Pontius Pilate

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  • Topic: Josephus, Pontius Pilate, Jesus
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Pontius Pilate

In this paper I will be making the case that Pontius Pilates crucifying of Jesus was not only a political move but also an act to dominate the generally not so compliant Jewish populace of Judea. This act of domination was a Roman tactic used throughout their stay in the region and to Pontius Pilate, Jesus was a mere stepping stone on his way to complete subjugation of the indigenous peoples and to stronger alliances with the Jewish aristocracy and Herod Antipas.

Pontius Pilate arrived in Judea in 26 A.D. (Maier,1) inheriting the title “Prefect” which would later be changed to “Procurator”. Upon his arrival in Judea there was obviously much room to be made for Roman leadership, in between the Jewish aristocracy (Temple Priests and others). But one man seeks to undermine Roman, Jewish, and essentially all earthly laws; and he is commanding a following which will soon consume all of Rome. Jesus Christ would make many enemies on his trip to Judea from Galilee which was notorious at the time for producing trouble makers; the word Galilean was synonymous with trouble maker. On his entrance into to the city of Jerusalem he rode a donkey which fulfills an Old Testament prophecy saying that the king of kings would come riding in on a donkey(Zeckariah 9:9). He also went around telling folks that their sins could be cleansed by praying to god anywhere, in a way Jesus was acting as if he was the church and sought to have people gather around him so they could hold service anywhere. The Temple priests and other Jewish aristocrats found Jesus to be draining their influence, If people were not going to temple, there is no way Priests could make any coin or hold any influence. This of course was not the biggest transgression made, on the same day that Jesus rode in to Jerusalem he went to the temple complex and disrupted all the sales and drove out the patrons and money handlers claiming that his house of prayer had been converted in to a “den of thieves”. (Mathew, 21:12-13) Unfortunately for Jesus these were done within eye and ear shot of the Roman army whose garrison was overflowing with Roman reinforcements because Pontius Pilate would always bring extra troops to handle the crowds brought to Jerusalem by the Feast.

This was of course so damning for Christ because the Roman army is fiercely trying to remain in control in the region and you cannot be in control if you do not appear in control. That being said how powerful would the Roman army look if one Jew running around claiming his dad is God, clearing out market places calling the exchange of goods to be that of thievery, all while quickly developing a following under the title “King of the Jews”. (Mathew 21:13) Not only is he subverting Roman authority at this point he is interfering with economic exchanges which are surely crucial to the strengthening of the Temple Priests power and as well in the interest of Rome (for the sake of developing a strong economy that can be taxed). Also Jesus was very well at odds with the polytheistic system that Rome had instated, this would be particularly close to home for Pontius Pilate because he was high priest. Rome had many uneasy alliances in the region including the Jewish Priests and Herod Antipas who at this point had an uneasy relationship with Pontius Pilate. Since Pontius Pilate was only befriending the Temple priests in order to control the Jewish populations then it is totally understandable why Jesus making an attempt to draw people away from Orthodox Judaism would mean Rome would have to interfere. But Rome had dealt with many trouble makers before. Anthronges the Shepard and Simeon of Peraea in 4 BC, Judas the Galilean in 6 AD, and John the Baptist in 28 AD. Rome and her allies have a history of executing anyone who seeks to shift the balance of power this is why I believe Jesus would not of been a very special case. As a matter of fact I would not hesitate to say that Pontius Pilate very well thought...
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