The glory of the Messiah, 13:1-20:31
2. The trial and passion of Jesus, 18:1-19:42
iii] Jesus before PilateSynopsis
The Jewish authorities, unable to execute Jesus for blasphemy, take him to Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, and seek to have him tried and executed on a trumped up charge.
Jesus is not a king as we know kings, his kingly rule is though a divine word, a word that gathers and shapes his people.
i] Context: See 18:1-11.
ii] Structure: Jesus before Pilate:
Sanhedrin reps. seek an audience with Pilate, v28-32;
"We have no right to execute anyone."
Pilate interrogates Jesus, v33-38a;
"My kingdom is not of this world."
Pilate finds Jesus innocent of any charges, v38b-40;
"I find no basis for a charge against him."
John uses the trial of Jesus before Pilate to reveal the true nature of his kingship. He does so in three scenes: First, at the entrance of the governor's palace (presumably the military headquarters situated in the fortress of Antonia) where Pilate meets a delegation of Jewish officials from the Sanhedrin; Second, inside the palace, where he interrogates Jesus; Third, back at the entrance again with the Jewish officials.
After the Sanhedrin, chaired by Caiaphas the high priest, had passed the death penalty on Jesus, a delegation is sent to ask the Roman authorities to carry out the execution. They remain at the entrance to avoid ritual defilement, forcing Pilate to join them outside his palace. Under Roman law, the Jews can only stone someone to death who has desecrated the temple, but as recorded in the synoptic accounts, this charge failed because the witnesses could not agree on what Jesus had actually said. The Sanhedrin had to progress the charge of blasphemy, namely, Jesus' claim to be the messiah. The problem for the Jewish authorities is that they had no right to execute someone on this charge, thus their representation to the Roman authorities. Pilate quickly picks up on the religious nature of the issue and tells the delegation to deal with the matter themselves, but they press the point that this is an issue requiring the death penalty.
The delegation from the Sanhedrin has obviously couched Jesus' offense in the terms of sedition against the Roman authorities. So, taking Jesus inside the palace, Pilate interrogates him; Does Jesus claim to be a rival of the Emperor? Jesus' replay is somewhat spirited, probably something like "Do you really believe that, or are you just repeating what those fools outside have told you?" Pilate's reply is just as spirited; "I'm not a Jews, you're a Jews, and it's your Jewish leaders who have told me this about you." At this point the exchange becomes theological. Jesus points out that he is the Lord of a kingdom, but a kingdom not of this world. If he were the Lord of a worldly kingdom his followers would take up arms against the Jewish authorities. "So you are a king", says Pilate. Jesus' answer is a yes/no; to some degree the concept of "king" applies, but in other ways it doesn't. Jesus has not come as a political leader, but as the voice of truth from a spiritual domain, a heavenly kingdom. Those who seek truth, seek out Jesus and follow him as their spiritual leader, but not their political leader. This is all too much for Pilate who responds with that famous line "What is truth?" Pilate presents as the weary worn politician who long ago lost the certainty of youth.
Back outside with the Jewish delegation, Pilate announces that he finds no basis for the charge of sedition brought against Jesus. At this point Pilate makes an error of judgment. Maybe the delegation had increased in number and now included everyday citizens of Jerusalem. The city was overflowing with pilgrims for the Passover festival and so maybe some of them were part of the throng. So, whether to bypass the delegation of hard-line officials, or simply as a compromise solution, Pilate offers to apply the custom of the release a prisoner at Passover to Jesus, the so-called "king of the Jews." It is very likely that the reply of those gathered at the entrance was totally unexpected; they wanted Barabbas, a common criminal, a bandit. Pilate will go on to try and undo his error of judgment, but to no avail.
Johannine Irony: Stibbe makes a point of identifying the many examples of this literary device used in the passage before us. See Irony in the Fourth Gospel, Paul Duke, 1985:
The Jews refuse to enter Pilate's palace for fear of ceremonial uncleanness having just sentenced Jesus to death at a sham trial.
The use of the verb parodidomi, "to hand over = betray" in the statement "if this man were not a criminal we would not have handed him over to you."
The irony in the statement "we have no right to execute anyone."
The action of the authorities to have Jesus die on a Roman cross serves to fulfill scripture.
Pilate calls Jesus "King of the Jews", which indeed he is.
