Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?"
The classic religious rock operaJesus Christ Superstar, continues to be performed on stages around the country. During Holy Week many of us find ourselves putting on the album or humming some of the music. What has always struck me is the portrayal of Pontius Pilate. The actor who created the original album role went on to portray Pilate on Broadway and on film.
Pilate is interested–for his own reasons–in the accusation that Jesus claims to be King of the Jews. There is a peculiar intimacy in the scene–captured well, I think–in the musical. Pilate can relate to the concept of kingship. He’s a politician, and understands power and position. He presses his questions, even as he misunderstands Jesus’ true kingship. For a brief instant, Pilate even seems interested in “truth.”
But in the end he falls back into his own limited notions of earthly power, and does what is expected of him as a functionary in the Roman system of government.
With dramatic irony, however, the scene in John’sGospelhighlights a very different kind of kingship. Jesus stands before the world, testifying to the truth. He has come to reveal the truth about God, and invites us into his reign–which is not of this world. Rather it is a relationship, one in which we receive the very life of God.
In the first reading, Daniel speaks of seeing one coming, like a Son of man. Who does this Son of Man represent? Where does he appear and what does he receive from the Ancient One?
This week's second reading states that Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. How is he described? When he appears, where will it be and who will see him? What does it mean when he says: “I am the Alpha and Omega?”
What is Pilate’s first question of Jesus in the Gospel? Does Jesus answer him or does he ask Pilate a question? Jesus says his kingdom is not of this world. What does that mean? Do you think that Pilate sees the point that Jesus is really a king?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
This week's readings speak quite a bit about Jesus' as a king. What do you think Jesus looked like based on the readings? Draw it out and then explain to your family why you drew it the way you did.
If you had royalty come to your house, what would you serve them for dinner? Help your parents plan a fancy dinner worthy of a king or queen. Spend time at dinner discussing the questions above.