“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ ” (John 18:37, 38).

Not much is known of the man called Pontius Pilate before his appearance toward the climax of each of the Gospel accounts of Je- sus’ life: Pilate is the Roman governor, or proconsul, before whom Jesus appeared at trial. Pilate held Jesus’ life in his hands. Finding no crime with which Jesus could be charged, Pilate offered to release Him, but the crowd, egged on by members of the Sanhedrin, called for Barabbas instead. Despite a warning from his wife not to harm Jesus, Pilate ordered His crucifixion.

We know what happened next. And Jesus’ death was not the end of the story, but only the beginning. After the resurrection, Jesus spent time with His disciples and commissioned them to preach the gospel and baptize followers.

Pilate, on the other hand, is said to have taken his own life after being exiled to the Roman province of Gaul. For centuries, his name has been all but an oath to Christians, many of whom recite a creedal statement reaffirming that Jesus “was crucified under Pontius Pilate.” No statue stands in his honour; ignominy surrounds his name.

As with many leaders ancient and modern, Pilate faced a crucial moment in which he could stand for what was decent and right or capitulate to the whims of the crowd. That he did the latter sealed his place in history, and a reputation of infamy.

Father, I may not be a national official, but I have responsibilities in my life. Help me to choose Your path, and Your truth, over the voices calling for expediency.

For Further Study: Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18, 19



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