Bible Bad Guys- Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate is probably my favorite of the three guys I’m discussing. I think it’s pretty easy to see the internal dilemma that Pilate faced. He knew he was sending an innocent man to his death, but that was his job. Pilate was essentially required to keep the peace, to appease the masses and maintain order, and to honor the traditions that were being followed. So he had to decide between possibly causing the fall of his city/ civilization or sending an innocent man to his death. It probably wasn’t the first innocent man he allowed to be condemned, but it was also probably the hardest choice he had to make.

Even his wife told him to have nothing to do with Jesus. But what choice did he have? He could have sent Jesus somewhere else to be judged, but that would make him seem weak and would have only prolonged the problem. He could have released Jesus despite the crowd, but that could have caused an uprising and Jesus probably would have been killed by the crowd anyway. He could have tried to force the Jewish leaders to find a way to kill Jesus on their own, but that would imply that the Jews had more power than he did.

So Pilate did what he felt was best for his city, his people, and their way of life. And then he “washed his hands” of the whole deal.

Maybe Pilate could have been “stronger.” Maybe he could have forced the people to bend to his will and let Jesus go. But what would that have solved? What would anyone have gained from that? If anything, it would have caused more blood to be shed, more lives to be lost, more hatred and contempt and misunderstanding.

So yes, Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified. But does that really make him a bad person or a weak person? Or does that just make him a human?


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