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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Day 314: Trial before Pilate

Like pushing a car over the crest of a hill, events are picking up momentum now.

Jesus is sent to Pilate
Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-5, John 18:28-38
Herod questions Jesus
Luke 23:6-10
He is sent back to Pilate
Luke 23:11-12
Barabbas is released, Jesus is flogged
Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:39-40, 19:1
Pilate’s solders mock Jesus
Matthew 27:27-31, Mark 15:16-19, John 19:2-3
Pilate seeks to release Jesus
John 19:4-12
Pilate’s final sentence
John 19:13-16

Having got the confession they wanted, the Jews drag Jesus to the man with the power of life and death. Jesus says little to Pilate, he has no need to speak, the wheels are in motion, and Pilate is powerless to act in any other way that to order Jesus’ execution. The most powerful man in Jerusalem has his hands tied.
Yes that’s true.
For both Pilate and Jesus.
The chief priests manage to persuade the crowd to ask for another prisoner to be released instead of Jesus, and they whip people up into shouting for Jesus to be crucified. They’ve finally got the mob on their side, and Pilate can’t risk a riot, so he gives in, famously washing his hands.

Having seen Mel Gibson’s gorefest, The Passion of the Christ, it was the flogging scene that stuck most in my mind. The casual cruelty of the soldiers who try to find some diversion and entertainment by torturing a human being. This isn’t even torture for a reason - it’s just boys pulling the wings off flies. So when they mock Jesus, it makes me think what heights, and what depths, the human spirit is capable of.

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