2021 blog series: exploring the stories of men and women in the New Testament
This man is a mystery to me. He is in the position to administer justice. He insists several times that JESUS is innocent. “I find no fault in Him.” (John 19:4) He even posts the truth about JESUS above His head on the cross, that He is the King.
Yet Pilate displays seemingly heartless callousness in allowing JESUS to be brutalized by the soldiers and handed over to endure a horrifying death that he, himself, believes is not justified.
How could he do those things? How could he have no compassion, no sense of true justice? How could he so willfully condemn someone to endure such cruelty? How could he be so indifferent to cutting a life short for no apparent reason?
Scripture only gives us one clue. It appears that Pilate was more concerned about pleasing other people, about wielding the political power of his position, than standing for what was right. He even chose to ignore his wife’s urgent pleas to “have nothing to do with this just Man!” He seemed irrecoverably swayed by shouts from the crowd that if he defended JESUS, he would no longer be friends with Caesar.
The LORD knew long ago what would transpire in that mock trial. JESUS willingly submitted to the path that would lead to the cross. Although Pilate never seemed to acknowledge it, the LORD JESUS stood confident in knowing the Father was always in sovereign control. His death was the eternal plan of redemption for us and He willingly stepped forward in obedience to the Father and love for us, to endure whatever was necessary to secure our salvation!
We are not told the end of Pilate’s story. I want to believe that outside of the intensity of the moments surrounding JESUS’ trial and crucifixion, and possibly with further urging from his wife, Pilate may have had a change of heart. Our GOD’s grace and saving power are capable of redeeming even the man who condemned the Savior, the Author of Life, the only true King. No one is beyond His reach, His transforming power, or His love.
Pilate’s story also offers me a sobering pause. Are there times when I, too, am guilty of valuing other people’s opinions too highly? When I allow their loud voices, their spoken or perceived threats to sway my allegiance, to alter my response to the Savior? Or do I faithfully stand for truth, regardless of personal cost?
1 Peter 2:23 tells us that the LORD JESUS “left His case in the hands of GOD, who always judges rightly.” He faced opposition all the years He walked this earth, particularly the last few. He was attacked and threatened, misunderstood, and falsely accused at every turn. Yet He was so steady. He was confident in the Father’s plan that would not be deterred or derailed.
May I rest in the same confidence and seek the help of GOD’s Spirit to unwaveringly stand for what is right.