The Invitation - Day 36

Luke 23:1

Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. 2 They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.”

3 So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

4 Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

5 Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”

6 “Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. 7 When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

This interchange is fascinating. Pilate, the governor of the province of Judea from AD 26-36, was responsible for maintaining order in the region. This case comes before him, but he is reluctant to want to deal with it.

Sometimes, we have to deal with things that we don’t want to deal with. When this happens, we often look for ways to pass the buck. Pilate was no different. He sought to move this case out of his courtroom and elsewhere. His whole attitude is one of disengagement. Whether he knew that the accusers were lying about the taxes or not, we don’t know, but we do know that he was happy to move this issue forward to someone else.

When he asked Jesus whether or not he was king of the Jews, Jesus was cagey and responded with, “You have said so.” Rather than call out his messianic role, he allowed what was said to stand independently. Jesus always outsmarts his accusers in this way.

When Jesus responds to Pilate, he knows this will be in a sticky situation, so he says that he finds nothing wrong with Jesus. While that does not settle the issue for the Jews, he believes that his decision should be final. However, the Jews were still pushing their accusations into something that would have affected Pilate: riots around his territory.

One glaring omission is that if there were riots in his region, Pilate would have known about them much earlier. As he was given the governance over this area, riots would not have occurred without his knowledge.

But when he heard that Jesus wasn’t from his region, he punted as quickly as he could to Herod Antipas.

What does this story tell us about Pilate, Jesus, and His accusers?

First, it tells us that Pilate wanted nothing to do with this internal struggle between the Jews and Jesus. Second, it tells us that Jesus wasn’t fighting back but seemed resigned that this must be how things will happen and how things need to happen. Lastly, we see that the accusers were willing to say anything at this point, whether it was real or not, to get rid of Jesus.

Sometimes, the hard work of doing the right thing puts us in jeopardy, and Pilate must have felt this. He didn’t want to cause issues with his reign, so he moved the discussion away as quickly as possible.

  1. Why do you think the Jews were so adamant about getting rid of Jesus? Was it just because they didn’t like him, or was there more involved? 
  2. What would you have done if you were a follower of Jesus then? 
  3. What would you have done if you were Pilate? One of the ways that we meditate on scripture is by putting ourselves into the story and seeing it from one of the characters’ point of view.

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

Daily Study Podcast

Download a PDF Version of our Series Guide

The Abide Daily Podcast

Thank You for Supporting the Ministry of Crosswalk

Posted in

No Comments