Pilate the Peacekeeper

“You won’t talk to me?” Pilate demanded. ”Don’t you realize I have the power to release you or to crucify you?”

Such confusion! Such inner turmoil! How I pity Pilate in his predicament – wanting an easy way to do what was difficult, but knowing no such path existed. He wanted Jesus to be merciful of him in his situation where, in his mind, he was bound at the wrists. Jesus did in fact speak words of grace to Pilate, but He let Pilate alone decide his course of action. From the text in the Book of John and the details of Pilate’s conversation with Jesus, Pilate was obviously looking for any way out besides crucifying Jesus. Something in his mind or heart was nagging at him, assuring him that this man was not deserving of death and that the whole mob uprising was a big mess having nothing to do with Jesus’ wrong doing.

Pilate certainly put forth good effort to sway the crowd, but it was not enough to dissuade them from their mission to crucify the One who claimed to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

“You crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” Or as recorded in Matthew 27:24, “Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

The sinful part of me wants to applaud Pilate’s valiant efforts to stand up for Jesus and validate his attempts to clear himself of blame. However, Pilate’s example is very different from that of Peter or Paul or Stephen in the New Testament chronicles. Later in Acts we read how other men of true faith boldly proclaimed who Christ was and is without fear of the consequences. They faced the very same fate and fears as Pilate (death, uprising, violence, damage to self/family/position/property, etc.) and did not count the cross shame.

Note these words of Paul to his mentee, Timothy:

So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner.  Instead, join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.  2 Timothy 1:8

And consider these words of Jesus to His disciples:

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26

As we see in the case of Peter, Jesus offers grace to the one who has wilted under pressure and denied any association with Christ; however, with a restored relationship comes a renewed calling. Jesus Himself said feathers would be ruffled because of His claims to be the Son of God with all authority to forgive sins (Matthew 10:34 and Matthew 9:6).  Like in the case of Pilate, it can be convenient to let someone else carry the cross while we ourselves stand silently to the side possibly ensuring peace, but gaining nothing if we forfeit our souls.

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

 

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