No Basis for a Charge…

“And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the crowds, ‘I find no basis for a charge in this man.’”

(Luke 23:4)

As I read this, I can almost envision Pilate in his frustration kind of thinking to himself, “What now? Here I am, woken up early, trying to get some breakfast, and I have to deal with this. It’s bad enough having Jerusalem so swollen with people due to their Passover celebration, but now I have to deal with this? Can’t these people give me even a little peace?” Perhaps I am reading a bit too much into Pilate’s thought here, but as a pastor, I know that I have had this kind of thought at times… “You guys are angry at each other over what? Did you listen to any of my sermon last week on Philippians 2?” When grown adults who know what the Word of God teaches on matters of dispute can’t seem to act upon the Scripture’s teaching and choose to behave more like Kindergarteners…well, you get the picture.

This is a little different as Pilate is a pagan and much more interested in pragmatic solutions that will preserve the peace in this very turbulent region of the world. Though the Jews were not a mighty military force, their region of the world was historically a difficult one to hold for long periods of time and the Jewish people were notorious for overthrowing larger and more highly trained armies through the use of guerrilla tactics. Pilate had no intention of having such happen on his watch. Even so, he begins at least, with integrity.

Some of our Bibles will render the term ai¡tioß (aitios) as “guilt.” Yet, the term is better translated as “basis for a charge.” Pilate has not examined the man, Jesus, as of yet, so he could not know anything of actual guilt. What he is doing, based on the ramblings of the priests and the shouts of the crowds, is making a kind of preliminary ruling — “you don’t have a basis for a capital case against him” — is essentially what Pilate is saying here. More will develop as the dialogue continues, but for now, Pilate is still insisting that this is a local case to be decided according to local laws. The bottom line is that this is an answer that the Priests could not accept because they wanted to put Jesus to death. If last night was a height of wickedness; this day would see new peaks by its end.

Were you there when they falsely tried my Lord?

Were you there when they falsely tried my Lord?

Oh, Oh, Oh, Sometimes it makes me want to Tremble

Tremble, Tremble…

Were you there when they falsely tried my Lord?

 

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