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November 21, 1997     The Message
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14 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jesus before Pilate:,A.king on trial By FATHER DONALD DILGER Columnist Gospel Commentary for Novem- ber 23, 1997: Thirty-Fourth Sun- day:Ordinary Time: Cycle B: Feast of Christ th e King: John 18:33B-37 Ahvays aware of that the authors of our gospels were writing theology rather than history, we can nev- ertheless glean some historical facts from the gospels. Jesus was obviously executed by the Roman authority occupying Palestine before, during, and after Jesus" time. He had offended some of the power brokers in the religious and political establishment of the Jews of his time. He had a large popular following just as John the Baptist had before him. A dangerous precedent was set when Herod Antipas had John executed to prevent, as a contemporary historian Flavius Josephus wrote, any popular uprising by John's followers. Since the Jewish authorities were limited by the Romans from inflicting capital punishment, once they got Jesus separated from the thousands of Jews who venerated him as a prophet, they could deliver him to the Roman authorities. What more convenient accusation to bring about their plan to be rid of Jesus than to accuse him of rebellion against Roman authority as a rebel king.. Jesus was one of several Jewish leaders executed by the Romans in the first century for that reason. Beginning with the historical fact that Jesus was executed as a rebel chieftain or king, Christian theolo- gians wove a wondrous theological tapestry in their attempt to explain Jesus" rightful place among his own people, among all peoples, and in the universe. Some of those Christian theologians became authors whose literary work was eventually recognized by the Christian community as a vehicle of revelation. It is ironic and one of the many paradoxes of Christiani- ty that what was intended as mockery and taunting of the Jewish people by the Roman authorities, "Jesus o/Nazareth, King of the Jews," was used by God as a point of revelation through its theological develop- ment by Paul, by the authors of our gospels, and by other New Testament books and letters. All four gospels begin the Roman trial of Jesus with Pilate's question, "Are you the king of the Jews?' In Mark, Matthew, and Luke the two-word answer of Jesus implies that the answer is affirmative. The Gospel of John is unique in that Jesus and Pilate dia- logue and Pilate comes up short. John seems to intend turning the tables on Pilate, so that Pilate becomes the one put on trial by King Jesus. But John has had a lot to say about Jesus' kingship during the approximately three-year public ministry of Jesus. He begins in 1:47-49 in a dialogue between Jesus and Nathanael, just called to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus says to Nathanael, "Behold, a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" But why is he a TRUE Israelite? John tells us. In response to an amazing statement of Jesus, Nathanael says, "You are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!" Both were titles of kingship among the Israelites/Jews. In a coronation psalm God speaks these words to the newly chosen king, ",You are my son. Today I have become your Father." John proclaims that any Israelite who recognizes Jesus as king is a TRUE Israelite in whom there is no deceit! He is king of his own people. In chapter six John examines Jesus' kingship more closely. The closer examination of Jesus' king- ship is connected with the feeding of 5,000 people in the wilderness. The people respond by attempting to seize Jesus and make him their king. Jesus will have none of their intended political leadership or king- ship. He flees into the hills. Then John goes into a long sermon describing Jesus' kingship in a veiled way. Jesus comes down from the hills. He walks on the sea and calms wind and sea, attributes of God alone in Job 9:8; Psalm 89:9; 95:5. Thus Jesus is pro- claimed by John as king of the created universe! John does not stop at this point. He must give greater form to Jesus' kingship of his own people. The discourse that follows describes Jesus' kingship of his people in terms of God their king feeding his Exodus with the Torah, the word of God, the manna was only a symbol. Jesus, in weh, now feeds his people with God's ing words, with himself as the Eucharist. In chapter 12 political [ more when the multitudes of J king of Israel. Jesus rides farm animal to recall Zechariah 9:9 to yott.., humble and riding on an ass, foal of an ass." That king is described rejecting war and its implements, that he peace to the Gentiles, that his the ends of the earth." Thus John proclaims king of all nations. This is confirmed whert J "When I am lifted up from the earth, people to myselL" The discussion with Pilate much in charge of the Roman authority, er Roman authority can do to him is permission. His kingship is not of this king of truth, a theme that John picks up from chapter six noted above. There is sion about the publication of the reason nation. The Jewish authorities who want the notice to read, "This man SAID I the Jews," not "King of the Jews." This ology speaking now. The Roman "What I have written, I have written," saying that even Romans recognize Jesus. The last point is made at Jesus' mus, assisting Joseph of Arimathea pounds of ointments and spices of Jesus, an amount fit only for a king. pares this royal burial? The ultimate irony members of the Sanhedrin, some of whose brought about the execution of Jesus. All society proclaim Jesus King! Readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation Golden Jubllartans Chester and Bemadine (Kaiser) Crock of Boonville wil[celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary Nov. 29 at SL Clement Church, Boonville. An Open House for friends and relatives will beheld at I p.m., followed by a dance at 3 p.m. in the school social hall. All friends and relatives are welcome. The couple requests no Sifts. They were married Nov. 29, 1947, at St. Johns Rectory in Vincennes. They are the parents of two children: Carolyn Elikofer and Kenneth Crock, both of B0onville.They have three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Mr. Crock retired as a truck driver from Bri88s Trucking Company after 28 years. Mrs. Crock is employed by Bradley's Colonial Chapel in Boonville. Golden Jubilarions Charles and Mary Virginia (Bretz) Miller of Evansville will cel- ebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary Nov. 29. They were mar- fled Nov. 27,1947, at St. Joseph Church, Evansville. They are the parents of four children: Sharon Carter, Mary Rasler, Janet Romig and Carol Buckman, all of Evansville. They have nine grand- children, and one great-grandchild. Mr. Miller was a U.S. postal carrier; he is now an employee of Hertz. Mrs. Miller is a self- employed childcare provider. ii iiii i ill i i iiii RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY i iii i l JASPER 482-1200 [ i i. i i Main Ph 217 E. Main St., Downtowni Phone: any day "Over 50-Semi 36" coy. #1 white from (13 colors #2 metal ....... #3 metal ....... $18.95 to I 5V and 1-1/2"galv. In OVERHEAD Over 9 x 7 Insulated.. Any size up to POST Any Size -- Call for Fre DAVIESS CO. METAL Hwy. 50 E., 4rni. E.