2010-03-23 - Bad Guys of Lent: Pilate
I encourage you, as a memory refresher, to reread Luke 23 (or Matthew 27) for background about Pontius Pilate.
I dont know about you, but when I was growing up, I was taught simply that Pilate was a bad guy; hearing the name Pilate brought a bad taste to my mouth, as the saying goes. And Pilate did ultimately give the crowd what they wanted the life of Jesus.
But as I began to study the Scriptures for myself, I realized that like most things in life, it wasnt all black and white. Before that point of sentencing Jesus to capital punishment, Pontius Pilate did give Jesus a hearing, in which He heard the charges against him and was given a chance to refute them. In fact, Pilate, discerning that the charges against Jesus were false, actually argued His case to the audience. Luke records three efforts on Pilates behalf, to persuade the crowd who legally were responsible for choosing the one person to be released that he was innocent. He even used Herods release as corrorboration for his own planned release of Jesus. And whether the onlookers knew Jesus was innocent and didnt care, or truly believed the accusations that had been made against him, we may never know. But they would have none of it.
And likewise, we dont know if Pilates motives were solely the law (the release of one prisoner during the Feast) and political expedience, or whether they were related to apprehension brought on by his wifes prescient dream (please see Matthew 27), and/or if he also had a twinge of conscience and a true sense of justice. Just as our own motives are usually not totally pure or altruistic when we do the right thing, there was likely a mixture.
But this we do know: Pilate tried valiantly to avoid doing what he didnt realize was actually unavoidable. For the bottom line for us to remember here is that Christs death and resurrection had been planned and predicted throughout the history recorded in the Bible (See Genesis 3:15.), and Christs death was necessary to bring about our salvation.
And when we are searching for the perpetrators of Christs death, we need not look any farther than our own mirrors. As our pastor recently reminded us, Our sins are responsible for Christs death. Whatever y/our particular sins are pride, temper, reckless driving, cheating (on taxes/schoolwork/spouse), selfishness (the unanimous sin), sins of omission (not doing the good we should) or whatever those are the crimes for which Jesus was crucified. But in the ultimate irony, it was love for the likes of us - that sent Him to that cross, and we are also the beneficients of His salvation. The good news, as 1 John 1:9 tells us, is that if we repentantly believe in Christ as our Savior, we are forgiven.