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I realize Passion week was officially over last Sunday, but I want to revisit one of the key texts in the crucifixion narratives with you tonight. We naturally set Easter Sunday aside for a celebration of the resurrection (not the crucifixion) and on Easter I prefer to preach on themes like resurrection, eternal life, and the glory of Christ's triumph over death.
But Easter week always prompts me to re-read the crucifixion narratives, and there are a lot of important parts of the biblical accounts of Christ's trials and humiliation that don't seem quite suitable for a celebration of the resurrection. I'm thinking of things like Judas's betrayal, and Pilate's dithering cowardice, and the Herod-Pilate connection. There are many details I'm reminded of and fascinated by every year during the week leading up to Easter, but details like that don't really seem suitable to be the focus of an Easter sermon.
So this year, while the Passion narratives are still fresh in our minds I want to look with you at one of the key events in Jesus' trial before Pilate. So turn with me, if you will, to Matthew 27:15-26...