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Jesus Trialed by Pilate

(Mt 27:1-2; 11-14; Mk 15:1-5; Lk 23:1-5; Jn 18:28-38)

Though the Sanhedrin accused Jesus of blasphemy, they did not bring that up to Pilate. Instead, they raised three accusations that could be of concern for the Roman authorities: “We found this man misleading our people; he opposes the payment of taxes to Caesar and maintains that he is the Messiah, a king” (Lk 23:2). Pilate did not find any truth in these, nor any serious offence deserving of crucifixion.

If Jesus was misleading people, it was a religious issue and not Pilate’s concern. When asked on the payment of tax to the Roman government, Jesus’ reply was: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God” (Mt 22:21). Pilate could consider Jesus’ claim of the kingship of the Jews as treason against the Roman emperor and his position. He was the governor, replacing the king of the Jews in the provinces of Judaea, Samaria, and Idumea. But Pilate knew that Jesus never challenged the Roman authorities, including himself. When questioned, Jesus clarified that his kingdom was not of this world. Pilate concluded that Jesus was not guilty. But he was not bold enough to free Jesus because of his own insecurities and selfish motives.


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