Ver. 1,2. Mark saith, Mar_15:1, And straightway in themorning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders andscribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried himaway, and delivered him to Pilate. Luke saith, Luk_23:1, Andthe whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate. John saith, Joh_18:28, Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto thehall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went notinto the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that theymight eat the passover. If any ask why having condemned Christ, they did not put him to death. John tells us, Joh_18:31, it was not lawful for them to put any one to death. They had already out of their malice to Christ broken several of their own canons, or rules observed in ordinary capital causes, sitting in the night time, and upon a festival day. They must have notoriously broken another, if they had themselves on that day put him to death. It should seem by their stoning Stephen, Act_7:59, they had a power in some cases to put persons to death; but Christ was to be crucified, and as to that kind of death they had no power:
See Poole on "Joh_18:31". Besides that, we must consider it was the passover day, and stoning any man to death required a concourse of people to throw stones, and they were afraid of tumults. The Roman governor had the militia in his power, and could better prevent and suppress tumults than they could do. Finally, Christ was by his death to give testimony to his kingly office; and the Jews, as we shall hear, had this to charge him with, That he made himself a King: this was a civil cause, and to be condemned by Pilate the Roman governor amongst them. In the morning, therefore, consulting how to put Christ to death, they delivered him to Pontius Pilate, having first bound him; for though he was bound upon his first apprehension, yet it is probable that they had loosed him when he came into the hall of the high priest, and now bind him a second time, when they carried him before Pilate. John tells us, that they would not themselves go into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that theymight eat the passover; which words have in them a difficulty, and also give us an account of a most unaccountable superstition. For the passover, they had eaten it the night before. But we must know, that not the paschal lamb only, but all the sacrifices offered any of the seven days, were also called the passover, Deu_16:1,2, &c. It was now the first day of unleavened bread, but there were to be offerings this day of which they were to eat, which in a large sense are called the passover. But how unaccountable was the superstition of these hypocrites! They made no conscience, when they had eaten the paschal lamb in the evening, to spend the whole night in consulting how to shed innocent blood, and condemning of Christ; but they pretend now conscience, that they will not go into a pagan’s house in the morning, for that was the defilement they feared, having nothing to do to sit in judgment with him.