Fifth Midweek Lenten Service
SERMON TEXT: Luke 23:1-25 (Evangelical Heritage Bible)
Then the whole group of them got up and brought him before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this fellow misleading our nation, forbidding the payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “It is as you say.” Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” But they kept insisting, “He stirs up the people, teaching all through Judea, beginning from Galilee all the way here.”
When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad. For a long time, he had wanted to see him, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle performed by him. He questioned him with many words, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the experts in the law stood there, vehemently accusing him. Herod along with his soldiers treated him with contempt and ridiculed him. Dressing him in bright clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other on that day. Before this they had been enemies with each other. Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who is misleading the people. Look, I have examined him before you. I have found in this man no basis for the charges you bring against him. Herod did not either, because he sent him back to us. See, he has done nothing worthy of death. So I will punish him and then release him.”
Now he needed to release one prisoner to them at the feast. But they all shouted together with one voice: “Take him away! Release Barabbas to us!” Barabbas had been thrown in prison for a rebellion in the city and for murder. Then Pilate addressed them again, because he wanted to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found no grounds for sentencing him to death. So I will whip him and release him.” But they kept pressuring him with loud shouts, demanding that he be crucified. And their voices were overwhelming. So Pilate decided that what they demanded would be done. He released the one they had asked for, who had been thrown in prison for rebellion and murder, but he handed Jesus over for them to do as they wished.