Matthew’s Passion: Jesus and Pilate

Matthew’s Passion: Jesus and Pilate

40 Blogs of Lent: 25

Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14

I have heard it said that you should never mix politics and religion. But what we have here is political in the extreme. The plotters which included the high priest have struggled to get the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin, to condemn Jesus, but having achieved that now have the problem of sentencing. The Sanhedrin did not have the power to do pass the death sentence, only the occupying power, the Romans, could do that.

The Jewish authorities and the Roman authorities do not get on with each other, the plotters have another struggle on their hands.


Pilate was the Roman governor. Normally he lived in the coastal city of Caesarea, but was in Jerusalem at this time. Every thing is in place for God’s plan to unfold, had Pilate been in Caesarea Jesus would have had to wait in jail either for Pilate to come to Jerusalem, or for Jesus to be taken to Pilate.

Pilate was the ultimate power in Judea, he represented Ceasar, and Ceasar was Lord. Or so Pilate thought. But standing before Pilate was an accused man who was the real Lord, appointed by God. A Lord that was more powerful than Ceasar, but with a power that works in another way. Pilate thought he was in control, but the real control was in the hands of the condemned man Jesus. Jesus the real King is in control despite appearences.

This is not just something to reflect on in Lent, it has repercussions that reach forward in time to the present day. When things look bleak we must remember that no matter how thingslook Jesus is still in control. Not the protesters, not the government, power belongs to Jesus, but it is a different power. Not a power that exercises itself over others, but a power that delegates to others, empowering them.

Power does not belong to kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers. Power does not belong to parliaments, the boards of multi-national companies or to angry mobs. Power, real power is God’s and is found in Jesus Christ. We must pray for our governments, our leaders but most of all we must pray that God’s will is done. That prayer goes like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

The reading this blog is based on:

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. 2 And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” 12 But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” 14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Matthew 27 ESVUK

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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