Day 24 – Jesus’ enemies get what they want
Bible reading: Luke 23:1–5, 13–25
Pilate asks Jesus questions
Pilate and the
Jewish leaders argue about Jesus
The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead. But they could do nothing because the Roman authorities did not allow them to use the death penalty. So they had to take him to Pilate, the Roman governor. They lied, saying Jesus had opposed paying taxes to Rome. This was quite untrue. He had said, ‘Pay Caesar what he is owed. Pay God what belongs to him.’
The interview with Pilate must have taken some time. Pilate will have seen that Jesus was not a threat to their politics. So he declared him to be innocent.
The Jewish leaders tried again. Pilate again replied, ‘I consider him not guilty of the crime of which you have accused him.’ Clearly Pilate, with his sense of Roman justice, wanted Jesus released.
But the priests encouraged the angry crowd to shout for his death, ‘Crucify him! crucify him!’ And because of this angry crowd’s persistent demands, Pilate finally agreed. He had made several big mistakes in his job ruling this difficult province of Judea. So he could not risk a bad report about him going to the emperor again, and probably causing him to lose his job.
So he condemned a man he knew to be innocent to the most terrible death. Morals often disappear when you want to avoid problems for yourself!