Who Is the Real Jesus?
Tony R. Nester
Pilate wanted a direct answer from Jesus. "Are you the king of the Jews?" But Jesus didn't give a direct answer. He replied, "You say so" meaning, in other words, "That seems to be what you're saying about me, isn't it?"
Pilate understood kingship. A king was someone with power over other people. Pilate was a kind of king himself. He was a Roman prelate, a ruling governor of the Roman empire who had control over the people of Judaea. Pilate's power was the might of the Roman Empire, and specially in the Roman army that was at his disposal.
To Pilate Jesus appeared as a pathetic candidate to be king over anybody. Jesus had no army, no political connections, no money, no organized resistance. He was a Jewish joke of a king. Pilate declared Jesus innocent -- meaning that there was nothing kingly about Jesus -- and would have released Jesus had it not been for the persistence of the religious authorities who insisted that Jesus was causing unrest and trouble among the people. Pilate didn't want trouble -- these Jewish people were difficult to understand as well as govern -- if crucifying Jesus meant eliminating trouble, then he would have him executed. Pilate thought he knew the real Jesus -- a pathetic but innocent Jewish teacher -- someone to feel sorry for, not someone to respect, certainly not anyone to fear.
The religious authorities thought they knew the real Jesus. They had watched in perform miraculous healings. It wasn't the healings themselves that upset these religious leaders -- it was what Jesus said the healings meant. Jesus healed a paralyzed man and told the man, "Your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5).
The Pharisees knew that only God could forgive sins and that Jesus had no authority to make such an audacious claim. But there was this paralyzed man, now walking and praising God, and Jesus saying, "See, God's forgiveness sets people walking again, this man has been set free."
The Phari ...
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