The verse tells us that “they led him away.” These words come from the Greek word apago. The word apago is used for a shepherd who ties a rope about the neck of his sheep and then leads it down the path to where it needs to go (see April 13). Just as the soldiers had led Jesus to Caiaphas, now they slipped a rope about His neck and walked the “Lamb of God” to Pontius Pilate.

The Bible says that once Jesus was in Pilate’s jurisdiction, they then “…delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” The word “delivered” is the word paradidomi, the same word we saw when Jesus committed Himself to the Father who judges righteously (see April 13). However, in this case, the meaning would more likely be to commit, to yield, to transmit, to deliver, or to hand something over to someone else.

This means that when the high priest ordered Jesus to be taken to Pilate, he officially made the issue Pilate’s problem. The high priest took Jesus to Pilate; delivered Him fully into Pilate’s hands; and then left Pilate with the responsibility of finding Him guilty and crucifying Him.

Matthew 27:11 says, “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.” Pilate asked a direct question, but Jesus refused to directly answer him. Matthew 27:12 goes on to say, “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.” So for a second time, Jesus refused to answer or refute the charges that were brought up against Him.

Matthew 27:13, 14 tells us what happened next: “Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.” Notice the Bible says Pilate “marveled greatly” at Jesus’ silence. In Greek, this phrase is the word thaumadzo, which means to wonder; to be at a loss of words; to be shocked and amazed.

Pilate was dumbfounded by Jesus’ silence because Roman law permitted prisoners three chances to open their mouths to defend themselves. If a prisoner passed up those three chances to speak in his defense, he would be automatically charged as “guilty.” In Matthew 27:11, Jesus passed up His first chance. In Matthew 27:12, He passed up His second chance. Now in Matthew 27:14, Jesus passes up His final chance to defend Himself.

At the very end of this time of interrogation, Pilate asked Jesus, “Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it” (Luke 23:3). John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus added, “…My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). After hearing these answers, “then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4).

As you will see in tomorrow’s Sparkling Gem, Pilate searched diligently for a loophole so he wouldn’t have to kill Jesus. John 19:12 says, “And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him.…” But nothing Pilate could do was able to stop the plan from being implemented. Even Jesus passed up His three chances to defend Himself, because He knew the Cross was a part of the Father’s plan.

When Jesus finally answered Pilate’s question, He still didn’t defend Himself, knowing it was the appointed time for Him to be slain as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. But Pilate didn’t want to crucify Him. In fact, the Roman governor began looking for a loop­hole - for some way out of putting this Man to death.