Pilate asks "What is truth?" before the one who is truth incorporated.
The Jews choose to free a bandit rather than their king.
Roman apologetic: Although it is possible to read John's account of Pilate's dealings with Jesus as weak and vacillating, it can also be read in a positive light, of the secular authorities seeking to administer justice against a group of narcissistic malicious religious leaders. As Harris notes, Pilate goes out of his way to avoid sentencing Jesus to death. He finds Jesus innocent; tries to leave the matter with the Jewish authorities and their limited authority to punish anyone; offers to release Jesus in line with the custom at Passover; has Jesus flogged to gain sympathy; sends Jesus to Antipas to deal with the matter. John's account lays the blame for Jesus' death squarely on his own people, and not on the secular authorities.
John again runs his own race, but a quick comparison with Mark indicates a number of common elements: Pilate resists condemning Jesus; the passover custom of releasing a prisoner; the name of the released prisoner, Barabbas; the ill-treatment of Jesus; Pilate succumbs to mob pressure.
v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 18:28
The trial of Jesus before Pilate the Roman governor, v28-40: i] Representatives of the Sanhedrin seek an audience with Pilate, v28-32. After being interrogated by Annas, Jesus is sent back to Caiaphas and then on to the palace of the Roman governor, From outside of palace proper the Jewish authorities demand Jesus' death due to his criminal activities, v28-32.
oun "then" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "consequently, then, accordingly", as NIV.
agousin (agw) pes. "led" - they led [jesus]. "Early in the morning Jesus was taken from Caiaphas", TEV.
apo + gen. "from" - from [caiaphas into the praetorium = palace, military headquarters]. Expressing separation; "away from." From the high priest's palace, the place where the Sanhedrin had met to try Jesus. "Jesus was taken from the high priest's palace."
prwi adv. "early morning" - [it was] an early hour. Temporal adverb serving as a predicate adjective. Technically, the word refers to the last division of the night, 3-6am. Roman administrators would often begin their office work at dawn. Yet, it is unlikely that the Sanhedrin would meet and pass judgment at night (in fact, it was unlawful) so it is likely that the Sanhedrin met at dawn and Jesus was then sent to Pilate early in the morning; not "daybreak", NAB, but "morning", JB.
autoi pl. "the Jews" - [and] they [did not enter into]. Emphatic use of the pronoun. Who are the "they"? Jews covers most possibilities, but they probably amounted to a delegation from the Sanhedrin including some temple police, cf. 19:6.
to praitwrion "the palace" - praetorium. Transliteration of the Latin. The official Jerusalem residence of the Roman governor, his permanent residence being at Caesarea.
iJna mh + subj. "to avoid [ceremonial uncleanness]" - that not = lest [they be defiled]. Introducing a negated purpose clause; "lest they be / so that would not be ..." It is unclear what defilement they were attempting to avoid. In later years, any contact with a Gentile caused defilement, but at this stage a Gentile was not automatically a source of defilement. John certainly doesn't hide their hypocrisy, given that they have just skirted the law to condemn to death an innocent man. "They did not want to risk being ceremonially defiled", Barclay.
alla "because they wanted [to be able to eat]" - but [that they might eat the passover]. Adversative / contrastive. The subjunctive verb fagwsin, "they might eat", assumes iJna, so introducing a second purpose clause; "they did not enter the governor's headquarters ........ in order that they might eat the Passover." The conflict with the synoptic gospels over the timing of the passover meal is problematic, but it is possible that the ongoing feast of unleavened bread is intended here rather than specifically the passover meal.
Pilate seems set to bring Jesus to a new trial, rather than rubber stamp a judgment of the Jewish authorities.
exhlqen (ercomai) .... exw "came out" - [therefore = so pilate] went out outside. Only John has a too and fro dealing with the Jews outside and Jesus inside. The synoptics imply that Jesus is tried outside, before the crowd.
tina pro. "what [charges are you bringing]?" - [toward them and says = demanded] what [charges do you bring]? Here the interrogative pronoun is also used as a modifier, giving the sense, "what sort of accusation do you bring?"
kata "against" - against [this man]. Expressing opposition; "against".
