Men, have you ever been in that “No Win” situation? You know, when your wife says something like, “Do you like this dress”? Or “Does this outfit make me look fat”? What are you supposed to say about that? Any answer may be the wrong answer and – you’re in T R O U B L E. No win here.Just maybe that is the situation Pilate found himself in after Jesus came on the scene in Jerusalem so many years ago. The trumped up charges the chief priests accused Jesus of which they had no authority to enforce were dumped on him, Pilate.
Who was Pilate?"The pagan historian Tacitus (Ann. 15:44) writes: "Christ, while Tiberius was emperor, was capitally executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate." The procurator was generally a Roman knight, acting under the governor of a province as collector of the revenue, and judge in cases arising under it. But Pontius Pilate had full military and judicial authority in Juda, as being a small province attached to the larger Syria; he was responsible to the governor of Syria. Archelaus having been deposed (A.D. 6), Subinus, Coponius, Ambivius, Rufus, Valerius Gratus, and Pontius Pilate successively were governors (Josephus, Ant. 18:2, section 2)."
So, all that to say – Pilate (Pontius Pilate) was large and in charge. He was the ultimate decision maker appointed by the Roman Emperor – Tiberius. It was this Pilate that the Jewish leaders turned Jesus over to for punishment.Pilate had been witness to the throngs of people cheering Jesus just days before as he rode in to town. This man’s reputation was large and the last thing Pilate needed was some insurrection stirred up because he upset the populace. It didn’t help th
at these Jewish leaders were so adamant about the desired outcome for this man Jesus.
Pilate had to be very uncomfortable as he begins asking questions. Mark 15:2 NASB “Pilate questioned Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ And He *answered him, ‘It is as you say.’"
Pilate makes no judgment but, Mark 15:3 NASB “The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly.”
Mark 15:4-5 NASB “Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, "Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!" (5) But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.”
Amazed – indeed
We are not given what additional accusations were presented here nor the specific questions Pilate asked but we know this – Jesus was done answering pointless questions.
Pointless? Yes, there was no point in giving truth to a bunch who had no interest in hearing the answer but were simply using questions to make a point of their own. To trump up charges before Pilate.
“Jesus made no further answer” and because of that, “Pilate was amazed.”
What to do – what to do thinks Pilate. I don’t want a riot. These Jewish leaders are ticked but I don’t see anything in this man Jesus that warrants punishment.
Then it hits him. Once a year we release one of the condemned at the request of the people. I can implement that loophole right here – right now for Jesus.
So he puts it to the people giving them the choice to release a known murderer or Jesus. He had to be thinking – these people that welcomed Jesus with such enthusiasm will surely ask for his release NOT the murderer Barabbas. WRONG – the crowd having been riled up by the chief priests asked for Barabbas’ freedom and when asked – said, “Crucify him” regarding Jesus.
CRUD! Now what do I do?
Mark 15:14 NASB “But Pilate said to them, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify Him!’”
Well that was unexpected but I have my way out – the people want this even though he is innocent so far as I can see.
I’ll disown the whole thing Pilate says to himself.
Matthew 27:24 “So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.’"
With that – Pilate was done.
The question I have for you is whether Pilate’s no win situation and the solution he finally came to a valid one. Did he effectively wash is hands of the whole thing? Was he truly guiltless in the crucifixion of Jesus?
I think the washing of the hands is illustrative. In fact, the washing of hands was a known and practiced ceremonial cleansing that the Jews would have recognized.
Pilate in so doing was claiming his own innocence in the forthcoming brutality and death of Jesus. But could he do that?
Can we, hover over a basin of water, wash our hands ceremonially and proclaim our innocence? NO!!!
Pilate could no more cleanse himself from this sin than can we. Ironically, the death Jesus was about to endure at the hands of Pilate was the only way that Pilate could possibly have been made clean. It is the only way this terrible sin could have been wiped away.
It is the only way ANY sin can be removed. The death of Jesus, His sacrifice is the only washing that could have removed his guilt. That death, some two thousand years ago is the only way any of us can be cleaned.
We don’t know the fate of Pilate. We know some Romans even some Roman leaders came to know Jesus and his work of salvation accepting it for themselves. Maybe he did. Most likely he didn’t.
What is your choice? Belief in what Jesus did as a cleansing of the blood on your hands or not? AMEN!