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Before Pilate

March 18, 2018

“Ecce Homo (Behold the Man!)” by Antonio Ciseri (1862), Museo Contonale d’Arte (PD-Art, PD-Old 100)

Pontius Pilate served as the Roman prefect of Judea from AD 26 to 36.

Pilate is mentioned in the four canonical Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), by the Roman historian Tacitus, by the Jewish historians Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, and others.  What we remember about Pilate, however, is his involvement in the trial of Christ.

Those familiar with the Gospels will recall the details of that trial:  how Pilate inquired whether Christ was an earthly king, in rebellion against Rome; how Pilate declared having found no fault in Christ; how Pilate offered to set Christ free for the crowd; how Pilate washed his hands, in a futile gesture proclaiming his innocence of Christ’s blood.

But it is Pilate’s question about truth that has echoed down the ages.

Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’

Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’

Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’

As the prisoner stood before him, Pilate undoubtedly thought that he held Christ’s fate in his hands.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Christians know that Christ went willingly to His death (Ps. 40: 7-8; Matt. 26; 42; John 10: 11, 15, 17-18); that the plan of Salvation pre-dated the existence of the world (1 Pet. 1: 20; Rev. 13: 8).

It was not Christ who was on trial before Pilate.  It was Pilate who was on trial before Christ…Pilate and all those who believe what he believed about truth.  That truth is relative.  That truth can be manipulated.  That truth is irrelevant.

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life as surely now as He was 2000 years ago, when He stood before Pilate.  As surely as He will be, when we stand before Him.

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11 Comments
  1. Amen. On the day that we stand before Jesus,all of our concocted versions of truth will have withered away,leaving us no excuse. Sobering reality Anna.

  2. I have read this passage before but reading your post opened my eyes to see that Pilate asked a question that remains famous throughout the history of mankind, “What is the trurh?” Since the beginning of history, the strongest weapon that the devil has always used is manipulating the truth. He did it with Eve in the Garden and also with Pilate. As you pointed out, Pilate believed Christ was on trial before him and not vice versa. True bondage is believing the manipulations of the truth. No wonder Jesus said , “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
    Thanks for sharing, Anna.

    • You are a great encouragement to me, Gbolabo. 🙂 Though you address a wide range of topics as a poet — serious and otherwise — you invariably seek after truth. I gladly recommend your website gbolaboadentunji.wordpress.com to readers.

  3. Anna, your blog and your comment following have an interesting flow to them. Here is the context in John’s gospel:

    Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Are you the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it to you of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you unto me: what have you done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:33-36, KJ2000)

    Everywhere we look today we find corruption and spiritual wickedness in high places. Jesus did not deny He was a King. Pilate asked Him (paraphrased), “Your own people have rejected you and want me to kill you. What have you done?” To this Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of THIS world!” THAT was His offense! Jesus was marked to be a target of this world system and the prince of this world who governs it because of His allegiance to His Father. So it is with everyone in whom He dwells.

    In Him dwells all truth. The prince of this world was a liar and murder from the beginning and he manifests his will in all those who are his and that includes the news media and the governmental power brokers in all nations. As Jesus said to the leaders of the Jews,

    You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44, KJ2000)

    The question all of us need to ask is, “What kingdom am I of?” Like Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34, KJ2000) When we get all wrapped up in politics or are spun-up by the news media and the affairs of this world system, we should realize where our hearts are at and what kingdom we are of.

    “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” This is the prayer of our heavenly King for those caught up in the spirit of this world system. God help us.

  4. Interesting how 2000 years ago Jesus was Truth in the flesh living among men,
    yet the people failed to recognize this and demanded Pilate have Him crucified
    for claiming to be king! And still today, so many continue to deny Christ’s diety.
    So many denying even the existence of truth! And all the while, modern thinking
    makes every effort to uphold/justify any possible form of warped truth… sighhh…
    Truth is so obvious, once you know the Truth!

    Rejoicing with you in the knowledge of Truth this Palm Sunday, Anna 🎶🙏🌴😇✝ 🙂 💜 Jackie@KWH

    • All that is proof not of how far we’ve come, but how lost we are…and how desperately we need the Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ. Lots of love, Anna ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. “… Christ is the way, the truth, and the life as surely now as He was 2000 years ago, when He stood before Pilate.  As surely as He will be, when we stand before Him…”

    Amen.

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