John 19:12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour [noon]. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 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.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
The Jews have cleverly manipulated Pilate into a terrible spot with their charge that Jesus has called Himself a king. Pilate’s job is to preserve Caesar’s absolute authority. There must not be a king who opposes Caesar! The truth is he’s found Jesus to be innocent of any political intent and rebellion against Rome but the longer this situation goes on the more likely it is Caesar will hear about it and that will be trouble. The only evidence the Jews have produced to support their charge against Jesus is a loud and demanding crowd repeatedly calling for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate brings Jesus before the mob one more time and demands “Behold your King!…Shall I crucify your King?” And then the real truth of the evidence against Jesus came to him: the chief priests were just like him…willing to sacrifice Jesus for self-preservation. They answered “we have no king but Caesar. So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.”
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus did not need to speak to preserve His life.
What does it say about people?
Angry people create mobs to protect themselves.
Is there truth here for me?
Self-preservation is an instinctual defense mechanism that can be good or bad. It can result in protection or become self-justification. Self-justification for self-preservation is the sad part of this story. Pilate justified his part in the killing of Jesus because he wanted to protect his loyalty to Caesar alone. The Jews justified their part in the killing of Jesus because they wanted to protect God’s loyalty to them alone.