One of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way you answer the high priest?!”
Jesus answered him, “If I’ve spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike me?” So, Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest.
John 18:28 mentions that Jesus was led into Pilate’s official residence early in the day, but those who led him who were of the Jews didn’t enter because they wanted to be clean, undefiled, and be able to eat the Passover with their fellow patriots.
Pilate went out to the Jews to ask the reason for which they’d brought Jesus. They told Pilate that Jesus was an evil man. They treated Jesus as if they’d finally caught a wild beast. Pilate rejected the idea of taking their case because Jesus was a Jew and he could be tried by his own people. But Jesus’ captors responded with galvanized intent. “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”
Pilate returned and summoned Jesus. “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Soon, Jesus, bound, would be skewered to the most effective execution tool the Romans employed. Having already been blindfolded, mocked and beaten by the men who were holding Jesus in custody, Jesus wasn’t standing in front of Pilate, glaring at him with condescension.
“Prophesy! Who is it that hit you?!” The men continued to entertain themselves at Jesus’ expense. What incredible strength they must have felt, welling up within them. Finally, they’d arrested the one that stirred up the people of Judea with his teaching. Pilate asked whether or not Jesus was Galilean. Jesus was Galilean and belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction. So, Pilate sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem.
“So this is the man?” Herod might have whispered to himself. Herod had heard much about Jesus and wanted to meet him face to face. It didn’t bother Herod that Pilate, his enemy, had sent Jesus to him. Regardless, Herod, comforted by his surroundings, had a lot of unanswered questions for the Galilean rebel. The chief priests and scribes slithered close by and couldn’t resist hissing at Jesus, eager to devour him. They were unfortunate. Passover prevented them from “constricting” Jesus to death. Nonetheless, they spewed their venom in the form of vitriolic accusations. Jesus did not respond.
What their eyes saw was a terrifying beast, one that menaced them for nearly three years. An activist, like many before, ignorant and with a loud mouth, compelling the naive to believe God’s kingdom was actually being established, now stood in their midst, chained. How threatening that scene must have been, to behold what they imagined as a roaring lion which was now bound tightly with nowhere to go. This was their opportunity. This time, there is no escape. Bare knuckles smattered sputum and blood as they were launched into the beast’s mouth, cheeks, forehead, and eyes. There was only groaning and agony, yet Jesus remained still as Herod and his soldiers dressed him with a royal robe before sending him back to Pilate.
All love loss disappeared between Herod and Pilate at that moment. They became friends that very day.
Pilate’s wife, however, was in fear that day. The beast which the best of the land had captured and tortured had also, somehow, appeared to her in a dream as someone unassuming, in fact, someone innocent. Another dimension had revealed quite the opposite of what the whole of Judea was seeing. This beast was not a predator! Yet, the trap had sprung. There was no way to release this one. Surely, Pilate’s wife was delirious, right? Those protecting the world were those with real power, right? Peace in the land is what they truly wanted, right? Soon, this pressure from the Jews would be released into thin air and rioting would cease. The beast would be executed. Surely, everyone thought this was best for the nation, right?