Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion – Series C
Our world and we ourselves are so befuddled about Jesus. Recently we have been told to start saying that this year is 2022 “CE” instead of “AD.” The years before Jesus are now BCE. The CE stands for “common era.” The world would expunge the Lord from his place. I am not suggesting that we make a huge deal of this, but I find it rather funny. For all their semantic nonsense, Jesus still occupies that pivot point. The years are still numbered before and after his birth, however sloppily the initial reckoning was made. The academic world imagines it can reckon the years without Jesus, but he is still there, no matter what they say. We count from his birth. Every time we write a date in our checkbook or on a form, we give Him that place, whether we want to or not.
Pilate asks if Jesus is the king. We ask that same question, but not only of the Jews but of us all. Jesus’ response is cryptic. “You have said so.” Yet, Jesus’ response is genius. Pilate in condemning him to death, in bowing to the pressure of the crowds outside his palace and the political operatives on his front steps, has made Jesus the king whom he fears. They have dressed him in a purple robe, they have put a crown upon his head, and put him on a throne. They thought to mock him, but Jesus commands today the allegiance of fully a third of humanity, the largest institution the world has ever seen. People see the mocked and crucified Jesus and they bow, praise, and honor. Because Pilate put him there. He did say so.