Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.’ Then Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He answered, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they were insistent and said, ‘He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.’ When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.
What on earth is it about this Jesus that makes the assembly rise as one to take Jesus to Pilate?
What was it that caused them all to come together to make out that Jesus was a threat to Roman authority?
How much of a challenge must they have perceived was coming from Jesus to their own power and rule?
And what was it about Jesus that made Herod and Pilate become friends when, before this encounter with Jesus, they couldn’t stand one another?
Whilst Jesus is a figure that brings hope, love, and a glorious invitation into closer relationship with God He also brings challenge to the status quo, to authority and into the corridors of power.
On this Tuesday morning, what might God be asking of any of us? What might that specific call to each of us be?
The glory of this passage is that love in Jesus was not squashed by the powerful or the cunning. That love never fades away – not today, or any day.
As members of the family of Jesus, living as ‘Jesus-shaped’ people might just mean that we need to challenge the things which ‘power’ holds onto?
God of hope and challenge, We thank you for seeking us out, for walking with us and for continuing to call us to you. May we continue to serve you where you place us and may we continue to delight and grow in the love you wrap us in. As we continue through Holy week, let us rejoice in the space we are in and celebrate the journey we are taking. God of hope and challenge, this day is yours and you share it with us. We thank you Amen
The Rev’d John Grundy is minister of St. Andrew’s URC and St. Michael’s United Church in South East London