John 18:28-40 My kingdom is not from this world.
Last week, Jesus was brought before the Jewish leaders for accusation and trial. This week the Jewish leaders have brought him to the Roman authorities. The leaders won’t go in to the palace, as that would make them ritually unclean. They have no such concerns about Jesus. Pilate isn’t particularly interested in taking on this case, and he is left with no choice.
Jesus tells the Jewish authorities to consider what they have heard, what he has said and what he has done. He almost doesn’t answer them. (smack) When it comes to testifying before Pilate, Jesus explains more (cryptically). There is a contrast between how Jesus handles church and how he handles state. The religious leaders determine that Jesus is guilty, and hand him over to be killed. Pilate determines that there is no reason to hold Jesus. You can hear the disconnect – the temple says Jesus is guilty unto death, and the state says that Jesus is innocent. Again, as with Peter, the people who should stand with Jesus do not.
Jesus closes his testimony with his purpose, and from that Pilate determines that there is no case against him, and offers to set him free. The leaders do not want him freed. They choose Barrabus, the bandit, over Jesus, the Lord. Last week, we witnessed Peter denying who Jesus is, and this week, we hear the leaders of the temple deny who Jesus is. We have moved from an individual denial or a communal denial. How have we denied Christ as Church? How does that diminish our witness in the world? How has the church chosen the bandit over the Savior of the world?