Perverting the nation - The Greek word διαστρεφοντα, signifies stirring up to disaffection and rebellion. Many MSS. and versions add ἡμων, Our nation. They intimated that he not only preached corrupt doctrine, but that he endeavored to make them disaffected towards the Roman government, for which they now pretended to feel a strong affection!
Several copies of the Itala add, Destroying our law and prophets. Et solventem legem nostram et prophetas.
Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar - These were the falsest slanders that could be invented. The whole of our Lord's conduct disproved them. And his decision in the case of the question about the lawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar, Matthew 22:21, was so fully known that we find Pilate paid not the least attention to such evidently malicious and unfounded accusations. Neither Christ nor any of his followers, from that day until now, ever forbade the paying tribute to Caesar; that is, constitutional taxes to a lawful prince.
This fellow - The word “fellow” is not in the original. It conveys a notion of “contempt,” which no doubt they “felt,” but which is not expressed in the “Greek,” and which it is not proper should be expressed in the translation. It might be translated, “We found this man.”
Perverting the nation - That is, exciting them to sedition and tumults. This was a mere wanton accusation, but it was plausible before a Roman magistrate; for,
1.The Galileans, as Josephus testifies, were prone to seditions and tumults.
2.Jesus drew multitudes after him, and they thought it was easy to show that this was itself promoting tumults and seditions.
Forbidding - About their charges they were very cautious and cunning. They did not say that he “taught” that people should not give tribute - that would have been too gross a charge, and would have been easily refuted; but it was an “inference” which they drew. They said it “followed” from his doctrine. He professed to be a king. They “inferred,” therefore, if “he” was “a king,” that he must hold that it was not right to acknowledge allegiance to any foreign prince; and if they could make “this” out, they supposed that Pilate “must” condemn him of course.
Tribute - Taxes.
Caesar - The Roman emperor, called also Tiberius. The name “Caesar” was common to the Roman emperors, as “Pharaoh” was to the Egyptian kings. “All” the kings of Egypt were called Pharaoh, or “the” Pharaoh; so all the Roman emperors were called “Caesar.”
Persecution cannot do more than cause death, but the life is preserved to eternal life and glory. The persecuting power may take its stand, and command the disciples of Christ to deny the faith, to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, by making void the law of God. But the disciples may ask, “Why should I do this? I love Jesus, and I will never deny His name.” When the power says, “I will call you a disturber of the peace,” they may answer, “Thus they called Jesus, who was truth, and grace and peace.”—Letter 116, 1896. 3SM 421.1Read in context »
In the judgment hall of Pilate, the Roman governor, Christ stands bound as a prisoner. About Him are the guard of soldiers, and the hall is fast filling with spectators. Just outside the entrance are the judges of the Sanhedrin, priests, rulers, elders, and the mob. DA 723.1Read in context »
For a short time vexation and confusion kept the priests silent. They did not wish the people to know that they had hired one of the professed followers of Jesus to betray Him into their hands. Their hunting Jesus like a thief and taking Him secretly, they wished to hide. But the confession of Judas, and his haggard, guilty appearance, exposed the priests before the multitude, showing that it was hatred that had caused them to take Jesus. As Judas loudly declared Jesus to be innocent, the priests replied, “What is that to us? see thou to that.” They had Jesus in their power, and were determined to make sure of Him. Judas, overwhelmed with anguish, threw the money that he now despised at the feet of those who had hired him, and, in anguish and horror, went and hanged himself. EW 172.1
Jesus had many sympathizers in the company about Him, and His answering nothing to the many questions put to Him amazed the throng. Under all the mockery and violence of the mob, not a frown, not a troubled expression, rested upon His features. He was dignified and composed. The spectators looked upon Him with wonder. They compared His perfect form and firm, dignified bearing with the appearance of those who sat in judgment against Him, and said to one another that He appeared more like a king than any of the rulers. He bore no marks of being a criminal. His eye was mild, clear, and undaunted, His forehead broad and high. Every feature was strongly marked with benevolence and noble principle. His patience and forbearance were so unlike man that many trembled. Even Herod and Pilate were greatly troubled at His noble, Godlike bearing. EW 172.2
From the first, Pilate was convicted that Jesus was no common man. He believed Him to be an excellent character, and entirely innocent of the charges brought against Him. The angels who were witnessing the scene marked the convictions of the Roman governor, and to save him from engaging in the awful act of delivering Christ to be crucified, an angel was sent to Pilate's wife, and gave her information through a dream that it was the Son of God in whose trial her husband was engaged, and that He was an innocent sufferer. She immediately sent a message to Pilate, stating that she had suffered many things in a dream on account of Jesus and warning him to have nothing to do with that holy man. The messenger, pressing hastily through the crowd, placed the letter in the hands of Pilate. As he read, he trembled and turned pale, and at once determined to have nothing to do with putting Christ to death. If the Jews would have the blood of Jesus, he would not give his influence to it, but would labor to deliver Him. EW 173.1Read in context »