Day 205: Pilate and Politics

Luke 23:1-7

The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”

Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

He answered him, “So you say.”

Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.” But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. When he found out that he was in Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.

I understand that one of Pilate’s jobs as leader of Palestine was to make sure that the people stayed under control. It is interesting that today, people who don’t believe what the Bible says still think this way about Israel. Then, however, the Jews didn’t have their own country but were occupied by Rome. Pilate was handed the job to keep peace.

It is pretty clear that Pilate didn’t want to punish Jesus. He seemed to know the intentions of the Jewish leadership all too well, but He also seemed to realize that that they were capable of making riots that might show that things were getting out of control. Pilate actually appears to have been playing politics against the Jewish leadership but felt that he had to appease them to keep his job.

So what did Pilate do when he was put in a corner? He dished off the responsibility to someone else.

Here we can read the charges that the Jewish leadership was making against Jesus:

  • Perverting the nation
  • Forbidding the paying of taxes to Caesar
  • Saying that He was the Christ and a King
  • Stirring up the people

The first two were lies without question. The third one we read here is one that Jesus admitted to, and we also read that Pilate didn’t think that this was worthy of his involvement. I think that it was this last one that really got to him eventually. I think he know that this was a threat. Jesus wasn’t stirring up the people, clearly these leaders were. So, after spending the night being beat, then going through a bad trial with the Jewish leadership, and finally a questioning by Pilate, Jesus is sent off to Herod.