Luke 23:1–12

Read the passage.

Confident that they have ample justification to kill Jesus, the entire Council takes Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, to demand His execution. Now, Pilate doesn’t care at all about a blasphemy charge, so they have to get Jesus on the hook for something that will bring a capital punishment under the Roman code. They choose insurrection and “misleading the nation” (v. 2), whatever that means. They even claim that Jesus was encouraing the people not to pay the tributes, collected as tax by the Romans. They say He claimed to be the Christ, which they explain as a king to Pilate. But none of these charges are true. Jesus didn’t claim for Himself the title of Christ, but He did affirm Peter’s answer, speaking for the rest of the disciples, when He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” That was a private conversation; hardly a movement meant to throw off Roman rule.

I think even at this point Pilate knows that the Jewish leaders are trying to pull one over on him. He asks Jesus if He is the King of the Jews, and Jesus again replies with “If you say so.” With just that “interrogation” Pilate determines that Jesus isn’t guilty of the charges. It would be comedic if this were any other situation, and the fate of the whole world didn’t hang in the balance. “Are you guilty?” “No.” “You see? He says he’s not guilty. Case closed.”

Pilate then finds out that Jesus is from Galilee, so he says he doesn’t have jurisdiction over Jesus, and tries to pass the whole situation off onto Herod so he can have the headache from dealing with the Sanhedrin. Herod has actually wanted to see Jesus for a long time, so he’s glad to have the chance. Jesus doesn’t provide any entertainment or inspiration, so Herod and his soldiers mock and mistreat Him instead and send Him back to Pilate in fancy clothing. Somehow, this makes Herod and Pilate become friends, but I can’t figure out how that works really.

Throughout this whole drama, the Council members are lobbing accusation after accusation against Jesus to everyone who will listen. They probably see their chance to be rid of Jesus slipping away as Pilate and Herod drag their feet.

We remember the prophecies of the silent lamb being led to the slaughter. All of these things were foreordained from the beginning to bring about salvation.

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