“Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,” (John 19:14–16, ESV)
We see three things happening as Pilate [doesn’t] passes sentence on Jesus [Have you noticed that Pilate never does pass sentence on Jesus? He just hands him over to be crucified.]
- Final Rejection – Away with him, away with him, crucify him! This is what the Jewish opponents of Jesus cry out. It is their final rejection of his kingship and deity. They do not believe him. They will not believe him. They will have him crucified. They will not receive him as king.
- Final Hypocrisy – Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” This is truly shocking. The chief priests, in their blood lust, proclaim that they have no king but Caesar? Don Carson points out the irony here: “In order to execute Jesus, the Jewish authorities make themselves out to be more loyal subjects of Caesar than the hated Roman official Pilate is. They thereby demonstrate their slavery not only to sin (8:34) but to the political thraldom they earlier disavowed (8:33).”
Alfred Plummer adds: ‘“The official organs of the theocracy themselves proclaim that they have abandoned the faith by which the nation had lived.” Sooner than acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah they proclaim that a heathen Emperor is their King.’
- Final Day – This will be Jesus’ final day. There is a certain inevitability of events against which no one can swim. Don Carson comments: ” During all this time it became ever clearer that justice demanded Jesus be released while evil’s tide rolled inexorably on and brought him to the cross—the evil of the Jews, the evil of Pilate, the evil of all those for whom the Lamb of God died.”
He will be dead before the sun sets, indeed it happens so fast that Pilate himself is surprised. The Passover lamb is sacrificed. The chief priests and opponents of Christ go home happy. The disciples gather together dejected and sad. They think that all is lost. They make plans to anoint his body, the day after the Sabbath. All is lost…
…but Sunday is coming.