Through the Bible in One Year

Day 116

Luke 23:1-12

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”—23:1-5

The involvement of Pilate and his interaction with the Jewish leadership are recorded throughout the sequence of events in verses 1-25.  The widespread culpability in the death of Jesus is evident in the range of participants.  The overall emphasis, however, is on the innocence of Jesus.  Three charges are brought before the Roman ruler Pilate.  The charges begin with a broad charge of disrupting the nation and thus endangering the peace with Rome, followed by two charges that elaborate on the first charge.  The second charge—that Jesus opposed paying taxes to Caesar—is a false charge.  The third charge—that Jesus is the Messiah, a king—is true, though he is not a king in the political sense and is therefore not a threat in that regard.  Pilate picks up on this third charge, and again Jesus’ answer is a qualified endorsement of it.  Pilate then pronounces the first of may references to Jesus’ innocence in this chapter.

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends —before this they had been enemies.—23:6-12

Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee but was in Jerusalem for the Passover festival, so Pilate saw this as an opportunity to pass Jesus off to him for a verdict.  Since Pilate could not find that Jesus had committed any crime against Rome.  Jesus’ appearance before Herod adds to the number of those antagonistic toward Jesus and adds an other official testimony to Jesus’ innocence.  And we will pick up from here tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Judges 7:1-8:17, Luke 23:13-43, Psalm 97:1-98:9 and Proverbs 14:7-8

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