Thursday, October 06, 2011

Matthew 27:11-26


11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?'' And Jesus said to him, "It is as you say.'' 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?'' 14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge , so the governor was quite amazed. 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?'' 18 For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over. 19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.'' 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21 But the governor said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?'' And they said, "Barabbas.'' 22 Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'' They all said, "Crucify Him!'' 23 And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?'' But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!'' 24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves.'' 25 And all the people said, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!'' 26 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

"Pilate was officially procurator or governor of the province; and he was directly responsible, not to the Roman senate, but to the Roman Emperor. He must have been at least twenty-seven years of age. That was the minimum age for entering into this office. He must have been a man of considerable experience, for there was a ladder of offices, including military command, up which a man must climb until he qualified to become a governor. Pilate must have been a tried and tested soldier and administrator. He became procurator of Judea in A.D. 26 and held office for ten years, when he was recalled from his post."

"When Pilate came to Judea, he found plenty of trouble, and much of it was of his own making. His great handicap was that he was completely out of sympathy with the Jews. More, he was contemptuous of what he would have called their irrational and fanatical prejudices, and what they would have called their principles.

The Romans knew the intensity of the Jewish religion and the unbreakable character of Jewish belief, and very wisely had always dealt with the Jews with kid gloves. Pilate arrogantly proposed to use the fist." "He began with trouble. The Roman headquarters were in Caesarea. The Roman standards were not flags; they were poles with the Roman eagle, or the image of the reigning emperor, on top. In deference to the Jewish hatred of graven images, every previous governor had removed the eagles and the images from the standards before he marched into Jerusalem on his state visits. Pilate refused to do so.

Later, Pilate decided that Jerusalem needed a better water supply-a wise decision. To that end he constructed a new aqueduct-but he took money from the Temple treasury to pay for it." "Later Christian legend was sympathetic to Pilate and tended to place all the blame for the death of Jesus on the Jews. Not unnaturally, legend came to hold that Pilate's wife, who it is said was a Jewish proselyte, and was called Claudia Procula, became a Christian. It was even held that Pilate himself became a Christian; and to this day the Coptic Church ranks both Pilate and his wife as saints.

3 observations about Pilate:

1. Pilate was clearly impressed with Jesus.

2. Pilate sought some way of escape.

3. Pilate sought to unshoulder the responsibility for condemning Jesus. There is that strange and tragic picture of him washing his hands.

However you view Pilate and his actions, his question still penetrates our world when he said, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?" So, what will we do with Jesus? What will you do with this Jesus? Everything banks on that one question. Jesus?