We Wait He Works

pontius pilate

Have you ever wondered what Pontius Pilate thought about when Jesus was set before him during his trial? Have you ever wondered why they chose him to choose who to sentence to death, either Jesus or Barabas?

In John 18:28-40, the story of Jesus coming before Pilate is told.

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”  Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected.

 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.  Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this, he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.”

In John 19: 1-16, the story continues.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.  Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.”  When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid,  and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaicis Gabbatha).  It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.  Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

You can bet Pilate was stressed during it too.  He must have bee almost as distressed as Jesus was with everything that was happening. He told the crowd before him “I see nothing wrong that this man has done.” Because of this Pilate literally washed his hands of the mess of it because he couldn’t take being the man that was responsible for turning Jesus over to be crucified. He didn’t want to see Jesus be condemned by the people and put to death. He didn’t want to be the one that handed over an innocent man to be crucified for no reason.

He thought he had made a terrible mistake by handing Jesus over to be crucified. He washed his hands of the mess and retreated after that. To think that the people were counting on him to be the one that handed Jesus over to die must have been overwhelming for him. Maybe some of his thoughts were, “Why would they want me to condemn this man when he hasn’t done anything wrong?” “What is this game their playing?” “Why release a hardened criminal like Barabas instead of releasing an innocent man like Jesus?”

But think about this too. If Pilate hadn’t handed Jesus over to be crucified, then His story and everyone’s story would have turned out differently. None of us would have our sins forgiven. Jesus had to take them upon Himself, so we could all live. Even though Pilate didn’t know it at that time, he was doing the right thing for all of us. If he wouldn’t have said to crucify Jesus, then none of us would be saved.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus