"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Jesus and Pilate
John 18:28-40 Commentary
by Meda Stamper
The narrative lectionary gives us two weeks to consider Jesus’ interaction with Pilate in John 18:28-19:16a.
This is the climactic moment in a trial motif that spans the Gospel, beginning with God’s Word spoken into being as light in the world and the testimony of the first witness, John, and moving into the future with the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, inspiring Jesus’ followers as they also testify.
The text for this week is dominated by the dialogue at its center and the question “What is truth?”
The trial before Pilate, longer in John than in the Synoptics, comprises seven scenes. The first three, which make up this week’s text, begin outside the praetorium, where the religious authorities, who have brought Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate, are waiting outside in order to avoid ritual defilement; in John both the Sabbath and the Passover will begin on this night.
Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin want Jesus dead (John 11:47-53) but, having failed in their repeated attempts to stone him, need Pilate to do their dirty work for them. While they may remain outside, like ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL310: Jesus and Pilate
March 11, 2018
This is the podcast on John 18:28-40, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Mar. 11, 2018, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Karoline Lewis. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.