Lately, I been revisiting the story of Pontius Pilate and the part he played as a the person who serve the death penalty to Jesus.

 

Sometimes, this is a character often sidetracked whenever we read about the Passion of Christ. As most of us would be focusing the attention on the central character, our Lord Jesus himself.

 

But if we would to examine this character in details, sometimes I think we can see ourselves in Pontius Pilate. His story could be found at the trial of Jesus recorded in Matt 27, Mk 15, Lk 23, Jn 18).

 

The Difficulty of Governing Judea as a Roman Governor

  

The role of a Governor of Judea is a difficult role as he is governing one of the toughest province in the Roman empire.

He is facing a land where there are constant uprising and rebels who wanted to much to chase the Romans and their Legions out of Judah and to reestablish the Kingdom of David.

The people understood the OT prophecy that a Messiah will come to Israel and he would rebuild the kingdom of David. Some of the famous rebels at that time are the Zealots, One of their famous groups were known as Sicarii (AKA Dagger men). They were also known to kill fellow Jews who oppose their war against the Romans.

 

Eventually these Zealots led a revolt known as Jewish revolt which clause Jerusalem to be destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Where they fled to Masada and died fighting the Romans.

 

This Romans way of governing the people is by keeping them distracted but happy, this is seen in the many theatres, chariot race course and Colosseum built to entertain the people. However, this tactic did not go too well with the Jews that well.

 

In fact the prime motivation for Pilate to convict Jesus and to crucify him (what he will do to rebel easily) stamps from that Roman way of keeping the populance happy.

 

Usually, they crucify rebels and insurrector so as to serve as a deteriant for any one else who wants to try. They usually do that openly at the highway and uses fear to help them control the populace.

 

Pilate Vain Attempts To Release Jesus

  

Pontius Pilate knows that Jesus was innocent (Lk 23:4, Jn 18:38). His wife suffered dreams because of it and also sent messenger to Pilate warning him against hurting Jesus (Matt 27:19).

 

He knew that the Jews wanted him to kill Jesus and they just needed him to pass the order to crucify him. After examining Jesus he knew that Jesus is innocent and is just a religious leader that they do not like.

 

Initially He decided to push the responsibility to King Herod (Lk 23: 6-7) Later on when Herod sent Jesus back to him, he was stressed.

Now he thought to himself, since he had to release a prisoner during the Jewish festival, he can put Jesus beside Barabbas who is a famous criminal and he hopes that the people would be wise enough not to request him to release Barabbas (Jn 18:39)

But to his horror, they demanded Barabbas to released to them. So in his final desperate attempt to do the right thing, he wanted Jesus to be flogged and set free. (Lk 23:13-15). Unfortunately, the crowd started to be louder and more rowdy.

They slowly drowned his voice (Lk 23:23). When Pilate realise he cant change it, he decided to use his own method to lessen his guilt by washing his hand (Matt 27:24-25)

 

There are tradition that suggested that he went crazy in the last part of his life, he was seen washing his hands again and again, claiming there was blood on it. But if one were to google for it. It is evident that there was no known record of Pilates death.

 

My Thoughts Regarding Pilate

 

Personally, I think Pilate was someone who knew the good he ought to have done, but lack the moral courage to follow through (Rom 7:14-25).

He thinks that by washing his own hands he is guiltless in killing an innocent man by Crucifixion.

In a way, sometimes we are very much like Pontius Pilate. Can we recall the last time where we saw injustice and yet lack the courage to speak against it? Do we allow the masses to force us to commit sins that we did not wish to commit, telling ourselves that “it is alright, since everyone wants it”

If Pilate were to stand at the side of Justice and not yield to the demands of the people, perhaps he need not bear that guilt for harming an Innocent man.

 

Therefore, as Christian living in a wicked and sinful generation, let us continue to stand by our belief and the teaching of God, and not be swayed just because the world demanded it. Let us learn from the story of Pontius Pilate, that we would never allow ourselves to do the wrong thing, just because the crowds demands it.

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