Luke 23:2 NIV

And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

But Christ had encouraged the people to pay taxes to Caesar

Matthew 22:20-21 NIV

and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Why did the leaders lie to Pilate?

  • Hi Collen, I've edited this Q because the phrase "the Jews" is very sensitive in Western cultures. Through history many people have accused 'Jews' of many evils and created false and racist characterisations of the people. So it's a term that's worth taking care with in future. Thanks!
    – Steve can help
    Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 1:32
  • @Steve Taylor,Thank you Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


Why did the leaders lie to Pilate in Luke 23:2?

The article "The Most Infamous Trial Ever Held" in the Watchtower April 1, 2011 issue gives a complete explanation about the treachery of the religious leaders:

Because the [religious leaders] apparently lacked the authority to execute Jesus, they took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate’s first question was: “What accusation do you bring against this man?” Knowing that their trumped-up charge of blasphemy meant nothing to Pilate, the [religious leaders] tried to get him to condemn Jesus without investigation. “If this man were not a wrongdoer, we would not have delivered him up to you,” they said. (John 18:29, 30) Pilate rejected this argument, forcing the [religious leaders] to make a new accusation: “This man we found subverting our nation and forbidding the paying of taxes to Caesar and saying he himself is Christ a king.” (Luke 23:2) So the charge of blasphemy was now slyly switched to that of treason.

The accusation of “forbidding the paying of taxes” was false, and the accusers knew it. Jesus taught just the opposite. (Matthew 22:15-22) As for the charge that Jesus made himself a king, Pilate quickly saw that the man before him presented no threat to Rome. “I find no fault in him,” he declared. (John 18:38) Pilate retained that conviction throughout the trial.

The religious leaders knew that Jesus was a threat to how they were running the nation. (John 11:48) So they wanted a way to get rid of Jesus permanently. (Luke 19:47) They claimed that Jesus was a blasphemer but that charge would not hold up with the Roman government. The religious leaders then decided to change their charge against Jesus in a way that would seem like a threat to the Romans. So yes, the religious leaders lied and violated their own law. (Exodus 20:16)

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]


Because they were evil murderous snakes and that's what evil murderous snakes do. See basically the whole chapter of Matthew 23 for what Jesus thought of them. They were like some of the most evil and corrupt and actually murderous of politicians. They were not nice people. To clarify, the Jews here refer primarily to the upper political/religious ruling class of the nation of Israel and not all the Jews living at that time.

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