Luke gives us an image of what an innocent Pilate could look like. If you read these verses carefully you will see the pains to which the Gospel writer goes to show how Pilate did everything in his power to free Jesus. Three times (vs.22) he tells the religious leaders that he sees no fault in Jesus and that he is going to just torture him and then let him go free. But he was so swayed by the people that he could not stand up to them and eventually allowed them to have his way. A reticent Pilate becomes an enabler.
How often do we see things that we just know are not the way that God had planned them to be in our families, or in our neighborhoods, or in our churches and we just don’t think that we have any power or any control over what happens next so we do nothing, we just remain quiet. If nothing else, Pilate is a great case study for someone like us who knows what the right thing to do is and yet don’t do it because we don’t trust that God has our back.
I find it interesting that Herod and Pilate have their own little love story in this Scripture. We rarely see a personal touch as Luke includes in vs.12 and it almost seems as if they were having fun.
What is not fun to read is what happens to Jesus in all of this. It is interesting that Luke does not have Jesus being whipped and beaten like the other Gospels. Instead we have this Via Dolorosa that Jesus takes, which literally means the way of pain or suffering. He has an interaction with Simon of Cyrene who is compelled to carry Jesus’ cross. He didn’t volunteer, I just think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus addresses a group of women, probably hired, who were mourning Jesus’ eventual death. He turns to them and tells them to knock it off. Well, not really, but he does tell them not to worry about him, but rather about themselves as the future does not look promising.
The two thieves are good cop and bad cop with the good cop chastising the bad cop for not realizing the position in which they were in. I wanted to include a link to Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life” but there is a bad word in the song and I couldn’t do it. But whenever I get to the story of the thieves I can’t help but see that scene. What we often forget in that scene is Jesus’ promise to the good thief that this day he shall join him in paradise.
The death of Jesus allows those who are witnessing to realize that they missed the opportunity and this was truly, as the centurion stated, an innocent man. Joseph of Arimathea comes around and lays Jesus’ body in the tomb and the women witnessed and they will return in a few days.