The Invitation - Day 37

Luke 23:8

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. 9 He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. 10 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12 (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)
13 Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, 14 and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. 15 Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. 16 So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
18 Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice, they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!”19 (Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government, and for murder.)20 Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Wow, a great many things are happening in our text for today. So, let’s break it down quickly.

Pilate sends Jesus to Herod, who is excited as he has heard about the miracles that Jesus is doing. He interrogates Jesus, and Jesus refuses to answer or to do any miracles. This makes Herod slightly angry, so he mocks Jesus, puts on a royal robe as a joke, and sends Jesus back to Pilate.

I have always found it interesting that Herod and Pilate became friends that day through their shared experiences with Jesus. I don’t think it is because Jesus made them friends, but they played a game back and forth in their judicial roles. It seems that they both figured out the joke and played it together. Both of them were working to find ways to get out of having to decide about Jesus that would be unpopular.

When Jesus comes back to Pilate, Pilate tells the Jews that neither he nor Herod had found Jesus guilty of anything, so he would just beat Jesus (Perhaps he thought this would appease them), and then he would let Jesus go. Even in ancient times, Pilate was under Roman law that would not simply allow the death penalty for someone innocent.

The Jews would have none of this. They were adamant that Jesus be put to death by crucifixion. So convinced were they that they needed to be rid of Jesus that they were willing to ask for the release of Barrabas, a known insurrectionist and murderer. Pilate seemed to allow this to quiet the crowd that had gathered and was becoming unruly.

Why were they so adamant about getting rid of Jesus?

Jesus was not just a new religious figure. His revolution was undermining everything that their society had been built upon. His gospel was changing the very economics of their culture. It was such a revolution that his detractors knew that life would never be the same for them if this message were allowed to take hold in their region. The threat to them, their position, and their profits was real; it was tangible and came from Jesus. Something had to be done.

So they lied, they cheated, and they used subterfuge to get Pilate to release the murderer and sentence Jesus to death.

  1. What would you do if your way of life were threatened? 
  2. Do you think you would have heard the good news that Jesus was spreading, or do you think you would have seen it as a threat? 
  3. Do you still think that the Gospel can change society, that it should, and what effect would it have on you and your family? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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