Jesus Handed Over to Pontius Pilate

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. – Matthew 27:1-2.


As morning breaks, the Jewish religious leaders’ plot to kill Jesus nears its ultimate and evil climax. He is bound and taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. (They know that the Jews have no power of death penalty because they are under Roman law.)


“When morning came” (v.1) — Romans held court early each day, probably because of the heat. Most of the pilgrims and citizens of Jerusalem were not awake yet. It would have been around 6 A.M.

“all the chief priests and elders of the people” — The plural referred to the priestly family of Annas, who had purchased this office from the Romans. He was succeeded by several of his sons and sons-in-law. The Sanhedrin plots to kill Jesus.

“plotted” — Jesus’ statements in Matt. 26:64 condemned Him in their minds of blasphemy, which was punishable by stoning, but they wanted Him to bear the curse of crucifixion (cf. Deut. 21:23). Therefore, they had to come up with a charge that the Romans would act on. This is where the charge that He claimed to be King of the Jews was used as a political threat against Roman rule.

“bound Him” (v.2) — Jesus was bound during these trials possibly because (1) they were afraid that He might miraculously release Himself; (2) it was a way to humiliate Him; or (3) it was the common procedure with criminals.

“Pontius Pilate the governor” — Probably this took place at the Roman Fortress of Antonia which was built next to the Temple, although it could have been at Herod’s palace, which was made available to the Roman officials when they were in Jerusalem. The Romans stationed extra troops from Caesarea by the Sea in Jerusalem during the Jewish feast days in case of riot (cf. Matt. 27:24). Pilate was appointed Governor from A.D. 26-36. History depicts him as a cruel, ruthless man.

It has been surmised that the Jewish leadership brought Jesus to Pilate

  1. to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy about being killed by Gentiles;
  2. to have the Romans crucify Him because in this day the Sanhedrin did not have the authority of capital punishment.

However, Jesus was accused of blasphemy and, therefore, should have been stoned. The Jews did this very thing to Stephen in Acts 7 and did not ask permission from the Romans. I think these Jewish leaders wanted Jesus crucified to have the divine curse of Deut. 21:23 enacted on Him. They wanted this Messianic “pretender” cursed by God! Jesus did bear the “curse” for us! (see Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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