Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pilate's King

Today is the day to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Pontious Pilate is a prominent figure in the second & third mysteries (the scourging & the crowning of thorns). He was, afterall, the one who condemned Jesus to death. Because of this, he's often viewed as a bad guy. But it occurred to me today that maybe Pilate actually believed Jesus was a King.

Did Jesus respond to Pilate's "faith" by showing mercy when He said to him, "The one who handed Me over has the greater sin."? He was of course, talking about Judas, who betrayed Him. If Judas had the greater sin, Pilate's was apparently somehow less, though he had the final authority to condemn Jesus. At least he thought he did. Jesus reminded him that he had no authority at all except that which was given from above, from God.

From John 18 right into the next chapter, I watched Pilate trying to set Jesus free at every turn. But the Jews would have none of it. They threatened Pilate by telling him if he freed Jesus, he was no friend of Caesar. This was a kind of 1st century blackmail & Pilate knew it. He wasn't willing to sacrifice his career just yet, so he let the Jews have their way. He publicly washed his hands of the guilt of Jesus' blood & sent Him off. But as an act of his own veiled faith, Pilate had a sign put up that declared Jesus as the King of the Jews, much to the Jews' dismay. He stood fast & told them "What I have written, I have written.". Did Pilate believe? Did he utter some prayer to God that day for forgiveness? Who can say. But actions speak louder than words...

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