How would you feel if the people who were under your rule and command refused to step into your house because it would make them unclean, yet still came to you asking/demanding you to do their bidding? Would you think it was childish? Quant? Would it make you angry? Defensive?
This is what we see in this opening scene of our lesson today. The Jewish Leaders, predominantly the Pharisees and their Teachers of the Law show up early in the day, unannounced, to Pilate’s palace, a mob who has now been up all night and probably growing in size as people wake up and come out to see what is going on. But to talk with them Pilate must come out to stand on his front step since they won’t come in.
They bring him this man who is defacto guilty because they say so and they wouldn’t have brought him to Pilate if he was not, so just go ahead and declare Jesus guilty already because we say so. Again, if you are in Pilate’s shoes, how would this make you feel as the judge and commander of these people?
I’m certain this is not the first time Pilate and the Jews have clashed. Clearly the animosity has built over time as each asserts their superiority over the other, Pilate as a Roman, the Jews as “God’s people.” You hear it in the tone of the Jewish leaders. You hear it in Pilate’s quip to Jesus, “Am I a jew?” You can almost hear him spit out the word.
But Jesus is not a part of any of these. He speaks only the truth to Pilate. He is a King, but His Kingdom is not of this sinful world. He has committed no wrong, broken no law and certainly not any that Pilate has jurisdiction over (i.e., Roman law vs Jewish religious law). He does not claim to be anything he is not. He does not speak down to Pilate (or to the Jews other than to say they had sinned).
But frustrated Pilate sends Jesus, whom he is declaring to be innocent, off to be flogged. Is this evil and wickedness manifested? Is it a release of the pent up anger and fury at the Jews? Is Jesus even at this point serving as the scapegoat for the sins and conflict of the people?
They wanted to eat the passover meal. To enter his palace would have made them unclean and they would not have had time to become ceremonially clean before passover
The jews did not have the authority to execute Jesus (not that this fact had not prevented them from plotting to beat or stone him in the past). This caused Jesus’ death to be on the cross. If the Jews had gone outside of Roman law and taken things into their own hands, Jesus would have been beaten, stoned or stabbed, not crucified.
prayer – I have good intention to pray for others, but don’t organize myself enough to follow through.
Church and Bible Study commitments – do I use these as excuses for being too busy to invest time in others?