Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “ It is as you say.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “ I find no guilt in this man.” But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”
When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 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.
Understanding And Applying the Text
The chief priests and scribes came to Pilate because they believed Jesus was worthy of death. He had admitted that he believed he was the Son of God. Rome did not allow them to put a person to death. Only Rome could exercise capital punishment. So, they knew that Pilate put Jesus to death. A violation of Jewish religious laws would not do. They needed another charge. They needed a charge Rome, especially Pilate would care about. They accused Jesus of teaching people not to pay their taxes. And he assumed the title of King. The first charge was an outright fabrication. Earlier Jesus said to pay to Caesar what was owed to Caesar. (Matthew 22:21) The second was a stretch. Jesus did present himself as the king of the Jews. But this was not in the sense the chief priests and scribes presented it. Pilate saw through it. I can almost hear the panic in their voices. They tried again. He stirs people up not only in Jerusalem but all over the region. They were trying to ratchet it up. Hearing Jesus came from Galilee was music to Pilate’s ears. He could send him to Herod, the ruler of that region, and rid himself of this nuisance. So that is what he did.
The chief priests and scribes were priests and leaders of the people before a holy God. But they had to fabricate and stretch the truth to get what they wanted. Their behavior was exactly the opposite of what they stood for. Be careful that you do not justify your actions for the greater good or the big picture. It is how you live in the details of your life that determine your character. It is how you live in the details of your life that affect your relationship with God.