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A Tale of Two Basins

Will we choose the basin of service or the basin of power, we can only choose one.

The entire story of Holy Week can be told with two basins. And maybe the entire story of your life, and my life, can be told with two basins.

Here is that tale.

It was still dark, the sunrise barely visible in the Eastern sky, as Pilate walked across the pavement to the double-arched gateway. Accompanied, as always, by two soldiers. The red, imperial plumes on their helmets bobbing a little as they walked.

Pilate resented being summoned for any meeting at 6am. The high priest had said it was an emergency. But “To the Jews,” he muttered to himself, “everything is an emergency.”

If there was one thing Pilate had learned in his three years as governor of this backwater province, it’s that Jews are fierce about their religion. They cannot be reasoned with.

Pilate resented that he had to be here at all. “I could be at my palace on the Mediterranean coast,” he thought, picturing those shimmering blue waters. “But at Passover, you can almost plan on some crazy religious riot starting. Better to be here.”

Almost to reassure himself, he looked up at the four giant columns, each one 14 stories high, surrounding him. Here in this fortress called Antonia, 600 soldiers stood on duty at all times, to make sure no Jew got any ideas of becoming independent again.

Pilate kept under lock and key the ceremonial robes of the Jewish High Priest. He didn’t want a would-be messiah to don that deep blue robe, with its fringe of gold bells, and declare a religious state.

Still, at Passover, the robe was released for the High Priest’s use. If trouble was going to start, it would be right now.

A crowd was filling the gateway as Pilate got there. He saw the high priest, members of the Great Sanhedrin, ...

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Kevin Miller is pastor of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois,

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