Piloting Pilate


Thinkin’ today about my reading from last week.  I don’t know much about Pilate.  He has a starring role in the Easter story but that was the extent of my knowledge.  I decided to dig into him.

Pilate is mentioned once early in Luke’s writings. In the first verse of chapter 13, Luke mentions  him.   Pilate had murdered some unnamed Galileans and mixed their blood with the blood of the Jewish sacrifices. Scholars note that there is no historical evidence about this event and no other Gospel writer mentions it.  However, Ellicott admits such travesty was certainly in keeping with Pilate’s character. Historians record that he was a strict Roman leader who was impulsive, reckless and often obstinate. While he could be rational and practical, he never knew when to quit.  He often went too far in a given case.  His decisions were fraught with indecision and inconsistency, evident at the trial of Jesus.     

All four of the gospels tell his story after Jesus’ arrest.  All of them record one way or another of saying Pilate didn’t want any trouble.  Matthew says Pilate gave up when the people, ALL the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children”.  (27:25)      Luke records that Pilate gave them three chances to change their minds. (23:22) THREE, an incredibly significant number in the following events.  Mark says Pilate wanted to “satisfy the crowd” (15:15).  John records much more of Pilate’s words and dialogue between he and Jesus.(18:28-38, 19:8-11)  These scriptures clearly indicate Pilate’s desire to let Jesus go, but finally, he gives in to the demands of the crowd.  (That’s a whole ‘nother sermon in itself).

He undoubtedly deserves his bad rap from Christians.   He certainly could have gone against the crowd and the Jews couldn’t have done a thing about it.  Again, he had a role to play in God’s agenda.  I don’t understand the culture of that day but clearly politics was Pilate’s motivation.  An interesting parallel to our current situation.   

Yet, still, even now, Jesus has ONE agenda “seek and save the lost”.  God has ONE agenda, outlined in a book called Revelation. 

Restin’ in that.    

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