John 19:12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”
Today is Good Friday, and the laser focus is on Jesus, the lamb of God who offered his life on the cross for us. Thus, we are reminder that sometimes, God interferes in the affairs and plans of man to save us from falling into chasms we do not see. However, I want us to turn a brief eye to Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judaea in the days of Jesus’ passion.
We come across two faces of Pilate even as we read parts of the Passion account, particularly from the arrest of Jesus in the garden to his placement in the tomb. We will realise that Pilate was not one who was easily dissuaded because when the chief priests later approached him about the inscription on the cross of Jesus, he blows them off with the retort ‘what I have written, I have written’. Thus, he stuck firmly to his decision.
However, for fear of being labelled an enemy of the emperor, in spite of a clear conviction and near underwhelming evidence that Jesus was a criminal, we notice pilate unable to uphold his own conviction, eventually having to hand Jesus over to the Jews. I wondered, had he being as firm with a refusal to hand him over as he was about changing the inscription, what would have been the outcome?
I actually feel for Pilate because while the answers he heard from both parties convinced him that Jesus was an innocent man, the Jews threw a wrench in the engine by using Caesar as bait. Pilate was in a no win situation unless he put his all on the line because no governor was ready to get on the bad side of the emperor, not even pilate of Judaea. Beloved, there may be moments when like pilate, we find ourselves in situations where our own convictions seem impossible to uphold. In these moments, we need to ask for assistance – to ask the Holy Spirit to be our guide.