Our Bible passage today is Luke Chapter 23 verses 1-5 and 13 to 25, ‘The trapped politician’, referring to Pontius Pilate.
Pontius Pilate is the Roman Governor, and in theory and probably in practice is a very powerful man, but in this instance he is trapped and out-manoevred by the Jewish religious authorities. Twice in the 2 parts of our passage he comes to the conclusion that Jesus is not guilty, but the pressure continues. But in the end, as Sinclair Ferguson writes, ‘Pilate wilts – despite having all the authority of the Roman Empire behind him. He sets a murderer free and has Jesus sent off for crucifixion. So much for justice.’
And he is remembered all around the world ever since as Christians recite the ancient creeds, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ (who) … suffered under Pontius Pilate’ (Apostles’ Creed), or, ‘For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate’ (Nicene Creed).
But SF goes on to write of a much deeper truth going on here.’Jesus has come to take our place and be counted as guilty in our place. And so, within this single chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is declared to be not guilty by Pilate, (and then by several others as we shall soon see). And yet still he is condemned. The innocent One is treated as the guilty One in order that the guilty ones may be treated as righteous ones. This is the heart of the gospel.’
So to reflect today,’Imagine you were the one being released from Pilate’s prison: what would you resolve to do next?For the rest of his life Barabbas could say, “Jesus died instead of me”. But the Christian can say, in a much deeper sense, “The Son of God … loved and gave himself for me” and so “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith” (Galatians Ch.2 v.20).
We continue with our extended church address list, and so I encourage you to remember today in your prayers 2 people who had started to come regularly before the lockdown, and we would like to return when life becomes a bit more normal,
– Sally- Terry