Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, when we normally read the Bible as a community, but this week we’re reading ht eBible every day to prepare for Easter. This week is called Holy Week, a particular time to focus on what Jesus said and did in his final week before his death.
Yesterday we read about his arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey. Here’s what happened after he was arrested and was brought before the local Roman governor, named Pilate, accused by his fellow Jews of pretending to be their King.
Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”
But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. (Luke 23:1-25 ESV)
Jesus’ claim to be a king was clearly a threat to more than one group. For the Jews, the arrival of the Messiah was much anticipated, but for a complex variety of reasons. Jesus wasn’t really the king many were looking for, and he was a huge challenge to the status quo. He claimed to be the fulfillment of the law, which was a challenge to the Pharisees or religious lawyers. He claimed the temple would be destroyed and rebuilt – a huge challenge to the priests of the temple.
On the other hand, he was a threat to the Romans as well. If Jesus was causing such conflict within the Jewish population, there was concern it would incite violent riots during a week when Jerusalem’s population swelled for Passover holidays.
On top of that, if Jesus was claiming to be a king, that was a direct challenge to the ultimate authrotiy claimed by the Roman Emperor, the Caesar, and his rulers under him.
Pilate seems to see through a lot fo this, but as the local Roman governer over the Jews, he’s stuck between the two groups.
He finally handed Jesus over.
Question: What do you make of Jesus’ answer, when Pilate asks if he is King of the Jews? Jesus says, “You say so”. What was Jesus doing?