Pilate stood and shouted over the fray, Which of the two do you all want me to pardon and set free to you? Bar Abbas? Pilate bit out his name with a look of contempt, or Jesus who is called Christ? The comparison was obvious: Did they still want to free a villainous murderer, or would they take the nobler option of freeing this gentle holy man who had been falsely accused?
Though John did not write about the interlude in Herod's court, I am convinced he would have been there. Of course, the story could also have come from Joanna and her husband, Herod's steward Chuza . . .
Caiaphas waited expectantly. He had been forceful in his insistence that Jesus was an agitator, inciting trouble all over Judea, having started his insurgency in the northernmost reaches of Jewish territory and bringing subversion all the way down to Jerusalem.
Jesus’s spiritual kingdom of truth apparently had borders that extended far beyond Judea and even Rome. His kingdom had no borders, because every person who wanted to know the truth would listen to Jesus and become a citizen in his kingdom.
God had prepared a day of reckoning that Pilate had no idea was coming. For him it was just another Friday. But he was instead going to experience the greatest crisis of his life, coerced into making a life-or-death decision of incalculable proportion and consequence.
Repentance means radical, profound change by turning away from the old and entering into the new.
It fascinates me that in the moments before Jesus was bound and led away, he healed one of his captors. What does loving one's enemies look like? Well, like that, probably.
Each one of us must decide: will it be the sword or the cup? Will I resist God's will or embrace God's will? The cup usually involves suffering, but the suffering ultimately leads to glory.
In all four gospels, Jesus only ever asked the Father for one thing for himself. In this post, I imagine what it might have been like for John listening to Jesus pray, and I reveal what that one thing is.
Believers know God’s name and share in a very real way in God’s divine nature. Because God is truth and love, truth and love must go together in every believer’s life.