Pilate was so close, yet so far away

Luke Bible Background

05.02.2019 New Testament: Luke 23.13–16

To read the Bible in a year, read Luke 23.1–26 on May 2, In the year of our Lord 2019

By Don Ruhl

Pilate saw that Jesus had not done anything worthy of death, nor had Herod. Therefore, Pilate sought to release Jesus, but not without making Him suffer first,

Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.”

– Luke 23.13–16 

If Pilate truly believed Jesus innocent of any and all charges against Him, why did Pilate suggest chastising Jesus (or scourging as the other Gospel Accounts have it)? Perhaps Pilate thought that if the Jews could see Jesus suffer at the hands of Roman soldiers administering scourging, the Jews would give up, concluding that Jesus had suffered enough.

However, Pilate did not know the extent to which these people wanted Jesus dead. Pilate had the power to release Jesus under the protection of Roman guards and to escort Him out of the country. However, Pilate also sought a political victory, and that doomed both Jesus and Pilate.

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