Pilate’s first response to the leaders who brought Jesus to him was that they should deal with Jesus themselves. The Jewish leaders reminded Pilate that they did not have the authority to execute Him. Pilate then interviewed Jesus to find out the facts of the matter. In this part of the conversation our Lord asserts that He witnesses to the truth to which Pilate asks, “What is truth?” Ironically, truth stands before the governor in the person of Jesus Christ.
Pilate was insistent that he found no guilt in Jesus, yet handed Him over to His foes to be crucified. When Pilate once again resisted attempts to kill Jesus, Jesus’ enemies said that if he released Jesus, he was no friend of Caesar, that is, he who governed the entire Roman Empire. Finally, Pilate gave Jesus over to be crucified.
At least , three things about Pilate we observe here. First, Pilate tried to get out of his responsibility; second, he avoided recognizing the truth; and third, he relented when the pressure was on so that he ended up doing the wrong thing.
When we Christians witness to those in civil authority, we must recognize any number of dynamics including the ones above from the Gospel of John.
- Avoidance of responsibility. Politicians do this quite often in the twenty-first century and at all times. They do it primarily to remain in power.
- Avoidance of truth. Politics is not about truth. It is about power
- Avoidance of pressure. It is always present when one is trying to do the right thing. It is often reduced when doing the wrong thing.
Always keep these points in mind when you are before the civil authority.
August 3, 2020