Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pontius Pilate

As Easter approaches I felt led to take a look at the resurrection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the events surrounds. We did a series last year called "Perspectives" where we looked at the events through the eyes of people involved and I felt led to do this again this year but with different people. Last year we looked at the two on the road to Emmaus, the crucifixion from a doctor's perspective, Peter's denial of Christ, and the two criminals.

This first week we looked at Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor of Judea at the time. The chief priests brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate to have him executed because the Jews did not have the authority to execute a person, only the authority to sentence them to death. They were unable to carry out the actual execution so this is why they came to Pilate hoping he would have Jesus executed, which he ended up doing. There are several things to look at throughout the four gospels so here is a short and quick summary:
-Pontius Pilate didn't want to have anything to do with Jesus because he knew he was innocent.
-Pilate's wife warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus because He was righteous and she had suffered greatly in a dream because of Him- Matthew 27:19
-When Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee he sent Him to be tried by Herod Antipas ruled the region of Galilee but was in Jerusalem at that time- Luke 23:5-12. I feel like maybe he was trying to pass Jesus off to Herod first of all because he didn't want to deal with it, and secondly because he and Herod had been political enemies so he wanted to pass the burden to him. Herod eventually sent Jesus back and Pilate and Herod became friends that day.
-It was customary to release a prisoner at that time and so Pilate offered the crowd to choose between the notorious criminal Barabbas and Jesus, thinking that the crowd would not want Barabbas released. Instead the crowd insisted that they release Barabbas and crucify Jesus.
-The crowd applied political pressure on Pilate saying he wasn't a friend of Caesar's if he released Jesus. Again Pilate encouraged tried to get out of it and made the statement to the Jews "Behold, your King!" to which they replied "We have no king but Caesar." Here is the crazy thing, the Jews hated Caesar. They hated the Roman government and was hoping for a political Messiah that would overthrow the Roman government at the time.

So after all of this occurs, we read in Mark 15:15 that Pilate gives in to the crowd, had Jesus beaten and crucified. It makes this statement about Pilate: "Wishing to satisfy the crowd." Now there is no question that Pilate would have had a revolt on his hands if he had let Jesus go. Then there is also the fact that it was also necessary for Jesus to die to take away the bondage of sin and our separation from God. However, we can learn some lessons from Pontius Pilate

1) Don't do something when you obviously know you shouldn't do it. Pilate was warned by his wife and he knew that Jesus was innocent. Yet he went ahead and followed through.
2) Don't give in to peer pressure. We are surrounded by pressure from our friends, co-workers, media, etc. Sometimes we are required to make unpopular decisions because it is the right thing to do. We have to be influenced by God to make our decisions instead of other people. I witness this a lot when people are trying to be like someone else instead of being the person that God intends them to be.
3) When you've done something you shouldn't have, don't pass the blame or say you didn't do it. Pontius Pilate made the symbol of washing his hands saying that he had nothing to do with it- Matthew 27:24. But he had just sent Jesus to be executed- he did do it!

Take a look at your life. Do you give in to others in hopes of keeping them happy? Are your motives from God or so that you can fit in with others? Ask yourself if the way you act and the things you do are based on your desire to fit in or if its what God is leading you to do.

1 comment:

Rami S. said...

Thank you for this post! I randomly found it while googling Pilate and I'm so glad I did. I am going to do a brief devotion on Pilate on Good Friday and I borrowed a couple of your points (Peer Pressure & Passing the Blame) to add to my list of things we can learn from Pilate. Thank you again.
God Bless You!