The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Powerless Pilate?

A study of Matthew's Roman governor of Judea reveals another portrait

You've heard the usual spin on Pilate: He knows Jesus is innocent. As a politician, the Roman governor of Judea doesn't want to be involved in a petty Jewish religious dispute. But he's too spineless to stand up to the Jerusalem leaders. So he reluctantly crucifies Jesus. Jesus' death is the Jews' fault.

Such a reading has functioned for centuries, tragically, to feed anti-Jewish sentiments and actions. But five factors suggest that this is an inadequate understanding of the Pilate scene in Matthew's Gospel.

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March issue

MARCH issue:

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