With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising. John 18:38-40
Prior to Pilate bringing Jesus out to the masses, Pilate’s wife had this to say that further strengthens the case: While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him” (Matthew 27:19)
So, rather than doing the right thing, he did that which he thought would strengthen (1) his bond with the Jewish leaders and (2) ultimately his power. But as we know this power is temporal, and today Pontius Pilate is known as a weak and indecisive ruler who ultimately put an innocent man to death. Some legends have it that Pilate washed his hands repeatedly from that point forward in hopes of removing the figurative blood from his hands.
I think deep down Pilate wanted to do the right thing. Yes, he was arrogant enough to think that he had power over Jesus’ life and death. It’s difficult to say exactly how things could have been different because he didn’t have power over his life and death. But God used the temperaments of the people in the story to do his will.
Pilate thought he was in complete control of the situation and spent part of his life trying to atone for the actions he took that night.
We need to be reminded of this often: God is in control. Or to put it another way, there’s nothing God is not in control of.
- World politics
- Ruthless dictators
- Arrogant leaders
- Economic chaos
- Your teachers
- Your boss
- Your family
- Your relationships
It’s easy to fret and worry over the events in our lives. But, – and we know this – it’s fruitless. We do need to pray for the events in our lives and in our lives, but at the end of the day, God is in control of it all.