"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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John 19:1-16a Commentary
by Craig A. Satterlee
Jesus gets enthroned. Everyone else condemns himself or herself. Let us count the ways we do!
Pilate gives the crowds -- and us -- a choice. Who does Pilate release -- Jesus, the king of the Jews, in whom Pilate finds no guilt or Barabbas, a violent revolutionary? Jesus’ accusers ask for Barabbas. They choose violence as their king. In the language of this gospel: “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). We condemn Jesus -- and ourselves when we choose other -- seemingly more powerful, pragmatic, and expedient -- kings. The preacher might dare to name some of them.
But Pilate is not ready to condemn Jesus to death. Instead, Pilate has Jesus flogged (John 19:1). In the process of torturing Jesus, the soldiers ironically coronate him king. They crown Jesus with thorns and dress him in a purple robe. Then the soldiers mockingly but truthfully hail Jesus as “the king of the Jews” (19:3). Jesus is crowned, clothed, and proclaimed ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 124: Jesus Condemned
April 06, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the text for April 6, 2014: John 19:1-16a. Accompanying reading: Psalm 146.