Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” John 19:19-22
In the final time we’ll see Pilate before the crucifixion, Pilate begins to cover his bases. He wants desperately to let others know that he’s not responsible for the innocent man they will kill, and that he acknowledges that he was a king of some kind. He, perhaps like many of the religious leaders, viewed Jesus as someone not of this world, which was entirely correct. They didn’t know what to make of him so they set out to destroy him. At least Pilate recognized that if he were in fact a king of another world, then he might want to somehow get in his good graces, otherwise it might come back to bite him.
People do that with Jesus all the time. They try to cover their bases by making sure that they do all the good they can when the have the opportunity. While that’s noble, it’s certainly not a requirement for eternal life. John 3:16 makes it clear that believing in Jesus is the only “requirement” for eternal life.
Salvation through Christ really is that simple but most people don’t hear that. When they finally do hear it put that plainly, they are shocked at the simplicity.
Is it possible they don’t hear it that plainly because there’s a lot of “noise” in our own faith? That noise can take the form of strong political views and unwavering moral stances. We need to strike a balance between changing society through the political process and changing society through belief in Jesus.