Jesus before Pilate

main point

This story turns our basic assumptions about power and authority on their head. Pilate is powerless to act on his own judgment — two reasons — God has pre-ordained this encounter — the Jews — the supposedly conquerored and broken people are calling the shots.

new light

You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.

Because Pilate is simply fulfilling God’s will here — the Jewish leaders are more guilty than Pilate? Seems a non sequitur to me. The way a person of faith fulfills God’s will is different from a person of non-faith. We can either do God’s work by cooperating with it or by fighting it. The Jewish authorities are acting like Romans here.

truth

Haven’t attended too many capital trails lately.

But I think I have this tendency to do God’s will kicking and screaming as I go. A kind of hybrid between Pilate and Jesus perhaps — maybe more of Peter in me with a sprinkling of James and John — not too much Judas I hope.

implications

Self-consecration. Prayer. Be ready to be faithful. All good things but not easily done in the waiting period before the marching orders are given.

problems

None to think of. Whereas I saw anti-Jewish sentiments in earlier passages I see anti-authority here. I think Jesus’ way of power is power through mutual submission to one another and to God’s will — power with rather than power over. And this witnesses to the ultimate powerlessness of those who seek power over others.

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5 responses

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. “capital trails”?”And this witnesses to the ultimate powerlessness of those who seek power over others.”You’re speaking of the kingdom of heaven of course. Unfortunately I’m still too often under the dominion of the (unredeemed) powers; I’m far too timid and fearful to just ignore them.For me that means basically simply waiting for the parousia.

  3. Because Pilate is simply fulfilling God’s will hereI know all the gospels say that J’s execution was pre-ordained and God’s will … for some reason I don’t want to believe that. Jesus had a choice about whether to do this or not, it seems to me, and Pilate too. Personal responcibility for one’s acts and free will … what happens to those things if we decide God has pre-ordained stuff?

  4. that’s right Larry — the secret meaning of this passage is about the best walking tours in Washington DC.The powers are scary. That’s where their power lies. Jesus doesn’t fear death so the powers can only kill him not make him submit.Do I live up to this? Nope.

  5. Crystal:i think this passage is very clear saying that the moment depicted here is a moment specially chosen by God. Jesus is there because he is cooperating with God’s will. Pilate is full of angst because he’s resisting god’s will and sees himself caught between his duty as governor and the potential of a Passover riot. He is used to ruling through fear and his subjects terrify him.Do I accept the doctrine of predestination. No way. But I believe this passage implies it — at least for some events.

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