Delivered at Ames UCC
on March 11, 2018
©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie
Sermons are written to be heard, rather than read. Please join us for worship on Sunday mornings
at 10:30 a.m.
Today I’m going to frame my time as six frequently asked questions about this portion of Jesus’s story, concluding with a seventh, a Sabbath of reflection.
One: Why was Jesus arrested? Because of his growing movement, which became particularly visible on what we now call Palm Sunday.
Two: Why would local Jewish authorities want to squelch a movement that offers hope to their own nation under foreign occupation? Maybe because they are afraid. Maybe because what Jesus did felt heretical in some way. Maybe because they don’t want to lose the little bit of power and material comfort they have achieved under than occupation.
Three: Why have so many of us been taught that it was all Jewish people in Jerusalem who wanted Jesus dead, when John makes it clear it was just a small group of authorities? Because of the gospel of Matthew. In Matthew, the common people call for execution and it is the priests who try to protect Jesus; this is the opposite of John.
Four: Why do the local Jewish authorities bring the regional Roman authority into the mess? Because under Roman rule the local Jewish authorities could not impose the death sentence themselves.1
Five: What is all the king talk about?