Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:1-11
Where are you from, such a strange question for a governor of a region to ask someone such as Jesus? Surely Pilate knew that Jesus was from Palestine. But I think there is much more than geography in Pilate’s question. Jesus has told Pilate that His kingdom is not of this earth and His authority is not from an earthly power. John has already told us that Jesus spoke as one with authority so it is not a stretch to think that hearing Jesus has Pilate worried. Especially when the Jewish authorities assert that Jesus has made Himself the Son of God. I imagine Pilate thinking what if that is correct?
Here is a man you have questions and you can find no crime in fact no guilt at all. You want to set Jesus free but there is the crowd shouting for you to execute Jesus. It wasn’t that Pilate was uncomfortable about executing people. Roman justice was swift and harsh. After the Third Servile War, the one where the slaves were lead by Spartacus, the Romans crucified over six thousand survivors of the revolt that were captured by the legions of Crassus and lined the Appian Way from Rome to Capua with the condemned. There was something else about Jesus that caused Pilate to want to free Him.
Pilate wanted Jesus to tell him that Jesus was from God or maybe that Jesus was the Son of God. But Jesus stood silent before Pilate knowing that Pilate already had all the information he needed to know who Jesus was and where Jesus came from. Things have not changed much in the almost two thousand years since.
People still debate who Jesus was and is and where He came from. Even with all the information available to them. We have eyewitness accounts from people who lived and followed Jesus. We have accounts from non Jewish historians of the period about Jesus. Archeology supports the details in these eyewitness accounts. And each of us has a yearning for the transcendent. Yet they refuse to believe and continue to ask where Jesus came from.
Have a blessed day,