33.Then Pilate went again into the hall. It is probable that many things were said on both sides, which the Evangelist passes over; and this conclusion might be readily drawn from the other Evangelists. But John dwells chiefly on a single point, that Pilate made a laborious inquiry whether Christ was justly or unjustly accused. In the presence of the people, who were inflamed with sedition, nothing could be done but in a riotous manner. He therefore goes again into the hall; and, indeed, his intention is to acquit Christ, but Christ himself, in order that he may obey his Father, presents himself to be condemned; and this is the reason why he is so sparing in his replies. Having a judge who was favorable, and who would willingly have lent an ear to him, it was not difficult for him to plead his cause; but he considers for what purpose he came down into the world, and to what he is now called by the Father. Of his own accord, therefore, he refrains from speaking, that he may not escape from death.
Art thou the King of the Jews? It would never have struck Pilate’ mind to put this question about the kingdom, if this charge had not been brought against Christ by the Jews. Now, Pilate takes up what was more offensive than all the rest, that, having disposed of it, he may acquit the prisoner. The tendency of Christ’ answer is to show that there is no ground for that accusation; and thus it contains an indirect refutation; as if he had said, “ is absurd to bring that charge against me, fbr not even the slightest suspicion of it can fall upon me.”
Pilate appears to have taken amiss that Christ asked him why he suspected him of such a crime; (153) and, therefore, he angrily reproaches him, that all the evil comes from his own nation. “ sit here as a judge,” says he; “ is not foreigners, but your own countrymen, who accuse you. There is no reason, therefore, why you should involve me in your quarrels. You would be allowed by me and by the Romans to live at peace; but you raise disturbances among yourselves, and I am reluctantly compelled to bear a part in them.”