Thursday, January 4
John includes a very intriguing account of Pilate’s action following his dialogue with Jesus. Pilate was well versed in Hebrew history. He knew the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would rule the Hebrew nation. He knew the Jewish leaders had rejecting him as their Messiah, yet many Jews were didn’t agree with their own leaders. Pilate was intent on doing his job, keeping the peace and maintain Roman law. Knowing all about the situation, Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus was short, almost a formality. He already knew Jesus was innocent of any attempt to violate Roman law. In order to keep the peace, he said twice that he would punish Jesus and then set him free. So he was willing to compromise justice in order to keep the peace. The Jews rejected every alternative presented by Pilate, and Pilate eventually caved in an gave Jesus over to the Jews to be crucified. Perhaps to salve his conscience, he made a sign to be posted on the cross, “King of the Jews.” All four gospels include this incident, but John added a very pertinent piece that the synoptic gospels leave out. John 19:21. The Jewish chief priests (Annas and Caiaphas) protested this sign. “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,” but that this man claimed to be the King of the Jews.” [I’m always irked when I see these words “this man”] Pilate’s response: “What I have written, I have written.” This implies that Pilate knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Like Judas, he sold out to Satan. And he will be “rewarded” the same way. John was bold enough to include this episode, and shrewd enough to not make it blatant.