pour those in the cup. Now think of all other sins you’ve committed to date and those you’re going to commit in the future and pour those in as well. Now multiply that by billions of people, and picture a massive cup brimming with filthy, revolting poison that Jesus is being asked to drink.
Does Jesus have any experience tasting even a drop of this stuff?
No, He is perfectly pure. What is being asked is for someone who is and has always been perfectly sinless to grab a hold of that massive cup of revolting filth and drink all of it so that He becomes not just "full of sin", but sin itself: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) It would have been strange for Jesus to be anything but utterly repulsed, to the extent of sweating blood, at this prospect. But there's more.
With whom has Jesus been in communion since forever?
God the Father.
How will that be affected when He becomes sin?
He can no longer be in communion with the Father, because if so, the Father would become sin as well.
What did Jesus cry out to God while hanging on the cross?
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) The prospect of being separated from the Father, whom He loved and has always been in communion was another huge reason for His agony.
Why did Jesus drink the cup in the end if He found it so revolting?
As much as He hates sin, He loves us more. And as much as He didn't want to be separated from the Father, he wanted to obey Him more.
What does Jesus' resurrection prove about His blood and
what He drank?
The cleansing power of His blood over all that sin, including ours.
What was the “final word” on what Jesus wants from the Father?
“Not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36) “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Is that what you pray for?
Could you pray that if God asked you to do the thing that you dislike?
Two more questions:
How much distress does it cause you when you think about being on your own
apart from God?
Are you as repulsed by your sins as Jesus was with the
content in the cup?
Let's also read the corresponding accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Matthew 26:48-54 48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Luke 22:48-53 48 But Jesus said to him, Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? 49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, "Permit even this." And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
How did the crowd react when Jesus identified Himself?
“They drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6)
And then what did Jesus have to do?
Repeat Himself and insist: Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He." (John 18:7-8)
What did this crowd consist of?
“A detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees.” (John 18:3) The original word translated, “detachment of troops” is "speira". It is Latin in origin and means “cohort”, which is one-tenth of a Roman legion (and the original word translated, "captain" (John 18:12) is "chiliarchos", which means the commander of such a Roman cohort). Since a Roman legion comprised of 6,000 soldiers at full strength, this crowd included about 600 Roman soldiers, as well as "officers from the chief priests and Pharisees”, meaning the Jewish temple guards.
Why did trained Roman soldiers and temple guards draw back
and fall to the ground and not believe Jesus the first time? And why had so many of them come?
To be lent that many Roman soldiers, the high priest would have had to claim to the Romans that Jesus was a dangerous rebel leader whose band posed a grave threat. This crowd had come expecting to battle dangerous rebels, not to make a simple arrest. Upon their arrival at the base of the mountain, they are about to ask an unarmed man if he’s seen the rebels and their leader, and the man declares, “I am He." (John18:5) So they’re both taken aback and incredulous.
What convinces them?
Did Jesus know why He was being kissed?
A kiss on the cheek was a sign of respect in those days, but Jesus knew this to be one of betrayal: "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)
Where were Jesus' disciples by this time?
Right "around" (Luke 22:49) Jesus. To their credit, the 11 faced off against 600 Roman soldiers, yet displayed a will to fight instead of turning tail: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” (Luke 22:49)
What happens next, before the Lord answers their question?
Peter, true to his 'act first, think later' form, strikes.
Which strategic target did he go after and what mortal blow did he strike?
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.” (John 18:10)
What does the detail, "right ear" imply about this account, and about Malchus' attire?
The precision - “right” ear - points to an eyewitness account and indicates that Malchus wasn't wearing a helmet, which means he wasn't wearing a body armor either. Peter most likely just swung at the man nearest to him, who turned out to be the unprotected and most likely unarmed "servant" (the Greek word, doulos, actually means “slave”) "of the high priest." (Luke 22:50)
What did Jesus say to Peter?
"Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" (Matthew 26:52-54)
How many angels would be in 12 legions?
72,000 (12 x 6000)
What kind of damage were they capable of?
Isaiah 37:36 records one angel killing 185,000 soldiers in one night: "Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses - all dead." So 72,000 angels could have killed 13 billion soldiers.
What could Jesus have done?
Wipe out everyone on earth.
What is He saying?
He can handle the 600+ who had come to arrest Him.
Instead, what did Jesus do?
"He touched his ear and healed him." (Luke 22:51)
What was Malchus doing there in the first place?
He was probably holding one of the "lanterns, torches" (John 18:3) for his boss, the chief priest, who was also there: "Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?" (Luke 22:52)
So in front of whom did Jesus perform His last healing miracle?
The chief priest, and right next to the torch or lantern so that he can see it clearly.
What happened next?
“Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.” (John 18:12)
But given who "went forward", identified Himself,
"healed", held back His firepower and "permit" Himself be arrested, who is in control?
Who was the high priest that year?
"Caiaphas." (John 18:13)
To whom was Jesus taken first?
"Annas." (John 18:13)
Who was Annas?
