Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. (Luke 23:1)
“The whole company” would include high priest, chief priests, scribes, and the elders of the people. They’ve heard Jesus incriminate himself, that is, he didn’t deny being the Christ and the Son of God. Such claims are capital offenses in their eyes. So they drag Jesus to Pilate the Roman governor.
Suddenly, Jesus’ fate is in the hands of the secular world. That might not be a bad thing, now that we’ve seen how ruthless the religious leaders can be. Maybe Jesus will finally get some justice!
We know that’s not going to happen. We know how this turns out. The religious elite will find a way to use Roman authority to get what they want: the death of Jesus.
I’ve heard some stories about congregational meetings that took place before I was pastor of my current church. At one of those meetings, those on each side of an issue became to argumentative that someone called the sheriff’s department to break things up. I know, I also thought, “Really?” I don’t know what they were fighting about, but someone got their way. And the local authorities helped.
At one point, when we were going to put a new church sign out front, an option was a lit sign on which we could put messages. Someone who didn’t want that kind of sign poured over the zoning laws until they found a provision that said we couldn’t have one. We put up a different kind of sign. Meanwhile the church next door got a variance and put up a lit sign. Once again the local authorities were a great help.
Isn’t it interesting how we’re willing to overlook the separation of church and state when we can use the state to our advantage? By the same token, those running for office will seek the endorsement of religious organizations. Yep, there’s nothing new under the sun.
I’ll admit, it’s tempting to call code enforcement rather than walking across the street to talk to my neighbor about his lawn. It’s tempting to inflate my church contributions to reduce my income taxes. Wearing a clerical collar could get me out of a speeding ticket, right? If we let the city use our facility as a polling place, we might just get that building permit we need. I’ve volunteered for Good News Club (after school bible instruction) in our local elementary school. The Supreme Court of the United States said we could do that.
That’s all they were doing. Just getting it done.
Lord, have mercy on me, the government, and the church. We need it. Amen.