The response of the Jews is somewhat defensive indicating that Pilate's demand for a formal inditement has thrown them off guard.
autw/ dat. pro. "-" - [they answered and said] to him. Dative of indirect object.
ei mh ..... ouk a[n "if ....." - if, as is not the case, [this man was] not [doing evil], then [we would] not [have delivered him to you]. Introducing a conditional clause, 2nd class / contrary to fact, where the proposed conditions is assumed to be not true.
hn ... poiwn (poiew) pres. part. "he were [not] a criminal" - his man was [not] one doing evil. Periphrastic imperfect construction formed by the imperfect of the verb "to be" with a present participle, modified by the adjective "evil", and governing the noun "this man." The Jewish authorities are not impressed that Pilate is ignoring their condemnation of Jesus. "'He's a criminal! That's why we brought him to you", CEV.
paredwkamen (paradidwmi) aor. "have handed him over" - have delivered over. John used this word for Judas, and now for the Jews, a word which can mean "to betray."
soi dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.
The Jewish authorities did have the right to execute someone who defiled the temple (eg. Stephen), and this is most likely why they tried to pin Jesus down on his prophecies concerning temple, but couldn't find the required agreement between the witnesses as to what Jesus had actually said. So, they were left with the charge of blasphemy for which they needed Roman authorization to carry out an execution.
krinate (krinw) aor. imp. "judge" - [therefore = so pilate said to them, you take him and] judge [him]. It is likely Pilate is being sarcastic here, in response to the Jew's affront in v30. Pilate knows the Jews have already found Jesus guilty, and that they don't have the authority to put him to death. "Try him by your own law", Barclay.
kata + acc. "by [your own law]" - according to [the law of you]. Expressing a standard; "in accordance with."
apokteinai (apokteinw) aor. inf. "to execute" - [the jews said to him, to = for us] to kill [anyone is not lawful]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb exestin, "it is not lawful. The dative pronoun hJmin, "to us", serves as a dative of interest, "for us."
John identifies the divine hand behind the inability of the Jews to execute Jesus. At the hand of the Jews, Jesus would be stoned to death, but with the Romans he will be "lifted up", crucified. Beasley-Murray suggests that the Jews wanted Jesus crucified rather than stoned, so as to underline the truth that "anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse", but the text does not give this latitude. Many translations take v32 as a single sentence. Moffatt brackets the verse, making it a parenthesis; "we have no right to put anyone to death (that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled ......)."
iJna + subj. "this took place to [fulfill]" - that [the words of jesus might be fulfilled]. Better taken as a consecutive clause expressing result, "so the word of Jesus came true", Berkeley, but possibly final expressing purpose, "in order that." "By saying this they made it certain that Jesus' statement foretelling how he would die would come true", Barclay.
o}n rel. pro. "what [Jesus had said]" - which [he said]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to say." "Which he had spoken."
shmainwn (shmainw) pres. part. "indicating" - signifying. The participle is adverbial, modifying the verb "to say", probably final, expressing purpose, "in order to"; "to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death ....", ESV. "
poiw/ dat. pro "the kind of [death]" - by what kind of [death]. The dative is adverbial, expressing manner; "by what kind of death he was to die", Cassirer.
apoqnhskein (apoqnhskw) pres. inf. "[he was going] to die" - [he was about] to die. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb hmellen, "he was about."
ii] Jesus is taken into the palace and questioned by Pilate with regard his claim to kingship, v33-38a. Critical scholars have argued that it would be impossible for John to know what happened in the privacy of Pilate's palace. Of course, the Romans were very adapt at recording criminal proceedings, this along with the witnesses present, could detail what happened. Above all, Jesus himself was free to tell the disciples what happened after the day of his resurrection - information personally known to the apostle John.
oun "[Pilate] then [entered]" - therefore [pilate entered]. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "so, consequently, then."
palin adv. "again" - again [into the praetorium]. Sequential adverb, expressing repeated action. There are a number of textual variants here indicating that there is confusion as to where Jesus is and what Pilate's movements are.
efwnhsen (fwnew) aor. "summoned" - [and] called [jesus]. "Called" in the sense of "summoned".
autw/ dat. pro. "[asked] him" - [and said] to him. Dative of indirect object.
twn Ioudaiwn gen. adj. "[are you the king] of the Jews?" - The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "king over the Jews." It seems unlikely that the term "king of the Jews" would refer to the existing royal rule in Israel. It is possible that the pronoun su, "you", is emphatic and Pilate is employing sarcasm, so Brown. It is likely that the term was used of the long-awaited deliverer of Israel, a national Jewish aspiration that the Roman authorities would be well aware of.
