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Kevin wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • I was wondering why was it tradition at Passover to release a criminal sentenced to die?
  • Also, we know Jesus Christ is the Messiah, but how do the Jews and Muslims view Him?

Thank you for your time.


  { Why was this the tradition during the Jewish Passover and how do Jews and Muslims view Jesus? }

Mike replied:

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the question.

Besides searching our knowledge base, you may also want to try the New Advent web site for Catholic questions and Wikipedia for other general questions.

You said:

  • I was wondering why was it tradition at Passover to release a criminal sentenced to die?
  • Also, we know Jesus Christ is the Messiah, but how do the Jews and Muslims view Him?

I can only guess at why this was a tradition. Maybe one of my colleagues know.

As to your second question. This should help a lot:


John replied:

Hi, Kevin —

The Romans ultimately wanted to assimilate the areas they conquered. That being the case, they would make some gestures to the locals to show them they respected their customs.

For the most part, Rome was a pretty good Empire. They build schools, roads, public facilities, aqueducts, and often times granted citizenship to those who swore allegiance to them. I'm not saying they weren't repressive but, for the times, they were a huge improvement. In fact, the Romans helped the Jews get rid of the Greeks who were a complete anathema.

Rome wanted peace and tranquility in the what they considered the provinces. Rome even allowed the practice of Judaism within the empire.

Israel, couldn't accept incorporation into Rome because they were called by God to be separate from the nations — not just independent, but different. Being a nation was as much part of their faith as Temple worship. Therefore being conquered was a sign of being cursed. Read all of Deuteronomy 28 and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

So Israel was a real thorn in the side of the Rome. That said, Rome used both the carrot and the stick. The stick, of course, included things like crucifixion but the carrot, included customs like freeing a prisoner during Passover. It was a way that Rome could show respect for the Passover. After all, it is the celebration of the Hebrews being liberated from bondage in Egypt, hence, freeing a prisoner on Passover, had a certain symbolic meaning for the Jews.


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