Read Luke 23:1-5
Before this chapter, Jesus was brought before the Jewish leaders and they found him ‘guilty’ of blasphemy (claiming to be the Son of God). However, the Jewish elders had no power to sentence Jesus to death. So in this passage, they appeal to Roman authority – the ruling Governor Pilot, who does have that power. They come to Pilot with very different accusations because they need to convince him that Jesus is a threat to Roman law and order. The Romans don’t care about blasphemy (Jewish law), but they do care about people avoiding taxes and inciting uprisings.
To snare Jesus, the Jewish leaders tell a mix of half-truths to Pilot. Yes, Jesus was claiming to be King, but not to overthrow the Roman king or taxes. Yes, Jesus was stirring up people, but not for rebellion. Instead, he was stirring up people towards repentance, forgiveness of sins and relationship with the Father.
The Jewish leaders also use flattery on Pilot, calling the Roman empire “our nation” (v2) – something normally repulsive for Jewish people to say. The flattery and half-truths show us just how determined the Jewish leaders are to kill Jesus – not out of love for Rome, but to protect their own positions of power and respect.
By David Kemsley (Gospel Community Vision Coordinator)
- Is Jesus a real threat to the Jewish leaders?
- Is Jesus a real threat to the Roman empire?
- Is Jesus a threat to any part of your own life?
- Jesus is rightly accused of being the Messiah (the promised king and deliverer). Aside from threat, what is the true nature of Jesus’ kingdom?
- How has Acts grown your understanding of Jesus kingdom? How is that reflected in your own life?
Family Around the Table
These verses show how Jesus is a threat based on half-truths. Do you ever hear half-truths about Jesus? How would you respond with whole-truths?