Caiaphas’ "father-in-law." (John 18:13)
Why would Jesus be taken first to the father-in-law of the
Annas had been the high priest since 7 AD but the Romans found him hard to push around and told him to step down. He did so in 14 AD but installed his son-in-law in his place in 18 AD. So officially, Caiphas was the high priest. But the real power lay with his father-in-law, Annas, whom the Jews still considered to be the real high priest.
Who was this “another disciple” (John 18:15)?
John, the writer on this Gospel, who also called himself the "disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 20:2)
Who was the gatekeeper of Annas’ house?
"Servant girl who kept the door." (John 18:17)
Why did John get past her while Peter got stuck outside?
John "was known to the high priest." (John 18:16)
What did she ask Peter?
“You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” (John 18:17)
What does that question reveal about what John told her
about his and Peter’s relationship to Jesus?
The “also” indicates that John told her that he was Jesus' disciple, but didn’t tell her that Peter was, which probably piqued her curiosity and led her to probe Peter.
What is Annas interested in?
The accomplices and the ideology of the threat to his power: "The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine." (John 18:19)
How does Jesus respond?
He reminds Annas that his own cronies - “the Jews” (John 18:20) - know the answers, so to ask them.
How did "one of the officers" (John 18:22) of the temple guard hit Jesus?
He slapped him: "struck Jesus with the palm of his hand." (John 18:22)
For what perceived reason?
What is ironic about that?
He slapped God for insolence.
Let's read the corresponding account in Luke 22.
Luke 22:58-62 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
How do you think Jesus looked at Peter?
Most likely with love and pity, since He knew how broken Peter would be over this.
How much of a coward was Peter?
Denying his master not once but three times certainly appears cowardly, but the question that arises is, "What was Peter doing in the high priest's house in first place?" If anyone should have feared being arrested, it was Peter. He's the one guilty of attempted murder, and since the man whose ears he had chopped off was the servant of the high priest, the last place he should have gone to was the house of the high priest.
Was Peter hoping to not be recognized?
If so, that hope was dashed when the girl asked him at the door, "You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?" (John 18:17) It isn't surprising that he lied to her - "I am not!" (John 18:17) - but what he then should have done is to make up some excuse, turn around and leave the place right away, first at a walk, then at full sprint. Instead, he went inside and stayed.
Was Peter thinking that a servant girl who saw him in the dark couldn't cause him much trouble?
If so, why did he lie and stay for another "hour" (Luke 22:59) when "they" (John 18:25), including "officers" (John 18:18) recognized his face lit around "a fire" (John 18:18)? The third time he was recognized, Peter even "began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" (Matthew 26:74) But he still intended to stay, and only left when he realized Jesus' prophecy about his denials had come true.
So why did Peter stay and deny Jesus?
In his own way, Peter was trying to be protective of - to "look out" for - Jesus. And if staying near his master required him to lie, lie he would. True to his usual form, Peter's actions weren't thought through and he deserved to weep "bitterly" (Luke 22:62) for denying Jesus as he did. But the one thing he isn't guilty of is cowardice. A coward wouldn't have swung his sword in front of 600 Roman soldiers or gone anywhere near the high priest's house.
Did Jesus need Peter's protection?
God can take care of Himself just fine. He didn't need Peter's protection back then, and He doesn't need ours now. What He does want from His followers is not to betray our relationship with Him. The next time non-believers are mocking Jesus without knowing that a Christian is in their midst, a simple "I just want you to know that I believe in Jesus and He is my Lord” from the latter would count more than swinging swords or trying to “look out” for Jesus as Peter did.
What’s happening to Jesus while Peter is denying Him?
Matthew 26:59-68 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ” 62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66 What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
Had Jesus really said, "I am able to destroy the
temple of God and to build it in three days"?
No, He had said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19)
So what three errors are in their accusation?
Jesus had said, "Destroy" (John 2:19), meaning 'when you destroy', not “I am able to destroy" (Matthew 26:61). He also had said, "this temple" (John 2:19), meaning His own body, not the “temple of God” (Matthew 26:61). And He had said that He will "raise it up" (John 2:19), meaning His resurrection, not "build it" (Matthew 26:61).
Since they had already decided to kill Jesus and now have
Him, why are they bothering with testimonies?
"The chief priests, the elders, and all the council" (Matthew 26:59) - i.e., the Sanhedrin - is holding a court trial to make it official.
Besides the false testimony above, is anything else wrong with these proceedings?
No fewer than 8 things are wrong with these proceedings: (1) When holding court, members of the Sanhedrin were allowed to speak in defense of the accused but not against him, yet the high priest spoke against Jesus: "He has spoken blasphemy!" (Matthew 26:65); (2) for the court's decision to be valid, the trial had to be held at the Hall of the Hewn Stone inside the temple precinct, but they met at the high priest's house; (3) the court could not meet at night, yet they met at night ; (4) the court could not meet during a great feast, yet they met during the Passover feast; (5) all witnesses had to be examined separately, yet when their testimonies didn’t match, they brought forward together "two" false witnesses; (6) each member of the Sanhedrin had to give their verdict separately, yet they sentenced Him to death together; (7) the youngest member of the Sanhedrin had to render his verdict first, so as not to be influenced by the older, more powerful ones, yet the high priest rendered his verdict first; and (8) if the sentence was death, a night had to elapse before it was to be carried out, yet Jesus was nailed to the cross by 9am.
