Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pilate Revisited

Luke 23:22-23
For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore, I will have him punished and then release him."
But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.

If you attend a traditional service in a Catholic or Episcopal Church, then you are readily familiar with the Nicene Creed which is recited during worship. It is both a recounting of the events preceding and following Jesus' death and resurrection and a declaration of Christian beliefs. Amazingly, aside from Mary, the Lord's mother, the only mortal mentioned in the Creed is the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate: "For our sake, He was crucified under Pontius Pilate". While this phrase solidly fixes the time of Jesus' death in history, it renders the reputation of this man, so reluctant to sent Jesus to the cross, infamous at best.

Is this being fair to Pilate's legacy? Yes, I know that, under the pressure from the crowds whipped into a frenzy by the Sanhedrin and the insistence of the Jewish leaders themselves, the prefect caved to the demands and finally ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. However, in this verse from Luke today, we see him pleading no less than three times with the mob to spare our Lord. Pilate also declares Jesus' innocence: he can find no crime, no circumstance, nothing to compel the death penalty. Was a Gentile, ironically, the first to point toward the sinless nature of the Savior? Now, that is something to stop and think about!

"He became sin who knew no sin that we might become His righteousness. He humbled himself and carried the cross. Love so amazing! ~ Chris Tomlin

Psalms 131, 132, (133) or 134, 135
1 Samuel 13:5-18
Acts 8:26-40
Luke 23:13-25

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