To pressure the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate into executing Jesus, the Jewish leaders said: “If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar.” (John 19:12) The “Caesar” mentioned here was Roman Emperor Tiberius. Would Pilate have had any reason to fear this Caesar?
What kind of person was Tiberius Caesar? Years before Jesus’ trial, Tiberius had already become “a man who seemed interested only in his own satisfactions and the increasingly perverse ways to find them,” says The New Encyclopædia Britannica.
Paranoia moved him to torture and execute anyone who was even suspected of treason. “If the near-contemporary historians are to be believed,” reports the same reference work, “his favourite entertainments were cruel and obscene. Even under the most favourable interpretation, he killed ferociously and almost at random.”
Therefore, Tiberius’ reputation may well have figured in Pilate’s decision to bow to the pressure from the Jewish leaders and order the execution of Jesus.—John 19:13-16.