If Pilate genuinely wants to know the truth about Jesus, then Jesus is willing to tell him, but if it's just a matter of legal games, then Jesus is really not interested in getting into it. So, the response is probably sarcastic; "So did you work this out for yourself, or are you just mouthing what the Jewish authorities have told you?"
apo + gen. "[is that your own idea]" - [jesus answered] from [yourself you say this]. Here a rare use of the preposition to express agency; used instead of uJpo. This answer to Pilate's question is the limit of Jesus' response in the synoptics, and interestingly, the NIV makes the answer direct, although it is certainly not direct. A "whatever you think" is probably a better way to capture the sense. "Are you saying this on your own ....", NAB.
peri + gen. "about [me]" - [or others told you] about [me]? Reference / respect; "about, concerning."
Pilate's response is probably indigent, even contemptuous, indicating that he has no interest in such an absurd claim. Haenchen argues that Pilate's response is factual. Since he is not a religious Jew, he has no knowledge of Jesus' identification with a deliverer-king, other than what the Jewish authorities have told him. If this is the case, Pilate is genuinely asking Jesus to defend himself, but is this likely? "Are you my king?" Carson.
mhti "-" - [pilate answered] not [i am a jew]? This negation used in a question expects a negative answer.
egw "[Am] I [a Jew]?" - Possibly emphatic.
emoi dat. pro. "[handed you over] to me" - [the people of you and the high priest delivered you] to me [what did you do]? Dative of indirect object.
Jesus does not defend himself by answering the question "what have you done?", rather he answers the question asked in v33. The fact that Jesus now answers the question may indicate that he considers Pilate's enquiry genuine. Jesus seeks to establish that his role, as deliverer-king, is spiritual and not political and is therefore, not a threat to Roman rule. Jesus supports this claim with evidence. If he was a political leader, his followers would have violently resisted his arrest; they did not do so. Given the context of the statement, it is dangerous to develop a complex theology on the extent of God's reign on earth. God's reign, his kingship, is spiritual, but that doesn't make it is any less real, nor does it imply it is not here and now and greatly affecting the world through the changed lives of those who recognize Christ's kingly rule. Beasley-Murray makes the point "that Jesus' statement should not be misconstrued as meaning that his kingdom is not active in this world, or has nothing to do with this world." Augustine argued that "his kingdom is here till the end of time .... but does not belong here because it is in the world as a pilgrim." Christ's reign in our hearts and lives, is in the world, but not of the world. "Mine is not a kingdom of this world", JB.
ek + gen. "[my kingdom is not] of [this world]" - [the kingdom of me is not] out of, from [this world]. Possibly serving instead of partitive genitive, "part of this world", or expressing source / origin, "out of, from this world. Jesus' answer is for Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine.
ei + imperf. an + imperf. "if" - if, as is not the case, [the kingdom of me was of this world, then the servants of me would have fought]. Introducing a 2nd. class conditional clause, contrary to fact, where the proposed condition in the protasis is assumed to be untrue. Both verbs in the protasis and apodosis are imperfect, although the position of an in the text is somewhat unusual. Some copyists move it to between oJ uJphretai and oiJ emoi. "If my kingdom were of this world, my attendants would have struggled to prevent my being delivered to the Jews", Berkeley.
oiJ uJphretai oiJ emoi "my servants" - the assistants of mine. Nominative subject of the verb "to fight." John has already used the noun "servant" for the temple guards, indicating again that Jesus' words are particularly selected for Pilate's ears. Jesus' "guards" didn't take up arms to resist his arrest, and the one who did was told to sheathe his weapon. "Followers", CEV; "supporters", Barclay.
hgwnizonto (agwnizomai) imperf. "would fight" - would have fought, strived. The imperfect carries the sense "continue to fight". The disciples did initially fight, well! one or two of them, but didn't continue to fight.
iJna + subj. "to [prevent my arrest]" - in order [not to be handed over]. Expressing purpose, in the sense of "in order not to be handed over to the Jews." The Jews are the enemy, not the Romans. "To prevent my being handed over to the Jews", Phillips.
