John 18:31-35
John 18:31 (KJB)
Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
Under Roman occupation, the Jews were allowed some latitude to govern some internal matters, especially matters of religion. However, they were disallowed from putting anyone to death and if there was a case it had to be brought before the Roman authorities for determination. At this point, Pilate did not find anything against Jesus which could be considered a threat to Rome so he told them to make judgments against Jesus according to their law. The Jews then told Pilate that they were not allowed to put anyone to death. If they were given this privilege, they would probably had already stoned Jesus on the charge of blasphemy. The Jewish leaders were underhanded and did not want to put Jesus to death themselves, instead they wanted it done by the governing authorities, this way it would look like they were innocent and Jesus was guilty of a crime against Rome.
John 18:32 (KJB)
That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.
Jesus had spoken many times about the manner in which He was to be executed. He had spoken of it coming by crucifixion so therefore He could not die according to the normal manner the Jews would put somebody to death by means of stoning. By Jesus being brought to the Romans, it confirmed the manner of death by which He would die since the Romans had been using crucifixion for many years. (John 3:14 KJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: Jesus prophesied His mode of death at the beginning of His ministry.
John 18:33 (KJB)
Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
When Pilate once again called Jesus, he now confronts Him with a question concerning His rank. Pilate asked Him if He was King of the Jews? A person claiming to be a king would have been a challenge to the authority of Caesar and was a punishable offense. (John 12:13 KJV) Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, they hailed Him as the King of Israel. At the beginning of His ministry, Nathanael had called Him the King of Israel. (John 1:49 KJV) Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. The Jews no doubt brought this accusation to Pilate and told him that Jesus was claiming to be a king.
Jesus was not king of the earthly Jews but He was and is the King of spiritual Israel, which is the body of believers. (Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Those who are saved are called the Israel of God. The name “Israel” means “prince with God.” When people become saved they become sons and daughters of God and since God is King of the universe, then that makes us princes and princesses. In a few verses Jesus will tell Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world and when a person becomes saved, they have dual citizenship at present but in the future, it will be citizenship in Heaven. (Phil 3:20 KJV) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: It is also interesting that in John 18:36 Jesus states that His kingdom is not of “this world.” These words are in the genitive which means Jesus was speaking of the world we live in at present because the world is an evil world and permeated with sin. Jesus will rule over this world after it is remade according to righteousness. (2 Pet 3:13 KJV) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. For further study on the “Israel of God” go to:
John 18:34 (KJB)
Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
Jesus is merely asking Pilate if he is saying these things of himself or did someone bring an accusation against Him concerning any rebellion against the Roman government? Jesus was gently interrogating the interrogator. Jesus knew that He had not been guilty of sedition in any manner and wanted to extract that information from Pilate. He wanted Pilate to admit or reveal the source of that statement about Jesus being a King.
John 18:35 (KJB)
Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
Pilate now responds to Jesus with anger in his tone. Pilate did not like the Jews nor did he show any patience with them. When he asked Jesus if He was a Jew, it was done in a derogatory manner because Pilate was a typical pompous Roman who thought they were superior to others since they ruled over many conquered areas. Pilate had found nothing which could be construed as rebellion against Rome. Pilate then states that it was the Jews, His own people, who delivered Him up to Rome. Pilate then asks what has He done to be brought before the Roman Governor as probably Pilate was perplexed since no formal charges or witnesses ever accompanied Jesus into the Judgment Hall. Since the Jews would not come in because they would defile themselves, Pilate did not know what to do with this situation.