Sunday 17 April 2011

Bible Book:

"So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water before the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.'" (v. 24)

Matthew 27:11-54 Sunday 17 April 2011


Our journey through Holy Week begins as we read about Jesus'appearance before the governor, Pilate.

This comes in a sequence of events that demonstrates how humanbeings manipulate both each other and the course of events. Chiefpriests, elders, statesmen, Caiaphas the high priest and evenJesus' closest friends all act in ways that culminate in the finalevents of Jesus' life. In this chapter, Matthew firstly shows theconsequence of misplaced power politics, as Judas decides to takehis own life. Before Pilate, and in a shocking parallel, Jesuswilling gives the power of life and death to another - and to aGentile (non-Jew).

Jesus is paraded as the 'King of the Jews' (verse 11), whichsuggests that Jesus was some form of rebellious leader. Jesus issomeone to whom the state and the religious authorities were tofear and wanted to control. The cheers from the crowds became thecharge with which Jesus was eventually crucified. In contrast,Barabbas, the man for whom the crowds cheer and eventually release,was a notorious and rebellious leader.

In the face of this charge, however, Jesus remains surprisinglysilent. The silence of the Godhead is something that we will returnto on Saturday.

Pilate washes his hands - a symbolic and yet powerful gesture. Thisis not the compulsions of a Lady Macbeth character, trying to ridoneself of guilt and tarnish. It is a gesture of a leader absolvinghimself of responsibility before declaring judgement. It is asymbol of distance from the process, rather than responsibility forit.

At the close of this passage, Jesus has been tried, test, mocked,abused, and crucified. With Jesus' final breath, the world became avery dark place indeed.

To Ponder

Where have you 'washed your hands' ofresponsibility?

Why might you have called for Barabbas' freedomrather than Jesus'?

Why do you think Jesus had to die like this? Howwould you have preferred God to have acted?

Previous Page Saturday 30 April 2011
Next Page Monday 18 April 2011