On: August 20, 2015 | By: SWLadmin | Under: Blog | Comments: Comments are off
For the third time Pilate spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.” But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will. Luke 23:22-25
We’ve spent a while with Pontius Pilate. What to make of him? He was governor, with political and legal (Matthew 27:19) control and, being in charge of Jerusalem, would have a good understanding of the religious ways and establishment. Clearly, though, he was out of his depth in this highly charged situation.
He tried to exercise political expediency attempting, first, to fob off a difficult problem to King Herod, then turning to the traditional Passover act of clemency. But when neither of these easy ways out got him off the hook, he was stuck. Even his wife was on his case: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” Matthew 27:19
I sympathise with the man. I reckon he was genuinely trying to carry out his job by averting a riot at a volatile time of year, and then attempting to do the right thing by the accused man before him.
But it wasn’t to be. Ironically – after we are told that Pilate: knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. (Matthew 27:18)– he decided to protect his own backside, and caved in to the pressure: When Pilate saw he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” (Matthew 27:24)
Regardless of his theatrics, Pilate was not innocent and it was his, not the crowd’s, responsibility. He had failed to exercise his professional calling, or to uphold his personal integrity. As a result, he went down in history as the man who unfairly sentenced to death the Creator of Life. (John 1:3)
What would I have done? What would you have done? More importantly, what will we do to give ourselves the best chance of remaining standing when pressure inevitablydescends on us? The apostle Paul nailed it: Put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13
Jesus stayed on course by keeping in regular touch with His Father, seeking daily guidance, empowerment and safety. If we would follow in His footsteps, we must do likewise: listening to Him, receiving His equipping, laying hold of the protection we are offered. If we don’t, we may well find ourselves being rolled over … just like Pilate.
Father God, please protect those in positions of influence, power and authority, that they might strive for the highest standards in their professional and personal behaviour, exercising with integrity the responsibilities they have. Amen