December 12 - Luke 23:13-25

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Luke 23:13-25 – Jesus with Pilate … Again

Neither Pilate nor Herod could find grounds for capital punishment against Jesus. There simply was not enough evidence. The political games had been played and it was time to move on. Pilate had attempted to pass off the problem to Herod, but since he couldn't find a reason to punish Jesus, it came back into his hands. He made a decision. He would punish him … which was a scourging … and then release him.

Pilate hoped that scourging would appease the more moderate of the Jews and they would not press for crucifixion. In fact, Pilate hoped that all of those who had been vocal supporters of Jesus would cry out for his release, thereby releasing Pilate from pressing forward with the demands of the Jewish leaders, but there was silence.

One thing we must understand about Pilate was that in essence, he was a terrible leader. He was quite weak and this weakness gave the Jewish leaders an advantage. Once he had declared Jesus innocent, he should never have sent him on to Herod. The decision stripped away the power given to him by Rome. With that, the Jewish leaders knew they could easily manipulate him and so they did.

When Pilate chose to release Jesus as part of the Passover celebration, which was done each year, the Jewish leaders knew they had him in a corner. All they had to do was call for the release of another prisoner … Barabbas … and Pilate would be forced to release that man. He could no longer use that excuse to avoid punishing Jesus. He was trapped.

Pilate continued to attempt to talk to the leaders of the Jews, but their shouts overwhelmed him and he gave in to their demands. He released Barabbas and turned Jesus over to be crucified.