Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pilate's Many Messiahs

Pastor has been talking the last couple of years about how there were messiah-figures all over the place in Palestine during Jesus' life. What I couldn't figure out, though, was why the Sanhedrin cared so much about the one. Pastor cleared that up on Sunday.

The Sanhedrin didn't necessarily disagree with the other messiahs who were revolutionaries and wanted political power and earthly kingdoms. The Sanhedrin wanted to preserve their own political authority, but weren't too upset when some Jew threatened Rome's authority.

Jesus was different. He preached a message of grace and forgiveness that the Sanhedrin couldn't stand; they believed in merit. Besides, the Romans had been eliminating all the rabble-rousing messiah-dudes. The Romans didn't have to do that with Jesus; He wasn't a threat to their authority; He didn't intend to set up an earthly kingdom.

And that's why the Sanhedrin had to step in. They wanted this guy shut up. And the Romans had no desire to take Him out. So the Sanhedrin had to force Pilate into a position where he had to eliminate even the one Messiah who was no threat to him.

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