PILATE PRONOUNCES JESUS INCULPABLE
(see also Matthew 27:15-19;
Mark 15:6-10, John 18:38-39)
Luke 23:13-14 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
Susie: After Herod Antipas sent Jesus back to Pilate, placing the problem of judgment into his hands once more, Pilate decided to make his decision as public as possible. He gathered together not only Jesus’s accusers (the chief priests and scribes) but also a crowd of people.
Susan: Pilate stated the charge they had brought against Jesus that He was leading the people in a riotous rebellion against the Roman rule. He told this crowd of people that he had examined and interrogated Jesus thoroughly. Then proclaimed Him innocent of the charges. More than that, he declared he found “no fault” in Jesus. He further stated he found no reason for Jesus to be accused. He found Jesus inculpable!
The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.
INCULP'ABLE, adjective [Latin in and culpabilis, from culpa, a fault.]
Without fault; unblamable; that cannot be accused.
Luke 23:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
Susie: Pilate further stated that when he passed the problem of judging Jesus to King Herod who ruled the region Jesus was from (Galilee), King Herod did not find Him guilty of any crime either.
Susan: Pilate and Herod (long-time enemies) had agreed together that Jesus had done nothing warranting the death penalty! They both had to admit that He was guiltless.
Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
Susie: Pilate declared Jesus innocent but still proposed that He be flogged as fitting a lesser offence. He so feared the crowd and especially the influential religious leaders that He sought to appease them by punishing Jesus even though he had concluded that He should not have even been accused.
Susan: Pilate was the puppet of whomever he felt was the greatest threat to his position and well-being. The Jewish religious establishment was pulling his strings because he feared they would report to Caesar that he failed to squelch an uprising led by Jesus.
Luke 23:17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
Susie: There was a tradition that the Roman governor would release one criminal from prison at the Feast of Passover. Therefore, Pilate hoped he could get by with having Jesus flogged and then release him as was the custom. However, as we will see in the next lesson, the priests and scribes would not accept that proposal.
Ponder this and Apply it: Pilate vacillated because he was torn by his conscience (and as we see in Matthew 27:19, his wife’s dream) knowing that Jesus was innocent and his fear of the Jewish leaders and crowd. Even this Roman governor could see that Jesus was not a criminal while His own people sought to have Him executed. We are hard on Pilate, but I wonder honestly what might we have done in his sandals? We are looking back from this side of the cross and resurrection. The important thing to take away from this is that Jesus was truly inculpable, an innocent man dying in our place to pay the penalty we deserved. Take a moment to praise Him and thank Him for suffering your shame and pain in order to redeem you to be an adopted child in the Kingdom of God.