Commentary by Walter Albritton


January 19


Pitiful Pilate: He Chose to Placate the Crowd rather than protect the Christ

Read John 18:28 -19:16

Key Verse: John 18:37, 38


Pilate was a gifted man. He rose in the ranks to become governor of Palestine, a position he held for more than 10 years. He had a chance to make a name for himself. Instead he became a coward and ruined his name. Since his demise, no decent man has named his son Pilate.

Pressured by the crowd that wanted Jesus killed, Pilate capitulated, against his better judgment. In a moment of time, he had a choice. He could have resisted the pressure to compromise his principles. Instead he caves in and allows a man in whom he can find no fault to be crucified.

  There is great irony in the question Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?” The very Truth of God was standing before Pilate and he does not recognize it! Jesus was truth, but Pilate is so wrapped up in himself that he is blinded by the darkness of his own closed mind.

Pilate’s destiny was determined by the way he dealt with one man – Jesus Christ. Instead of character, Pilate demonstrated cowardice, and for that he is remembered.

Our destiny depends also upon our response to Jesus Christ. He is not merely a biblical character about whom we can learn. It is not enough to know a great deal about Jesus. It is necessary to know him, to know him in the experience of our salvation. It is necessary to worship him as Lord and Savior.

Even today the “crowd” does not encourage the worship of Jesus. Public opinion pushes believers to compromise their principles rather than “stand up for Jesus.” We all understand the temptation to hide our light “under a bushel” when to let it shine may cause people to think we are too pious.

Like Pilate, it is easy for us to fail to see Jesus when he is standing among us. How many times I have talked with several men when one, using smutty language, would say, “Oh, excuse my profanity, preacher.”

Often I have responded by saying, “You have no need to apologize to me, but since the Lord heard what you said, you may want to ask his forgiveness.”

This is a simple example of how easily we may forget the essence of the Christian faith – that Jesus is “God with us,” Emmanuel. He is among us! He is with us. He is before us. He is not on trial. We are on trial, and He is the Judge.

Pilate looked upon the King of Kings and did not recognize him. Had Pilate recognized him as the King and chosen to honor him in his life, Jesus would have given him the courage to do the right thing.

Pilate made his choice. Now, every day, we must make ours. Let us ask our King to put steel in our backbones so that we may not compromise our principles when the crowd is pressuring us to do the wrong thing. + + +