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WHY DID PILATE KILL JESUS?

by Rob, Katie, Matt, Flo & Hettie

RELIGIOUS FACTORS .

Pilate had crucified Jesus because he didn‟t have that much choice: instead he did it to appease the Jewish leaders and keep the peace – even if it meant crucifying an innocent man. FRAGILITY This is directly linked to Pilate: he was “in power”. The religious authorities had to be seen to be doing their bit. whilst the political authorities wanted the religious authorities to do their bidding. but he needed the support of the influential Jewish leaders. . Consequently. he needed to listen and act upon the whims of the religious authorities in order to stay in their favour.In Jesus‟s time there was a fragile relationship between religious and political authorities in the Holy Land.

When reprimanded by the ruler of the synagogue for healing „a woman who had a disabling spirit‟ on the Sabbath he responds „You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it?‟ Incidents such as this cause the rulers to question the exiting Jewish law. . which could cause a loss of authoritative power for the religious leaders. They were therefore „urgent‟ to get rid of Jesus so they could uphold the existing system without being doubted.LAW The religious authorities wanted to crucify Jesus due to the tension his teachings were creating in relation to Jewish law. Jesus‟ teachings were often the subject of rabbinic debate – his teachings on the Sabbath is a good example of this.

and to release Jesus despite his violation of them would probably result in a revolt. attempting to catch him out. Pilate knew that the traditionalist Jews felt very strongly about their religious law. Jesus quick-wittedly avoided answering whether or not he was „King of the Jews‟. often turning questions back on his interrogators. he therefore had no choice but to allow him to be crucified.g: his interpretation of Sabbath law) There were further antagonised by Jesus‟s clever answers to their questions. AUTHORITY . and his pragmatic approach to scripture (e.The Jewish people were becoming increasingly agitated by Jesus suggesting that he knew religious laws better than they did.

. followed by Jesus. Jesus was popular even in the crowd that gathered when he publicly trialled Jesus.POPULARITY The religious authorities were becoming increasingly concerned about the rising popularity of charismatic leaders such as John the Baptist. the pressure of the Jewish authorities (as a result of their anxiety towards his popularity) ultimately left him no choice but to give in to their demands and allow Jesus‟s execution. however. Towards the end of his life Jesus was regularly gathering large crowds to his sermons and making a name for himself. which also concerned the authorities.

POLITICAL FACTORS .

FRAGILITY A similar situation affected the political authorities. . whilst the political authorities wanted the religious authorities to do their bidding. This is directly linked to Pilate: he had power. but needed the support of the Jewish leaders. The religious authorities had to be seen to be doing their bit. Pilate crucified Jesus because he didn‟t have that much choice: he did it to appease the Jewish leaders and keep the peace – even if it meant crucifying an innocent man… the lesser of two evils. he needed to listen and act upon the whims of the religious authorities in order to stay in their favour. Consequently.

it was important to confirm the identity of Jesus so they knew what they were facing. Jesus was questioned with regards to who and what he was during the trial scenes. but answered rather elusively.In terms of the political authorities. From this we can assume that Pilate did not see Jesus and his followers as a real threat to the existing political authorities. ‘You have said so’: he never gives a conclusive answer. since Jesus’ followers were not rounded up and executed. . For example when asked ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ he responds. The fact that Jesus ‘was known to have reached out to those who were outsiders because they had lived immoral lives’ would have caused the political authorities to wonder why he kept such ‘bad company’. Was he rounding up the outsiders for some sort of political revolt? IDENTITY Luke would say this was not the case.

his followers would have been rounded up and executed along with him. however.THREAT Jesus posed little political threat to the Romans. failure to do so would likely have resulted in his removal from office. according to Pilate‟s actions: if he had been viewed as a serious threat. Jesus was. . who he did not believe to be the son of God. but ultimately was not willing to risk his own life and career for the sake of a single prisoner. Pilate was therefore forced into crucifying Jesus to preserve the fragile relationship between the Romans and the Jewish authority. seen by the Jews as heretic. This is why Pilate twice protested Jesus‟s innocence. a bigger threat to the Jewish religious authorities because of his growing public support.

Jesus‟s claims that he was the son of God. Jesus was also the perfect example of someone who rebelled against religious and political laws in society. or „troublemaker‟. threatened to undermine the established powers. increasing the likelihood that he would be persecuted. .REPRESENTATION The issue the Romans had was not necessarily with Jesus. in particular the Jews. rather with the type of person that he represented: an anti-authoritarian political insurgent. along with his teachings. who wanted him „out of the picture‟.