Wednesday, January 3
Pilate was an enigmatic person. He seemed to have strong convictions about justice. He declared Jesus innocent in the face of strong Jewish opposition. The crowd, stirred up by the Jewish leaders would not back off. This could develop into a massive riot and even an outright insurrection against Rome, a scenario that would end his political career. There was no easy way out. But he did have a backup plan. He would offer a Jewish criminal, a man who had led an insurrection against Rome. This ploy also failed. His wife’s heart-felt appeal, prompted by a dream, possibly from God, didn’t help either. She said “have nothing to do with this innocent man.” He chose to ignore her warning. This was probably the most crucial point in Pilates’s life. He had to placate the Jews or he could lose his position, and possibly his head on a treason charge. The moral issue was clear: justice or career. With all these political issues involved, Jesus himself did what he needed to do to carry out God’s plan. What a weird scenario—the Jews insisting on death, ignoring both Roman law and Jewish law; the Roman soldiers, who didn’t care all that much one way or the other; one man fighting for his career; fickle crowds of Jews; and a few loyal followers who didn’t know what to do. And then there was Jesus, a righteous man orchestrating his own cruel death in order to provide redemption for all who would believe. This was probably the most dramatic and crucial court case in all history.