I praise you Lord, the God of the old and the new, the God of innovation and tradition. Visit me again today!
Read John 18:28–40
Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCenter your thoughts on Jesus, ‘the faithful and true wit- ness, the ruler of God’s creation’ (Revelation 3:14).
We live in a world of fake news, fake reviews and broken promises. It is hard to know what can be trusted on social media. Truth is at a premium – or rather, there are any number of truths: you have yours and I have mine. Nothing new in that. The Jewish leaders are evasive – they know their allegations will not stand up to examination. Pilate is cynical and opportunistic. He knows that there is no valid charge, but he will not acquit Jesus for fear of stirring up trouble in a sensitive area at a sensitive time.
So when he asks, ‘What is truth?’ (v 38), whether as a genuine inquiry, or from cynicism or confusion, he misses the fact that truth is standing right in front of him. Not only does Jesus speak truth, he embodies truth (John 14:6). The leaders want the discussion to be about kingship in order to get a conviction of sedition. Jesus brings the discussion back to truth. Jesus is King, of course, but it is the nature of his kingship that is in question. It is different from the understanding of the leaders and Pilate and much, much bigger. We can confidently believe him and trust all that he says.
Many today are in the same position as Pilate, missing the truth of Jesus. Pray for your church this Easter as it witnesses to the truth, asking that some will believe.
Mighty God, at times I avoid taking responsibility when I am responsible. I need courage and strength from You to live responsibly.
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