toiV IoudaioiV dat. adj. "by the Jewish leaders" - to the jews. Dative of indirect object, the articular adjective serving as a noun. The Jewish authorities are intended, rather than the Jewish population.
nun de "but now" - yet now. Transitional. Here the "now" is not temporal, but rather serves to reinforce the contrast of Christ's kingship, as it exists in reality ("now"), with that implied in Pilate's question in v33. The adversative sense needs to be emphasized, "but as it now stands." The NIV's use of "now" is confusing in that it carries a temporal sense. Christ's reign does interact with this age, became incarnate in this age, although in the final analysis, the "kingdom does not belong here" (far better than the NIV "is from another place"). "The plain fact is that my kingdom does not belong to this realm of things", Barclay.
enteuqen adv. "from another place" - [the kingdom of me not] from here, another side. Adverb of place. "Does not belong here."
Dodd slams the suggestion that Jesus answers Pilate in the affirmative. The phrase is far more likely an adversative "you say that I am a king", or a qualification, "it is you who say it, not I." The title "king" is not one Jesus would choose himself. He is the deliverer-king, but happily avoids the title because it is bound to confuse. Jesus came into the world to "testify to the truth", to reveal the living God in his person and by this means save a people to himself. In this sense he is the deliverer-king, a sense which makes his kingdom not of this world. Still, Jesus is speaking with a pagan Roman, not a Jew. Lagrange makes the point "to reveal the truth was [God's] way of making subjects and of creating a kingdom", Lagrange.
oukoun (oun) adv. "[you are a king], then!" - [therefore pilate said to him] so then [you are a king]? This particular form of the conjunction oun occurs only here in the New Testament. It is predominately inferential, but does sometimes carry a consecutive, emphatic or adversative sense. Moule, in his Idiom Book, looks in detail at this verse. He suggests a number of possibilities: resumptive, "well then, you are a king"; negative, "are you not a king, then?"; but probably best taken here to introduce an inferential question, "so then, after all, you are a king?" Westcott agrees.
oJti "[you are right in saying I am a king] / [you say] that [I am a king]" - [jesus answered, you say, not I,] that [i am a king]. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Pilate is saying, namely, that Jesus is a king. It is likely that this is John's parallel with the synoptic "you say so." "It is you who are calling me a king", Barclay.
egw pro. "in fact" - i. Emphatic by position and use.
eiV + acc. "the reason" - into = for [this]. Here expressing purpose / aim; "the reason why I was born", Barclay.
gegennhmai (gennaw) .... elhluqa (ercomai) perf. "I was born ..... came" - i have been born, [and into = for this] i have come [into the world]. John employs parallelism in establishing that the purpose of Jesus' birth / coming is not for kingship (certainly in earthly terms), but for proclamation. "The reason why I was born, and the reason why I came into the world, is to declare the truth", Barclay.
iJna + subj. "[is] to [testify]" - that [i might testify]. Here forming a purpose clause; "in order that I might testify."
th/ alhqeia/ (a) dat. "to the truth" - The dative is adverbial, reference / respect, "with respect to the truth", possibly even representation, "that I should beare witness on behalf of the truth", Cassirer, but the verb marturew, "to bear witness to" often takes a dative of direct object as a matter of course. The dative could even be classified as a dative of interest, advantage, "for the truth."
oJ w]n pres. part. "everyone" - [all] the one's being. The participle serves as a substantive.
ek + gen. "on the side of [truth]" - of [the truth]. Here the sense of source / origin shifts toward denoting association with something; "belonging to the truth." "The witness of Jesus to the truth can only be grasped by those who are themselves related to the truth", Barrett. Brown takes the line that "those who belong to the truth are the sheep given to Jesus by the Father", but the verse doesn't really warrant such a doctrinaire interpretation. It is quite reasonable to argue that those who seek find; those who seek the truth find the truth, they find the truth in Christ. The parables are a mystery to the crowds, but to those who seek Jesus out, the mystery is revealed. "Everyone who loves truth recognizes my voice", Phillips.
akouei (akouw) pres. + gen. "listens" - hears [of the voice of me]. It has been argued that when akouw takes a genitive of direct object, as here, it means listening with understanding and acceptance. "Knows my voice", CEV.
