Pilate's final effort to release Jesus fails. He washes his hands in *feigned innocence. Delivers Jesus to the Jews for execution. The Jewish soldiers drive him to Calvary.

A SUPERSTITIOUS people are the Jews. They have a faith that they have borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands, that at the end of every year,

2 They may heap all their sins upon the head of some man set apart to bear their sins.

3 The man becomes a scapegoat for the multitudes; and they believe that when they drive him forth into the wilds, or into foreign lands, they are released from sin.

4 So every spring before the feast they chose a prisoner from the prisons of the land, and by a form their own, they fain would make him bear their sins away.

5 Among the Jewish prisoners in Jerusalem were three who were the leaders of a vile, seditious band, who had engaged in thefts and murders and rapine, and had been sentenced to be crucified.

6 Barabbas bar Jezia was among the men who were to die; but he was rich and he had bought of priests the boon to be scapegoat for the people at the coming feast, and he was anxiously in waiting for his hour to come.

7 Now, Pilate thought to turn this superstition to account to save the Lord, and so he went again before the Jews and said,

8 You men of Israel, according to my custom I will release to you to-day a prisoner who shall bear your sins away.

9 This man you drive into the wilds or into foreign lands, and you have asked me to release Barabbas, who has been proven guilty of the murder of a score of men.

10 Now, hear me men, Let Jesus be released and let Barabbas pay his debt upon the cross; then you can send this Jesus to the wilds and hear no more of him.

11 At what the ruler said the people were enraged, and they began to plot to tear the Roman palace down and drive in exile Pilate, and his household and his guards.

12 When Pilate was assured that civil war would follow if he heeded not the wishes of the mob, he took a bowl of water and in the presence of the multitude he washed his hands and said,

13 This man whom you accuse is son of the most holy Gods, and I proclaim my innocence.

14 If you would shed his blood, his blood is on your hands and not on mine.

15 And then the Jews exclaimed, And let his blood be on our hands and on our children's hands.

16 And Pilate trembled like a leaf, in fear. Barabbas he released and as the Lord stood forth before the mob the ruler said, Behold your king! And would you put to death your king?

17 The Jews replied, He is no king; we have no king but great Tiberius.

18 Now, Pilate would not give consent that Roman soldiers should imbue their hands in blood of innocence, and so the chief priests and the Pharisees took counsel what to do with Jesus, who was called the Christ.

19 Caiaphas said, We cannot crucify this man; he must be stoned to death and nothing more.

20 And then the rabble said, Make haste! Let him be stoned. And then they led him forth toward the hill beyond the city's gates, where criminals were put to death.

21 The rabble could not wait until they reached the place of skulls. As soon as they had passed the city's gate, they rushed upon him, smote him with their hands, they spit upon him, stoned and he fell upon the ground.

22 And one, a man of God, stood forth and said, Isaiah said, He shall be bruised for our transgressions and by his stripes we shall be healed.

23 As Jesus lay all bruised and mangled on the ground a Pharisee called out, Stay, stay you men! Behold, the guards of Herod come and they will crucify this man.

24 And there beside the city's gate they found Barabbas's cross; and then the frenzied mob cried out, Let him be crucified.

25 Caiaphas and the other ruling Jews came forth and gave consent.

26 And then they lifted Jesus from the ground, and at the point of swords they drove him on.

27 A man named Simon, a friend of Jesus, was a-near the scene and since the bruised and wounded Jesus could not bear his cross, they laid it on the shoulders of this man and made him bear it on to Calvary.

A letter from the Director of SFIU:

* This is the opinion of the author.

This one incident has been the "cause" of more wars, persecutions, and death than nearly any other in the history of mankind. It continues to this day. Let us examine the issue as dispassionately as possible.

1. By all we have read, and all other sources; the policy of Roman government at this time was to not interfere in local religions; unless they proved a danger to the security of the Roman State.

2. From that view, Pilate made the only decision possible to him as a "ruler" and as a man who would live with his wife. He wanted no part of killing Jesus; neither personally, professionally, nor spiritually. He believed he would have an insurrection on his hands if he did, and his superiors would not countenance such a mistake. His life was at stake, too. Rome did not tolerate that sort of error in their military administrators.

3. Throughout this editing of so beautiful and exemplary a document, I have been very reluctant to give a personal or professional opinion. My preference has always been to ask questions of my students, that they may form their own opinions, as they should. We are told as ministers and as children of God to not make judgements. Only God makes judgements.

4. With those conditions in mind: Who killed Jesus?

Please consider:

I. Jesus planned this event carefully. He maintained the Torah must be fulfilled.

II. The Jewish authorities tried until the last minute to not have Jesus Crucified. Under public pressure, they suggested a milder punishment; and were rejected by a mob.

III. By all appearances, the mob took over, and killed Jesus. This has been the history of the public treatment of "Prophets" and "seers" during this time.

IV. Placing blame upon the Roman State, the Jewish people; The Sanhedrin or any other official organization contradicts the apparent facts in this case.

The insurrection occurred in 70 C.E., and virtually destroyed the Jewish nation. Was this an example of the Spiritual Law of Reciprocity?

V. So why are we still killing each other over this event? It is still happening to this day. Do we have a collective soul, and are acting out our guilt over this act?

VI.This is not what Jesus wanted from us. He absolved us of our guilt. Jesus gave us the solution: "Love one another, as I have loved you." He proved He loved us. Can we do less? He told us to forgive, and save the world - the birthright he gave us.

VII. Asking Jesus directly in prayer can be a devastating event. Some tell me they can still hear Him cry; for all of us. He lives, very near to us. He did this to prove: we can do it too. We can live.

How long will we continue? The choice is still ours. He gave us the choice, in love.

Your Brother, In Christ;
Rev. James L. Fabert, DD

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