The Trial

The Trial assumes (as did The Tenants and the Vineyard) that the congregation has already met Ezra, Obed and Nathan in their Galilean probing of Jesus. Now Jesus is on trial before Pilate, and Nathan is troubled by the conduct of the trial and the charges from the Jewish Council. For Ezra and Obed, however, Jesus deserves death under Jewish law, but the charges have to ensure that the Roman authorities will exact the death penalty. So they join in stirring up the crowd to ask for Barabbas.

Ezra, Obed and Nathan are three Pharisees from Galilee. They have come to Jerusalem for the annual Passover. This Passover is different, however - the Teacher, Jesus, is in town. They have been watching Jesus for some time. Now they join the crowd that gathers before Pilate, the Roman governor.
Reader:Luke 23.13-16.
EZRA:Pilate is a nasty customer.
NATHAN:You're right, Ezra! He should never order the whipping of someone he regards as innocent!
OBED:But don't forget, Nathan - Jesus does deserve death! The whipping he has received doesn't compare with what he really ought to get!
EZRA:Pilate is a nasty customer, Obed. We'll get him around to what we want - but it'll be messy!
NATHAN:I thought the charges from our Council were a bit ambiguous. After all, Jesus doesn't look like a political revolutionary - Pilate didn't take long to see through that!
EZRA:That's why I said it would be messy! We have our reasons for wanting the death of Jesus. Pilate has to have some reasons acceptable to the Romans.
OBED:Not quite as susceptible to pressure as we've found him in the past!
NATHAN:But the only question from our side is his claim to be the Messiah - and I can't recall him ever making the claim.
EZRA:Didn't come clean on it before the Council, though.
OBED:Reportedly he acknowledged the claim to be Son of God!
EZRA:Oh no!!! We must stir up the crowd against him. Get them to ask for Barabbas!
NATHAN:Barabbas?! You're not serious, surely!
Reader:Luke 23.18-25.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, © Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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