Monday, April 25, 2011

Bible Study John 19:1-16 Pilate Outsmarted

In the last chapter, Pilate tried to save Jesus by offering an exchange - Robber vs Jesus. It did not work. Pilate tried again.

Q1 What was Pilate's 2nd attempt to free Jesus? Did it work? Why not?
Pilate got Jesus flogged John 19:1 thinking that his suffering will gain the sympathy and claim the anger of the Religious Leaders. In  Chinese 36-Strategies, that will be strategic#34 Suffer in the Flesh to Gain Trust and Acceptance. Pilate even re-iterate that he found guilt in Jesus. v4.

It did not work. They wanted Jesus to be crucified. Pilate still could not understand the issue about Jesus. They wanted Jesus death. They did not want Jesus to be their King. Their reason for wanting Jesus' death was because Jesus claimed he was Son of God which could not be possible as Jesus was truly a man; a man that had the support of the common people and a mirror that reflected their wrong doings. If they let Jesus live, they were likely to loose their influence and authorities over their people. Jesus as a big threat to their survival. They also misunderstood Jesus thinking that He wanted to established His political kingdom here and could incur the wrath of the Romans to got them destroyed. (The Romans actually did destroyed Jerusalem later in AD 70).

Q2 What did Pilate think of Jesus ?
Pilate was shocked, more afraid, when he heard the charge was about Jesus calling himself Son of God. He must have felt some kind of power, dignity, or authority when he encountered Jesus, even in chains. He knew Jesus, even if he was not God, he must be at least a good and a man of authority of some sort. It was better not to touch Jesus just in case He was God. v12 told us that Pilate sought to release Jesus.

Q3 What was Pilate 3rd attempt to free Jesus?  Did it work? What did it tell us about Pilate?

He brought Jesus out and asked the people should he crucify their King. I don't understand the logic of this. Pilate is projecting his own thought on the Religious People. He found Jesus to be man of authority and goodness and if it were up to him, he would let Jesus go free. Pilate should read up any book on communication. He must first understand others to be understood. (Stephen Covey Habit#5). He did not address the real issue of the Religious Leaders. Most likely he could not even if he knew.

Pilate actually has the authority to crucify or free Jesus. Otherwise the Religious leaders would not have bothered to come to him. The Religious Leaders might be able to punish Jesus in different ways, like ex-communications, but not by death. Pilate did not have the guts to do it. He was trying to gain support of them as well.

But now he got himself into a corner - the Religious Leaders said they had no king by Caesar v15 and v12 anyone who made himself king opposes Caesar.

We can also see the evilness of the people at work. To achieve their objective of crucifying Jesus, they can said and anything even against their inner belief.

Q4 Is Pilate guilty of crucifying Jesus?
The answer is yes but is of second degree. Jesus said in 19:11 "Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."  It was a sin nonetheless. He had the power to say no and yet he gave the consent to crucify Jesus. He may did the wonderful thing of watching his hands off this crucification as recorded in Mat 27:24 but he was guilty in the eyes of God. He could of course be forgiven if he finally believed in Jesus as the Son of God. But we don't know whether he finally did believe. He did get bold enough to reject the Religious Leaders request to change the inscription.

Q5 What can we learned from this passage?
  1. Seek first to understand the motivation and thoughts of the people and then you can communicate your proposal and get it understood.
  2. If you don't know what to do, ask God for wisdom.
  3. Be bold to take up and exercise your authority when it is called for. Don't be a people pleaser and fail to do the right thing.

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