Jesus before Pilate and Herod

During the last few days of Jesus’ earthly life He stood trial six times…three before religious officials and three before civil officials.  Each trial violated religious and/or civil law.  Imagine….the Son of God on trial before mortal humans!  Yet, from the foundations of the world, our sovereign God chose to sacrifice His Son in order that you and I might live eternally with Him!  Amazing grace!

Yesterday we walked through the places associated with Jesus’ first three trials before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.  In the presence of chief priests, elders and scribes (Mark 14:53), Annas seemed to question Jesus’ intentions, Caiaphas seemed to question His disciples and His teaching (John 18:19-22), and the Sanhedrin seemed to seek out something in which to accuse Him (Luke 22:66-71).  The religious leaders seemed threatened by Jesus’ existence.  However, the evidence was obviously weak, and the Jewish leaders claimed they were concerned about violations of civil law.  Therefore, Jesus was handed over to Roman officials.  Pilate was the Roman governor and Jesus stood trial before him in the Praetorium (Antonia Fortress).  Seen in the picture below, Antonia Fortress is adjacent to the upper right corner of Temple Mount…the building with large watchtowers at the four corners.



Jesus was asked by Pilate, “Are you King of the Jews?” to which Jesus replied, “It is as you say.”  Pilate found no guilt in Him (Luke 23:1-6), thus he handed Him over to Herod (who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time).  Herod questioned Him at length, while the chief priests and scribes stood accusing Him.

From the model city at the Israel Museum, here is a depiction of Herod’s palace, where Jesus likely stood before Herod.


After treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, Herod dressed Jesus in a royal robe and sent Him back to Pilate.  (Luke 23:8-12)

Upon arrival back at the Praetorium, Jesus was beaten and mocked.  The first picture below depicts a torture device.  That large stone would be turned horizontally so that a prisoner’s hands and arms could be pulled through in order to restrain the prisoner while using a whip on his back.  We know that Jesus endured such lashings.  The second photo shows evidence found in Antonia Fortress (Praetorium) of a game called “The King’s Game.”  It was an ancient gambling game played by Roman soldiers who would gamble for robes, crowns, etc, culminating in gambling for who got to “kill” the king.  It is believed that Roman soldiers may have played this game with Jesus as they mocked Him by dressing Him in the king’s clothes (purple robe, crown of thorns, etc) before gambling for who would actually kill Him.  (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20)

ImageThe Game of the King playing board.

However, finding no wrong in Him, Pilate tried to gain Jesus’ release by offering up Barabbas, but the chief priests and rulers would have none of it.  Thus, having endured what would have killed most common men, Jesus was handed over for crucifixion.

We’ll walk with Jesus to the cross in the next few days.  Meanwhile, it is my prayer that the focus be on Scripture as I share these thoughts and photos, as Scripture is where the “life” is.  It is my hope that what I share here makes God’s Word come alive.


3 thoughts on “Jesus before Pilate and Herod

  1. David Hamilton Smith

    I had a filling of spirit just as I turned into ‘the Nuns ascent’. The best of this was that at the time, I didn’t even know I was standing above the lithostrotos. It was so powerful that it made me enter the door that led into the Convent of the ‘Sisters of Zion’ that I subsequently found was constructed above it. Draw your own conclusions, but the experience and two similar will stay with me for the rest of my life.

  2. Niney

    I went to Israel for 13 days it was amazing. I walked were Jesus walked and i cried. The game was awful but if Jesus wasn’t crucified I would hate to think of what would happen I love God I love Jesus Christ I love my life. Amen.

    1. Blessing to you, Niney! So glad you were able to visit Israel and walk where Jesus walked! Yes, the mercy and grace poured out through His crucifixion and resurrection are unfathomable! Bless you…and thanks for following!

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