autw/ dat/ pro. "-" - [pilate says] to him. Dative of indirect object.
ti pro. "what [is truth]?" - what [is truth]? Predicate nominative interrogative pronoun. Is this a genuine question? Pilate doesn't wait around for the answer, but nothing can be implied by his exit. It is usually argued that his statement is a throw away line designed to end a conversation that is taking him into the uncharted waters of spiritual confrontation. Pilate is not interested in eternal verities, so the discussion ends with a throwaway line; "truth, what is that?" Still, Pilate seems convinced of Jesus' innocence, viewing the dispute as theological. Maybe we have genuine musing here on the part of Pilate.
iii] Pilate meets again with the Jewish authorities and tells them that he finds Jesus innocent of any charges, v38b-40. In a political move that backfires, Pilate seeks to release Jesus by playing him off with Barabbas, "a bandit", but Israel's religious leaders choose Barabbas over Jesus. Pilate has failed to realize how vindictive this group of religious conservative is.
kai "-" - and. Connective - untranslated.
eipwn (legw) aor. part. "[with this]" - having said [this he went out again toward the jews and says to them]. "This" = these words. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal; "after he had said this", ESV.
oudemian "[I find] no [basis for a charge]" - [i find] no, not any, nothing [ground for complaint / crime / fault / ground for accusation]. Strong negation, accusative direct object of the verb "to find"; in simple terms, Pilate has investigated the charge against Jesus and so declares, "I find him not guilty." "There is nothing of which I can find this man guilty", Barclay.
en + dat. "against [him]" - in [him]. Possibly space, "nothing in him / in his life of which he is guilty", or adverbial, expressing reference / respect, concerning, "I cannot find anything wrong about him", Moffatt.
We can only surmise why Pilate persists with the title "king". Pilate has obviously determined that Jesus is innocent of any crime against the state, in that his role as deliverer-king is spiritual and not political, but even so, why is he determined to use a title that is so readily understood in political terms? Given that Pilate initially asks Jesus "are you the king of the Jews", we can surmise that this is the charge brought against Jesus by the Jewish authorities, namely that Jesus is a deliverer-king who seeks to overthrow the Roman government. Pilate probably continues to address Jesus in the terms of the charge. Whatever Pilate's motives, John happily underlines the phrase and so heightens the crime of Jesus' own people.
de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue..
uJmin dat. pro. "your" - [there is a custom] to = for you. Dative of interest, advantage; "for you", or possession; "you have a custom", ESV.
sunhqeia (a) "custom" - Nominative subject of the verb to-be. Possibly an annual amnesty used by the Roman governors to gain favor from the general populous. "Since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover", CEV.
iJna + subj. "for [me to release to you one prisoner]" - that [i should release one to you]. Here introducing an epexegetic clause specifing the content of the custom.
en + dat. "at the time of [the Passover]" - in [the passover]. Here adverbial use of the preposition, temporal, as NIV; "at Passover time."
apolusw (apoluw) subj. "do you want me to release" - [do you will that] i release [to you therefore]. Deliberative subjunctive seeking a real answer.
twn Ioudaiwn gen. adj. "[the king] of the Jews" - The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, idiomatic, of subordination; "king over the Jews."
In the synoptics the crowd does the shouting, but in John the context implies that it is the Jewish authorities and temple guards who do the shouting. None-the-less, the word ekrougasan, "called out", is a strong one and would rightly apply to a mob.
palin "-" - [therefore they called out] again. Sequential adverb, indicating repeated action. John has not recorded an earlier shouting match.
legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant.
alla "[no, not him]" - [not this one] but. Strong adversative in a counter point construction; "not ...., but ....."
BarabbaV "Barabbas" - bar-abba = son of the father. In the synoptics, Pilate suggests the release of Barabbas, but in John, the high priestly deputation makes the suggestion. Given the summarized nature of the accounts, it is unwise to make much of such conflicts.
de "now" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative to an editorial note / parenthesis.
lh/sthV (hV ou) "[Barabbas had] taken part in a rebellion" - [barabbas was] a thief, revolutionary, bandit. Predicate nominative. The word most likely identifies Barabbas as a revolutionary bandit rather than just a thief. "Now Barabbas was a terrorist", CEV.