Peace be with you!
In yesterday’s reading, Pilate finds out Jesus is a Galilean and sends him to see Herod since Galilee is his jurisdiction (Luke 23:6-7). Herod is glad to finally meet Jesus, because he has heard a lot about him and has wanted to see Jesus performing a miracle (Luke 23:8). However, Herod likely wants see Jesus perform a sign so he can prove he deserves death. Earlier in the Gospel of Luke, Herod has expressed intent to cause harm to Jesus (Luke 9:9; 13:31). His interest in Jesus performing signs is likely Herod’s way to have a reason to cause harm to him, not to see his glory.
Herod questioned Jesus at length, but he did not answer any of his questions (Luke 23:9) or perform any signs, and therefore, Herod has no reason to cause him harm. The chief priests continue to argue that Jesus is causing a ruckus throughout Judea and Galilee (Luke 23:10). The scene with Herod serves as comic relief as the chief priests and the scribes try to convince him to crucify Jesus, even when they have no evidence for their accusations. Although both parties have a common goal of causing harm to Jesus, the chief priests are wasting their breath without evidence. With the help of his soldiers, Herod treats Jesus with contempt and mocks him by dressing him in an elegant robe (Luke 23:11ab). This mockery points to Herod’s disregard of having Jesus around causing a ruckus throughout Judea and Galilee. Herod just wants one reason to have Jesus crucified and is coming up empty handed.
Feeling defended Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:11c). Both Herod and Pilate find no reason to crucify Jesus, yet they both make sport of Jesus and of the chief priests who they despise. Herod is theatrical with his treatment of Jesus when he has him dressed in the elegant robe and agonizes the chief priests with his long questioning of Jesus. Herod and Pilate both perform power plays when they have Jesus on trial.
Pilate calls the chief priests, scribes, leaders, and the people back together and says, “You have brought me this man who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” (Luke 23:13-16 NRSV). Pilate upholds his verdict from the first he questioned Jesus. The chief priests, scribes, leaders, and the people have not provided any new evidence to change Pilate’s mind.
However, the chief priests, scribes, leaders, and the people will not allow Pilate to release Jesus. The whole crowd keeps yelling, “Away with Jesus! Release Barabbas for us!” (Luke 23:18 NRSV). Now Barabbas is always causing trouble in the city and has even killed a few people (Luke 23:19). Pilate cannot understand why the crowd wants Barabbas released instead of Jesus. Pilate asks the crowd what he should do with Jesus and the people say, “Crucify, crucify him!” (Luke 23:20-21). Pilate appeals to the crowd one last time: “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” (Luke 23:22 NRSV).
The crowd continues to yell, “Crucify, crucify him!” No amount of pleading with the crowd will change their minds. The more Pilate pleads to have Jesus flogged and released, the more the crowd yells, “Crucify, crucify him!” (Luke 23:23). Finally Pilate gives into the crowd’s demands and orders his soldiers to crucify Jesus and releases Barabbas (Luke 23:24-25).
Dear Jesus, Thank you for taking our beating, our cross, our punishment for us. Help us to live a life worthy of your sacrifice. Thank you for the power of your love. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. Who challenges your faith in God the Father and Jesus?
2. Where are you in the crowd?