Gospel of John [18:36-38]. Christ's trials, part 10. Before Herod.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [18:36-38]. Christ's trials, part 10. Before Herod.



JOH 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."


JOH 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king [the only part that the synoptics record]. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 


Christ's is the only kingdom founded upon the absolute truth, which in grace, is of ultimate benefit to all citizens of it.


From Babylon to Assyria to Egypt to Persia to Greece to Rome to the Ottoman there have been kingdom after kingdom based on wealth, power, and prestige but only materialistically and only to those at the top. When Christ returns there will be for the first time an earthly kingdom based on the truth and until then there is a spiritual kingdom being built that is based on the same.


JOH 18:38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no guilt in Him.


This question was probably asked in contempt, and hence Jesus did not answer it. Christ uses the definite article - "the truth" while Pilate does not - anything called truth. Jesus meant "the absolute" truth: Pilate, truth in any particular case.


In Christ, these are not just words, but truth and life:


1TI 6:12-13

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate.


And although Jesus made a good confession before Pilate that He was indeed a king, Pilate concluded that whatever the nature of His claims might be, He had committed no offense against the law that was Pilate's duty to defend. He leaves Jesus under guard inside the praetorium and goes outside to speak to the accusers.


We give credit to Pilate for being fair and just as a judge of Roman law, but what he missed was the truth in Christ's words. They were dismissed as mystical nonsense as the idea of the kingdom not of this world would seem to such a man who believes Rome to be the end all be all of human existence and human ambition.


In John and Matthew it seems that Pilate initiates the offer to release a prisoner according to the custom. In Mark and Luke it seems that the accusers and bystanders first ask Pilate. In Luke we have a second set of accusations after Pilate announces His innocence and then, discovering that Jesus is a Galilean, he sends him to Herod in the hope that Herod would take care of it.


LUK 23:3 And Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, "It is as you say." 


LUK 23:4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no guilt in this man."


LUK 23:5 But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as far as this place."


LUK 23:6 But when Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.


LUK 23:7 And when he learned that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.


So, it would seem that upon relating to the priests and elders who brought Jesus to him that he deemed Him innocent, they came back with another set of accusations about Him stirring up the people, implying that He was stirring them up against Rome in order to start a rebellion.


To this fresh set of accusations, though related to the first, Pilate must have had Jesus come out to hear them, for in Roman law, everything was open and the accused was to hear his accusers. Jesus stood silent and without defense and this amazed Pilate. Pilate has another granted pause by God. This man Jesus is no ordinary Man.


MAT 27:12-14

And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.


MAR 15:3-5

And the chief priests began to accuse Him harshly. And Pilate was questioning Him again, saying, "Do You make no answer? See how many charges they bring against You!" But Jesus made no further answer; so that Pilate was amazed.


Pilate must wonder to himself how this Man doesn't seem to fear death, for that's what's at stake here. Either He is an incredible Man or He's crazy, which seems to be the choices that all people come to. Yet He doesn't act or talk crazy. Pilate was amazed and perhaps for the first time as a protector of the law, was unsure of what to do. So when he hears that Jesus is of Galilee he gladly seized on what offered the prospect of devolving the responsibility on another.


Whether they discussed the prisoner releasing custom at this time or only after Jesus returned from Herod, or whether they discussed it before and after He was sent to Herod, cannot be determined. We know that the common people who by a little after dawn had come to know that Jesus was arrested and also knowing the custom of the prisoner release came to the praetorium and together, outside the place of judgment, demanded that Barabbas be released and Jesus be crucified. Jesus took Barabbas' place, the cross that was destined for Barabbas - we are all Barabbas.


It would seem to me that Pilate and the priests discussed it amongst themselves, and then knowing that Pilate was wanting to release Jesus rather than a real and dangerous criminal in Barabbas, the religious leaders later, after Jesus returned from Herod, incited the crowd to bend towards their desires.


Only Luke records the meeting with Herod.


Trial 5: Meeting before Herod.


Herod occupied the old Maccabean Palace, which was close to that of the high priest, and so, back Jesus goes, likely down the same streets, towards Herod.


Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, had already imprisoned John the Baptist and had him beheaded.


LUK 23:8 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.


When Herod first heard of Jesus he thought He was John the Baptist resurrected. Jesus was later told by the Pharisees that Herod desired to kill Him. Jesus responded:


LUK 13:31 Just at that time some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, "Go away and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."


LUK 13:32 And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.'


