Luke 23 v 23 – 25 But with loud shouts they incessantly demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
At the funeral of Nelson Mandela to be held this week he will be remembered as a man of integrity, honesty and high principles. God in his kind providence placed us in the hands of such a man when the transition to democracy took place in 1994.
Sadly not all great men are principled people. Some who wield huge power are totally unprincipled or maybe weak characters who compromise their principles easily under pressure. Pontius Pilate appears to be such a man!
The evidence in the Gospels suggests that he was inwardly satisfied that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death. He knew why Jesus had been handed over to him. In fact both he and King Herod had been satisfied that Jesus was innocent (Luke 23 v 14 ,15.) If he had not been harassed and intimidated by the crowd Pilate would probably have released him.
But Judea was a turbulent province but Pilate needed to gain the favour of the leaders of this volatile people. Afraid to take a stand against the Jews, he tried to placate his conscience by washing his hands. This futile act is often repeated in our own day by many who know what the truth is regarding Christ yet nevertheless look for the smallest excuses not to do the right thing.
So Pilate stifled his own conscience, ignored the strong dreams his wife had (Matthew 27 v 19) and delivered the Lord Jesus Christ into the hands of his enemies.
There are many today who know that the deeds they do are wrong, the ideas they hold are false and the excuses they give are weak and useless. Still they hold to them and deny the Saviour. The praise of man, the acceptance of peers becomes the idol before which they bow down.
When conscience is sacrificed, so is peace of soul. When conscience is repeatedly sacrificed, the soul slowly begins to wither.
I hope no one reading this is guilty of this kind of lack of principle. If you know that Christ is the truth, then embrace Him.
Meditation: Though Herod’s act was wrong, still God overruled it for our salvation. Read Acts 2 v 22 – 24