Connecting to the Larger Story
After sharing the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, led the authorities to the spot and betrayed Jesus into their hands. Jesus was taken to the council of religious authorities who found Jesus guilty of blasphemy against God. They turned him over to Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea and enforcer of Roman law, to be interrogated.
Important to Note
1) Both the Jewish religious authorities and the Roman governor Pilate were complicit in the death sentence handed down to Jesus. Thus the guilt for his crucifixion rested not one group solely - the Jewish people or the Romans - but on all of them together. Having been condemned by the Jewish people and the Gentiles alike, Jesus' sacrifice was for all people.
2) Pilate gave the people the opportunity to release Jesus or the violent insurrectionist Barabbas. They choose to have Barabbas freed, indicating a preference for his mode of civil war against Rome.
3) After Jesus' death on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea went to ask for his body so that he could be properly buried. Joseph was a prominent member of the council, showing that not everyone - including the religious authorities - were against what Jesus had come to preach.
Thoughts for Reflection
1) Why do we prefer the thought of violent vengeance over the ways of the kingdom that Jesus represents?
2) Would we have had the courage to stand with Jesus as Joseph of Arimathea did?