He is in Perea at the time, just north of the Dead Sea, on His way to Jerusalem.


LUK 13:33 "Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.


It had been decreed from eternity that the Messiah would be crucified in Jerusalem during Passover. Nothing and no one can stop God's timetable or plans.


Herod only desires Jesus to perform some signs for him. The spoiled tetrarch desires a magic show.


LUK 23:9 And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.


LUK 23:10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.


LUK 23:11 And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.


We have three participles here that describe how He was treated by Herod and his men of war.


1) Treating Him with contempt - despise, regard as nothing.

2) Mocking - make sport of as a child, ridicule.

3) Dressed Him - wrapped around with bright splendid clothes.


By the description we cannot conclude that they attacked Him physically. Herod was a tetrarch, meaning he was allowed by Rome to only rule part of the area (Galilee and Perea) that his father, Herod the Great, was king of. Herod Antipas wanted to be given the right of king of the entire area by the Romans. When Jesus, who was accused of claiming to be king of the Jews and Messiah wouldn't pacify Herod's desire for a miracle, we can imagine that his mocking, ridicule was of the sort that mocked Christ as a king, arraying Him in splendid clothes that Herod had in abundance while despising Him and regarding Him as nothing. We can imagine that they may have changed Him into different splendid and bright outfits and then laughed themselves silly at Him while hurling all the insults at Him that they could think of. As with all people of this caliber, they would have only quit on it when they got tired of it - ignorant little children. As with the kiss of Judas, the arrest in the Garden, the blow from the servant of Annas, the false witnesses before Caiaphas, the mocking, beating, spitting after that travesty of a trial, the rejection of His beloved Peter, the accusations before Pilate, and now this, He submitted to the indignity in understanding that He would be judged for all things done against Him through all of this.  


The evil of Herod is arraying Him in splendid clothes and mocking Him is seen on display in the rebuilt Babylon of the Tribulation, which Christ will mock.


The evil of Herod is reproduced in a greater way in the future when the beast, the antichrist, attacks the saints during the Tribulation. The beast is ridden by a woman who is Babylon the Great, the beginning of religion (after the flood - Tower of Babel) and the end of it.


REV 17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.


REV 17:4 And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,


REV 17:5 and upon her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."


REV 17:6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.


What they did in mockery and ridicule to the one true King, Jesus Christ, they desire for themselves and when Babylon is restored under the rulership of the beast, this will epitomize Satan's kingdom of splendor for the few while the masses strive in poverty.


PSA 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar, And the peoples devising a vain thing?


PSA 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand, And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed:


PSA 2:3 "Let us tear their fetters apart, And cast away their cords from us!"


PSA 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.


PSA 2:5 Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury:


PSA 2:6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain."


PSA 2:7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee.


PSA 2:8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.


PSA 2:9 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'"


PSA 2:10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.


PSA 2:11 Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling.


PSA 2:12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!


The Lord is not a champion of redistribution of wealth or socialism or communism, but of freedom. No earthly nation, even our own, can do what Christ's kingdom can do since all earthly nations are filled with soulish men and so can never be based on absolute truth. For this we can only depend on the Lord of glory.


Yet this woman, an adulteress and the mother of harlots is greatly contrasted with Christ's true kingdom which contains His bride.


What a great difference between a adulteress who is a mother of harlots and a bride made ready for her Husband/King.


REV 17:1 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,


REV 17:2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality."


REV 17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.


REV 21:9 And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."


REV 21:10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain [in 17:3 it's a desert], and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,


LUK 23:12 Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been at enmity with each other.


Since Pilate had already interviewed Jesus and then sent Him to Herod, it was as if Pilate was asking for Herod's opinion and so in a manner, flattering Herod and they agree, for Herod does not find any guilt in Christ either. Whatever the feud was between the governor and the tetrarch this show of acknowledgement for Herod's opinion dissolved the feud and they became friends.


The priests and elders return to the Temple and are approached by Judas who is guilt ridden and desires to return the 30 pieces of silver.


It would seem that during the mocking of Christ by Herod and his soldiers that the members of the Sanhedrin who accused Him before Herod went back to the Temple. There they likely continued to discuss how they can insight Pilate to crucify Him. You can imagine their angst since both Pilate and Herod considered Jesus innocent and there was the very real possibility that He would be released.


It is likely during this time of deliberation that they are interrupted by Judas who in tremendous guilt desires to return the 30 pieces of silver given to him for delivering Jesus up to them. Only Matthew records this.