We have truth appear once again in these Scriptures. Pilate asks Jesus what seems like a rhetorical question: “What is truth?” Remember my all time favorite verse, John 8:32: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” So here is Pilate asking Jesus what exactly is truth when previously in his teachings Jesus had said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus states here that the reason he came to the earth was to testify to the truth. How ironic that in an age of relativity, where there is no ultimate truth and where truth is only in the eye of the beholder, I’m sure Jesus would have said No! There is truth, there are truths that are immutable and unchangeable. Those truths are found in Scripture and the Holy Spirit guides us as we pursue the truths that are set before us.
So in these verses I start at the end. The beginning is the well known betrayal in the garden. But look at John’s incredible details that stick out. Did you notice where Jesus is taken first? Look at vs. 13 and apparently they take him first to the Father in law of the high priest. Think about that. Jesus is arrested and instead of taken immediately to the high priest, somehow his father-in-law got dibs and he got to go at Jesus first. I never really caught that. It isn’t until later, in verse 24 where he goes to the high priest.
Peter’s denial is also well known, but there is another element that has been hidden and for some reason jumped out at me today. Did you notice how Peter gets into the house where he is questioned? Look at vs.15 and you will see that there is one of Jesus’ disciples who was on the in with the high priest class. I personally think it is the Gospel writer John. I tend to think that just about everyone who isn’t mentioned by name is John. For example this disciple who lets Peter in and also the disciple whom Jesus loved. They all seemed and sounded like John.
Finally the people do have an opportunity to release Jesus. But they chose Barabbas, where some translations call him a robber. The NRSV describes him as someone who had “taken part in an uprising.” That makes a lot more sense. The Jewish people would have been very much in favor of letting someone go who had led an uprising against an oppressive regime. Now Pilate would have to potentially answer some questions as to why he released a threat to the Roman state as opposed to someone who was only a threat to the Jewish customs and way of life. But he chose to go along with the people on this one. It was quite a bold move, but not nearly as bold as he could have imagined. As a result, he will be a villain remembered in history.