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John57 – the hated out-of-this-world king

So they brought Jesus away from Caiaphas into the governor's residence. In fact it was early, and they themselves did not come in into the governor's residence in order that they may not be defiled, but may eat the Passover. (John 18: 28)
In John’s eye-witness biography of Jesus, it’s the night before his crucifixion on Passover day AD 30. He must appear before Pilate the Roman supremo.

But who exactly are the “they” in the above record? It seems (see below) that “the Jews” (literally “the [AD30] Judeans”) alone comprise the “they”. All of them are scrupulous about maintaining their own purity for the Passover meal that evening. They will be defiled if they enter “government-house” – but will remain defilement-free even if they procure Jesus’ execution as a criminal. 
So Pilate came out outside towards them and announced, “What accusation do you bring with reference to this man?” They answered and said to him, “If this man was not doing evil, we had not given him over to you.” 

“They” ask Pilate to accept – without any proof or any investigation by him – their own verdict that Jesus deserves a criminal’s punitive death.

So Pilate said to them, “You lay hold of him and judge him with reference to your law!” The Judeans said to him, “It is lawful for us to kill no one,” in order that the word of Jesus may be fulfilled that he had said, signposting what kind of death he was about to die. 

Pilate’s response is that, if he has no role, they had better get on with it all by themselves alone. This prompts the disclosure that they want Pilate to kill him by the standard Roman method of the day – crucifixion – because they can’t.

So Pilate came in again into the governor's residence and called Jesus and said to him, “You yourself are the king of the Judeans?” Jesus answered, “You state this from yourself, or others said to you concerning me?” 

Like most honest people who have reached a position of responsible judicial authority, Pilate goes straight to the key issue. Is Jesus a “king”? If so he is a threat to the 60-year-old Roman Empire. When he states to Jesus that he is a “king”, Jesus asks if it is he, Pilate, or others that had made that decision. 

Pilate answered, “Perhaps I myself am a Judean? Your nation and the lead priests gave you over to me. What did you do?” 

Pilate replies that he could personally have decided that only if he himself was Judean. It is Jesus’ own “nation” and “the chief priests” who have given him over to crucifixion. “What have you done” for that to be the case, he then asks.

Jesus answered, “My own kingdom is not from this world. If my own kingdom was from this world, my officials were fighting in order that I may not be given over to the Judeans. In fact right now this my own kingdom is not from here.” So Pilate said to him, “So then you are a king.” 

What Jesus has done is to come into this world from another kingdom of his own. He tells Pilate about his “kingdom”. It’s not of this world as shown by the fact that no-one of this world will try to save him from death. In fact, it’s not “from here”. Pilate spots Jesus’ own claim to kingship and questions it. 

Jesus answered, “You yourself state that I am a king. Into this I was born, and into this I have come into the world in order that I may testify to the truth. Everyone being from the truth hears my voice.” 

Jesus makes known yet more to Pilate. He says he “was born” into his kingdom and “came into this world” so that he might give unequivocal testimony about the truth of how different is his not-of-this-world kingdom. 

Here is a righteous and totally altruistic king. He will testify to that by allowing himself to be crucified so that he may forgive those who kill him. Those “from the truth” will hear his voice. Others will prefer their own self-seeking truth. 

Pilate states to him, “What is truth?” And having said this, he came out again towards the Judeans and states to them, “I myself find no one fault in him. In fact it is your custom in order that I set free one to you in the Passover. So you purpose I may set free to you the king of the Judeans?” So they shouted again, saying, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” In fact, Barabbas was a revolutionary. 

“Barabbas”, the “revolutionary", is the AD 30 elected ruler. The totally altruistic king needs to show what his not-of-this-world kingdom is like – by dying for “them.”
Sinner Syvret

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