We must now borrow from the observant chronicler, Luke. John hits the high points, but as usual, Luke supplies us with much more by way of background material. Pilate is not the only dignitary that Jesus will stand before. He will also meet up with Herod, a man he once called a fox: But Pilate addressed his question to Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Yes, I am,” he replied. Then Pilate spoke to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find nothing criminal about this man.” But they pressed their charge, saying, “He’s a trouble-maker among the people. He teaches through the whole of Judea, all the way from Galilee to this place.” ~Luke 23:3-5
I think it okay to have some sympathy for Pilate. He was annoyed and anxious. These religious blokes were always worked up about something. Moreover, they were duplicitous in their dealings with the revolving door of governors sent by Rome. Everything was a quid pro quo. Pilate had been sent to make them behave, but with their intricate, well-connected system, they were in fact keeping him in place. The puppet strings were attached from Jerusalem to Rome. This Jesus business was bothersome.
As Pilate gazed into the eyes of Jesus he saw not the evil that he was so adept at searching out. At the very worst this humble lad, who had evidently been beaten to a pulp by these zealots of a tribal religion, was nothing more than a delusional country preacher. He seemed harmless, even winsome. And, if Pilate’s memory served him correctly, he had heard a few flattering things about Jesus. Pilate needed an out and found it on the basis of both geography and expediency. Jesus was really the problem of a fellow ruler, Herod. Furthermore, Herod and he were experiencing, at that moment, a strained relationship. Both the Jewish leaders and Herod, rightly offended, could bring an end to his cozy appointment. Herod could fix all of Pilate’s problems at once: When Pilate heard this, he enquired whether the man were a Galilean, and when he discovered that he came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he passed him on to Herod who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. ~Luke 23:6,7
How incredibly fortunate Pilate felt. The gods were smiling upon him! He had outfoxed the fox. Unfortunately for Pilate, there was no word in the Latin or Greek for boomerang. This whole sad affair would soon land once more on his doorstep.