Wednesday, March 27, 2013
PILATE by Tony Manley
Continuing on the journey of Jesus’ final week...Pilate comes into play as a major figure in the last hours of Jesus’ life. Pilate is the judge who sentenced Jesus to be crucified. Incredibly, it is revealed in scripture he doesn’t believe that the charges brought to him about Jesus by the Jewish religious leaders are true. So my question is, “How do you condemn a man you believe to be innocent to a death by crucifixion when you hold the power to release Him?”
There is much written about Pilate’s background. He evidently hated Jews and probably wasn’t thrilled with being in Jerusalem during the Passover. But he needed to be present with his soldiers in case of trouble, and he may have been under investigation by his authorities for possible harsh treatment of Jews in his past. Knowing how Jews weren’t his favorite people group helped me to think it was easy for him to see just another Jew lawbreaker put to death. But there is more to this story and this man.
Pilate is much like a lot of people. Pressure can make a person do things that are questionable. Stress, weariness, and resentment work the same way. When people and/or circumstances demand a decision, the heart can surprise us. Good and bad surprises. Pilate tried hard to get out of this whole Jewish thing. He sent Jesus to Herod, he had Jesus scourged and presented Him as a bloody mess when the murderer Barabbas was offered freedom (hoping they would back off when faced with this broken man and a notorious murderer), and he even listened to the heart of his wife. But the pressure from the Jewish religious leaders was just too much and with the escalation of the Jewish people’s emotions, Pilate basically caved in and washed his hands of the whole thing.
I have to admit, Pilate has bothered me. He has shown me how weak my heart can be under pressure and loudness. Pilate could have stood strong and been at peace with himself by ruling on the truth of the charges. Some scholars believe his career and life went downhill terribly in the years after this Passover. He possibly committed suicide. Makes me wonder how his heart handled the hours after his handwashing of Jesus.
God uses different people and circumstances to teach me truth. Pilate asked, “What is truth?” to the Truth. What a great question for me daily. Pilate did not even recognize Truth while He stood before him.
I must live confidently in the Truth daily as I am pressured to compromise what I know and who I know is Truth.