Pilate, though not solely responsible for the crucifixion of Christ, and though it was God’s will for Christ to die, was the last man who could have halted the execution of Christ.
I am intrigued with his question as is recorded in Matthew 27:22 because it is the same question we face every day: “What should I do then with Jesus?” First of all, this question involves surrendering our life to Christ in relationship that leads to eternal life. But, this question, for those who are already Christians, regards “Will I choose Christ’s way in all aspects of my life?”
Pilate made the wrong choice. The reasons that caused Pilate to make the wrong choice are the same factors that cause many to reject Christ today. What are those factors?
- Influenced by what other people think.
As Governor, he was trained to please people. He was the governor on behalf of the Roman Empire. His main job was to keep the peace. Any kind of disturbance could get him quickly dismissed. Historians of this era say that Pilate was not very good at keeping everyone happy.
As Judge, he was trained to look at facts. As Pilate looked at the facts, Jesus was innocent. There are some in our society today that are struggling with the facts about Jesus. However, there are many others that will tell you that they believe in Jesus but they are too worried about what others think or too concerned about their own desires to be concerned for the desires of God. For example, people will say “I know what the Bible says about this, but this is what I am going to do.”
Pilate listened to too many voices. He heard from the religious leaders, the crowd, and even his wife. Confused by these competing allegiances, He refused to listen to the one voice that he should have heard—God’s voice. Trying to please others, He missed the most important voice. Many of our poor choices are the result of listening to the wrong voices that compete for our allegiance.
- Ignorant of who Jesus is.
In addition to being influenced by what others thought, Pilate was ignorant or at least confused by who Jesus was. As Governor of the province that included Jerusalem, He no doubt had heard about Jesus. He no doubt heard about the miracles, the teaching, and things that Jesus was claiming. He also knew about the uproar from the religious leaders that Jesus’ ministry was causing. I believe a part of Pilate wanted to believe, but any understanding about Jesus that is not complete is inadequate.
- Indulge in temporary favor at the expense of eternal favor.
Again, worried about the crowd, He made the unfortunate mistake of caring about temporary things when he could have been concerned for spiritual, eternal things.
- Inability to make a choice.
Ultimately, Pilate thought he could make no choice at all. He thought that He could put off the choice by “washing his hands” of the entire thing. We must always remember that choosing to make no choice is in reality making a choice. There is an abundance of evidence that in the first century world in which Pilate lived that this act of publicly washing hands was the supreme symbol of claiming innocence.
In the end, Pilate’s story teaches us two things.
We will find that it is impossible to not make a decision about Jesus.
We will discover that the decision you make about Christ influences all other decisions.
Today is the day to choose to follow Christ.
(This post is based on the message “What Should I Do Then With Jesus” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)