John 19 -- 21
Judas led the mob, instigated by the religious authorities, and, with the cooperation of the Roman soldiers, entered the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus so often prayed. They led Him away to Annas first. . . . the father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year (John 18:13).
According to the Word of God, the high priest was to be a descendant of Aaron and retain his office until death (Exodus 40:15; Numbers 35:25). However, the Roman government appointed a new high priest every year. Therefore, in the eyes of the Jews, Annas was the real high priest and Caiaphas was only the "official" high priest.
Jesus fulfilled the prophetic type of the Lamb of God as He was led to both the Jewish then the Gentile-appointed high priests. Gethsemane was at the foot of the Mount of Olives, on the east side of Jerusalem, beyond the brook Kidron. In journeying from there to the city, they would pass through the sheep gate (Nehemiah 3:1,32; 12:39; John 5:2). It was called the sheep gate because each animal that was offered in sacrifice was led through this gate (Leviticus 17:5).
With Caiaphas were assembled the scribes and the elders (Matthew 26: 57), and, in addition to these, were the chief priests and all the council (26: 59). In a response to the question by the high priest regarding His deity, Jesus said to Caiaphas: Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven (26:64). Understanding that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, Caiaphas ripped his robe of authority and shouted out: What further need have we of witnesses? . . . you have heard His blasphemy (26:65). And when they had bound Him, they . . . delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor (27:1-2).
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent and said: I find no fault in Him (John 18:38). And, at that moment, he should have promptly released Jesus; but, instead of yielding to the voice of conscience, he sent Jesus, a Galilaean, to Herod who governed Galilee (Luke 23:5-18). Herod returned Him to Pilate, who said again to the crowd, I find no fault in Him (John 19:4). But the religious leaders cried out all the louder: Crucify Him, crucify Him. . . . We have a Law, and by our Law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. . . . If you let this man go, you are not Caesars friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar (19:6-12).
These were charges Pilate could not afford to ignore. If Pilate were to release Jesus and a complaint were made by the religious Sanhedrin to the emperor, Pilate would risk losing his governorship and possibly his life. Pilate had to choose between Jesus "the Son of God" and the angry crowd. He decided to please the religious authorities. When a person compromises what is right for fear of losing prestige or anything else, he has taken the first step on the road to eternal hell. Jesus said: No servant can serve two masters (Luke 16:13).
For John 19:24: See Psa. 22:18. John 19:36: See Ex. 12:46; Psa. 34:20. John 19:37: See Zech. 12:10.
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