PILATE: ORDERING THE CROSS – Near the Cross of Jesus (1)

“Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified”

Mathew 27:26

Pilate the Roman Governor of Judaea was anxious.  He was tasked with keeping order in one of the most troublesome of all the Roman territories.  He was entering Passover time when hundreds of thousands of Jews were flooding into Jerusalem.  Nationalistic fervour would be at its highest and mixed with religious energy this was a heady cocktail.  He was aware of the stories of a Messiah, the great deliverer whom the Jews longed for.

As day broke on the eve of Passover Pilate was approached by a delegation from the Sanhedrin.  However much he despised these Jewish leaders he could not ignore them.  If unrest broke out during Passover his soldiers would never be able to hold back the mobs and he would lose his credibility.  These Priests and Pharisees were demanding that Pilate execute a man who claimed to be the Messiah, the miracle worker called Jesus who hailed from Nazareth.

Knowing the Sanhedrin as he did, Pilate recognised their jealous motivation and the innocence of Jesus.  On interviewing Jesus Pilate became increasingly convinced of His innocency.  All that morning he laboured to find a way to set Jesus free.  He offered another prisoner to the people, a murderer called Barabbas thinking that the choice would be for Jesus.  But the demand from the increasingly angry mob was that Barabbas must be released that Passover.  He remonstrated but his words could not prevail.  His wife had a disturbing dream and warned her husband against executing this just man.  Cleverly, the Jewish leadership threatened the Governor by the warning him that acquitting Jesus would put him at odds with Caesar; in other words ‘there will be a heavy price to pay for going against us’.  Pilate finally made his fateful decision washing His hands in a public show of defiance passing the guilt onto the Jews.  

But still it was him that made the choice.  He crucified Jesus.

He crucified Jesus after looking into his eyes of love and pity.

He crucified Jesus after seeing the pain his soldiers had already inflicted in the torture chamber.

He crucified Jesus sinning against his conscience and pressurised by the crowd.

And so Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified.

Just as Pilate is defined by his tragic choice so men and women in their millions are eternally defined by their response to Jesus Christ.  Some accept Him as Saviour while others reject Him.

What is your choice?

Can you look into those eyes of love, can you look into the face of one who embracedthat fearful death for you and refuse Him as your Saviour? 

Don’t make the tragic choice which Pilate made!

Accept Christ as your Saviour today.

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