Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wake me up when September ends. John 18:28 - 19:16a.

Green day: cheap sirloin with herbed butter and portobello mushrooms
Green day.

A thin but meaty section in this particular "Just Looking" series.

John 18:28 - 19:16a

Jesus' innocence
Q: By whom was Jesus arrested? Why?

John 18:14, 11:45-57, 18:35

Q: What accusation did the chief priest and officers of the Jews bring against Jesus?
18:30 - nothing specific at first

Q: What was Pilate's verdict? How was this emphasised?
Jesus was innocent (18:38, 19:4, 19:6, 19:12).

Guilt of the Jews
Q: What do the accusers know about Jesus' claims?

All too aware that he claims to be king and to be the Son of God (18:33, 19:7).

Q: Yet how do the chief priests and officers respond each time Pilate pronounces Jesus to be innocent?

Q: How can we tell from this passage that the chief priests and officers were not looking for a fair trial?
They just wanted Jesus killed by the Romans (18:31, 19:6, 19:15).

Q: What occasion were the Jews celebrating?
Passover (18:28).

Q: In what way were their scruples about cleanliness (18:28) ironic?
Concerned about ritual uncleanness but are getting their hands/hearts very filthy indeed.
Passover itself is about to be made redundant by slaughter of true Passover Lamb which they are in process of engineering.

Guilt of Pilate
Q: How does Pilate react to Jesus' claims?

Nonchalance, then some fear (but not enough to overcome his fear of Caesar) (18:38, 19:8-13).

Guilty parties
Q: Even though Jesus seems to be on trial, it is actually his accusers and Pilate that are on trial. How so?
18:37 presents all with a choice.

Q: In this scene, who are the guilty parties?
Pilate, accusers, who put to death an innocent man. Perversion of justice.
Pilate, accusers, who reject their real king.

[Q: When will they be judged?
Not in this world (but one assumes in the next where Jesus is king).]

Q: Even though Jesus' kingdom is in the next world, how do we know that he/God is in control even in this world?
18:32, 12:32-33

Q: The choice presented to us then is stark. We are either on the side of the false accusers and perverters of truth (of which the postmodern passiveness of Pilate is complicit) or we can choose to acknowledge Jesus as king. Just as the chief priests, the officers and the rest of those who were meant to be God's people could not see that Jesus was king in their time, because his servants did not fight for him in the present, so it is not explicitly obvious to us that Jesus rules. How do we know that he is king? How do we choose to listen to Jesus' voice now?

Q: History tends to depict the leaders of the Jews as the baddies. Yet, perhaps one could argue as one says of many of one's compatriots in church that "they had a good heart". After all, they were trying to protect their nation. What was the tragedy? How can we avoid the same fate for ourselves and our friends?

"Just Looking" Studies
Just Looking Study 1 (John 20:30-31, John 1:1-18)
Just Looking Study 2 (John 3:1-21)
Just Looking Study 3 (John 4:1-30) - from-a-Christian-family version
Just Looking Study 4 (John 5:1-29)
Just Looking Study 5 (John 11:1-57)
Just Looking Study 6 (John 18:28-19:16a)
Just Looking Study 7 (John 19:16b-42)
Just Looking Study 8 (John 20)

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