John 18.33-35 cont.
33 Then Pilate again went into the Praetorium and called Jesus and said to Him: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus replied: “Are you saying this from yourself, or have others told you about Me?”
35 Pilate replied: “Am I a Jew? Your nation and chief priests delivered You to me. What have You done?”
Pilate asks a second question by asking Jesus what He had done.
Perhaps there have been many times when we have been asked the same question. Sometimes it may have been because we have done something bad, especially when we were children. At other times it may be because we have been engaged on some worthy project and someone else genuinely wants to know what we have been doing. They may want to know how we have achieved what we have done so that they may do the same things.
The question: “What have you done?” opens up the way for us, and others, to share the good things that the Lord has been leading us in. It is a question that can lead to us giving testimony to the blessings of Jesus.
However, Pilate was asking the question in a negative way. He assumed that Jesus must have done something wrong, since he had upset the Jewish leaders. Pilate assumed that Jesus had caused great offence within His own nation’s religion and customs. Therefore, he requires more information from Jesus.
We shall look at the response of Jesus a little later on, but as far as Pilate was concerned he only wanted to know if Jesus had committed any offence that was worthy of the death penalty.
His question took for granted that He must have committed some kind of crime. It was also a question where Pilate was giving Jesus an opportunity to defend Himself without any interference from His accusers. He did not take it for granted that Jesus had committed an offence against Rome.
Pilate is often portrayed as a weak governor, because of the final outcome. However, he did give Jesus a private hearing, He did give Jesus the opportunity to defend Himself and to explain what He had done. He did give Him the opportunity to describe what He had done without the intimidation of the Jews (not that Jesus would have been intimidated).
At this point Pilate was not being weak, but he showed strength to withstand the clamour of the Jews.
He did not condemn Jesus just by listening to the claims of the Jews.
The word of God tells us:
The first to speak in court sounds right, until the cross-examination begins – Proverbs 18.17.
These are words we all need to hold in our minds.