Saturday, October 19, 2013

Den Of Lions (part 7)

Both Darius and Pilate share a common approbation within the Scriptural narrative, in that they diligently sought for a way to release the men whose lives and fates were placed in their power, with both unable to find good reason why the accused should be sent to their deaths.  As was said, their efforts ultimately proved to be futile.  After Darius failed to stumble upon a reasonable solution, the presumed jealousy and bloodlust of Daniel’s adversaries made itself manifest, as “those men came by collusion to the king and said to him, ‘Recall, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.’” (Daniel 6:15)  Yet again, the congruence of this event with that which was experienced by Jesus is striking. 

Bearing in mind the accusation of ignoring the king and his edicts that had been effectively leveled against both Daniel and Jesus (by their respective accusers), and therefore the creation of a dynamic which has both Daniel and Jesus positioning themselves as somehow not subject to the rule and authority of the king, the observer can turn to Matthew’s record of the encounter between ruler and ruled and find Pilate ironically asking Jesus “Are you the king of the Jews?” (27:11b) 

If Jesus was to answer in an obvious affirmative, then Pilate would have then had an undeniable (and for Pilate’s purposes, unfortunate) reason to send Him to His death as a rebellious subject that had brought the punishment for sedition and treason upon Himself.  A “yes” would mean that Jesus was challenging the legitimate rule of Rome, which, combined with the fact of the crowds and the accusations themselves, would have been highly charged rhetoric in the Israel of Jesus’ day, and it would have demanded a crucifixion-shaped response. 

Thinking of Darius’ situation and the words of “Recall, O king…” in reference to his laws, can these men be heard basically asking Darius, albeit with great subtlety, “So are you king or are you not the king”?  Pilate, of course, stands as proxy for Rome and for the Caesar, and the question he puts to Jesus is stirred by those seeking to put Jesus to death.  Without their efforts, it is unlikely that Jesus would have caught the attention of the governor.  For all practical purposes, as the stories of Daniel and Jesus are compared (and it is difficult to overstate how much influence the Daniel narrative had in that day) Jesus’ enemies have come to Pilate, who is the representative of the power of Rome, and said “Recall, O king, that it is a law that anyone who claims kingship, in defiance of Caesar, must be handed over to death.” 

To Pilate’s query, Jesus responded, “You say so” (27:11c).  This was not Jesus simply being evasive.  Rather, this stands as an affirmation, as this was a common way of saying “yes.”  Normally, this would have been sufficient to warrant crucifixion, but under normal circumstances a man would not be standing before Pilate, with such vehement accusations being flung against him, without some type of revolutionary, blood-shedding event precipitating the encounter.  Not only would the accused be on trial before Pilate, but there would more than likely be dead Roman soldiers and wounded citizens, along with dead followers of the one on trial, with more of his followers also in custody and waiting to learn the fate of their leader whose fate they would share.  

No comments:

Post a Comment