Why were they asking Jesus, "Who is the one who
struck You?" as they hit Him?
They had blindfolded Him: "Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?" (Luke 22:63-64)
Did they make an attempt to clean up at least some of the 8 illegalities above?
LUKE 22:66-71 66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. 68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. 69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” 70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” 71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
Which of the above illegalities did they clean up?
#2 and #3. They led Jesus "into their council", meaning their usual place in the temple precinct "as soon as it was day" to rubberstamp their decision.
Did Jesus help or hinder them in their efforts?
He helped them. In fact, when they had trouble getting the false testimonies to match at the high priest's house, it was Jesus who made it easy for them by declaring, "I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy!" (Matthew 26:64-65)
Why would those words make it easy for them and bring about accusation of "blasphemy"?
Jesus was declaring His deity by referring to Old Testament prophecies they understood. "Son of Man... coming in the clouds of heaven" was a reference to Daniel 7:13-14: "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." And "Sitting at the right hand of the Power" was a reference to Psalm 110:1: "The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
How about at daybreak in the temple precinct?
He repeated Himself, "Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God" and answered, "I am" when they asked Him, "Are You then the Son of God?" (Luke 22:70)
Why was the reason for Jesus' death sentence important?
He not only had to die, but die for the right reason. Imagine if He were crucified after having been accused of robbery or rape. It wouldn’t have carried the significance of being crucified for having declared that He is God and after repeatedly having said that He had come to die to save us from our sins.
So whose testimony enabled their verdict?
Who is in control of these developments?
Jesus timed Judas Iscariot's departure to fetch the soldiers. Jesus volunteered Himself for arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus picked the reason for His own crucifixion. Jesus is in control of the developments thus far, and to come.
What and where is the "Praetorium" (John 18:28)?
“Praetorium” meant wherever the Roman governor happens to be staying or headquartering, whether it be his official residence or a tent. While the official residence of the Roman governor of Judea was at the port city of Caesarea, he was in Jerusalem, presumably to keep an eye on the rebellious Jews during one of their biggest feasts, and staying at the Roman garrison at Antonia Fortress, located adjacent to the northwest corner of the temple area, and being referred to as Praetorium.
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 was considered "defiled" (John 18:28) and excluded from the celebration meals.
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?
600 Roman soldiers, among others.
Who must have approved the deployment of 10% of his legion?
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.
How does he rebut their initial answer?
"You take Him and judge Him according to your law." (John 18:31)
What is he saying?
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 the Roman law, only a Roman court could sentence someone to death. That's what 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.
Where does Pilate interrogate Jesus?
Inside the Praetorium, away from the Jews outside.
How does Jesus answer Pilate's question, "What have
You done? (John 18:35)"
Strictly in the spiritual realm, while Pilate remains in the physical realm.
By "My servants" (John 18:36), is Jesus referring to His disciples?
No, the "twelve legions of angels" God the Father would provide if Jesus asked for them.
Where is the answer to Pilate’s question "What is truth? (John 18:38)"
Standing in front of him: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" (John 14:6)
How did the Jews react to Pilate's declaration of Jesus'
Luke 23:5-16 5 But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.” 6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. 7 And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. 8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. 9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other. 13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.”
What are the Jews trying to do in Luke 23:5?
Pile on accusations.
What does Pilate pick up?
A loophole - a way out for himself. Deferring Jesus to Herod would be the first for his three attempts to avoid crucifying Jesus.
Where was Herod?
In his palace, which was the fortress at Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem's main western gate located about 15 minute walk west of Antonia Fortress.
Why did Jesus ignore Herod?
He doesn’t want to stoop to their circus, and Herod didn't have the power to crucify Him.
Why did Herod send Jesus back to Herod "arrayed in a gorgeous robe" (Luke 23:11)?
He was acknowledging Jesus to be a king, in jest, which Pilate appears to have appreciated: "That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other." (Luke 23:12)
What is wrong with Pilate’s statement in Luke 23:13-16?
If he found “no fault” in Jesus, he should have just released Him, not "chastise him", and then "release him".
Why did he offer to "chastise" Him?
Most probably to try to appease the Jews enough to make them go away.
Let’s read the corresponding account in Matthew 27:15-23.
Matthew 27: 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” 22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”
Did Pilate know the Jews’ real motive for wishing to have Jesus killed?
Yes, "He knew that they had handed Him over because of envy." (Matthew 27:18)
How might his wife's message have influenced that impression?
Most probably confirmed it.
Who was this "notorious prisoner called Barabbas"?
A murderer: "And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion." (Mark 15:7)
Why did Pilate offer him as an alternative to Jesus?
Since the crowd was calling for the death of a rebel leader, Pilate was offering them a real one, betting that they would be forced to choose Jesus over a murderer. This was Pilate's second attempt to avoid crucifying Jesus.