[PC-USA] 2004-03-12 - Pilate

Lenten Characters, Part 3

Through the years, I have heard some sermons that lambasted Pilate. And it's true that eventually he does give in to the crowd who are clamoring for Christ's crucifixion. But he should get a little credit. He did try to "do the right thing." Even before his wife warned him about her nightmare, Pilate saw through the crowd's motives, and stood up to them. He tried to appeal to their sense of fairness, but they would have none of it.

Matthew 27:15 (New Living Testament) Now it was the governors custom to release one prisoner to the crowd each year during the Passover celebration any one they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious criminal in prison, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilates house that morning, he asked them, Which one do you want me to release to you Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah? 18 (He knew very well that the Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night.

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and other leaders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So when the governor asked again, Which of these two do you want me to release to you? the crowd shouted back their reply: Barabbas! 22 But if I release Barabbas, Pilate asked them, what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? And they all shouted, Crucify him!

23 Why? Pilate demanded. What crime has he committed? But the crowd only roared the louder, Crucify him! 24 Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!

Pilate appealed again - once again to no avail - to the crowd for fairness, asking them to name Jesus' crime - knowing full well He had committed no true crime.

In what area might the Lord be calling you to take an unpopular stand? In defense of someone that your friends are being unfair to? On the side of someone you know was falsely accused? In support of a political issue, by voting, writing a Congressman, giving money to a good cause or writing a fair but passionate "Letter to the Editor?" If Pilate could go up against the irrational mob, we can certainly take a stand for the right in our world today. Christ took the cross for us; it's the least we can do.

Comments or Questions?

[email jan] cfdevcfpray@yahoo.com