Lesson Thirteen | Devotion #5: Pontius Pilate
Caleb Combs | Gathering Pastor
The Bible is full of people who changed the world. Some have made a difference in positive ways, some negative. Some did it in obvious ways, others not so obvious. Then there are the guys who kind of fall in the middle of all of those categories. Pontius Pilate was one of those guys. Pilate was governor of the Roman province of Judea. The Romans ruled many territories and placed their chosen leadership in conquered or ruled lands, and Pilate was their guy during Jesus’ ministry. He was very important in Judea, but how was he a world changer?
There is value in looking a little deeper into his life. Caiaphas, the High Priest, along with many others who hated Jesus and wanted to see Him killed, took their case to Pilate, knowing that he had the final say in the matter. But Pilate was not so sure. The Bible tells us in John 18 (and in all of the other Gospels) that Pilate lobbied for the release of Jesus because he did not see any fault in Him. The crowd roared in rage at these statements, because they wanted blood. He had a choice to make- should he defy the crowd and release an innocent man, or order His crucifixion?
Pilate was in the decision-making chair, and he held the precious life of Jesus Christ in his hands. Or so he thought. In John 19:10-11a we see Pilate asking Jesus, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” Jesus makes a ground breaking statement to a Roman ruler here, telling him that he had no authority over Him. We can go back and forth over the story of whether or not Pilate should have released Jesus (I would encourage you to read John chapters 18 and 19), but we always should come to the same conclusion. Pilate was put in place to be used by God to save our sins. You see, Pilate did not sentence Jesus to death, Jesus willingly laid His life down. John 10:17-18 (NIV) shows us the words of Jesus, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” Jesus is clear that He has the authority and He loves you and me so much that He laid down His life for us. Pilate did not take it, and neither did the Romans soldiers who put the spikes through His hands or the Jews who demanded they do so. Jesus came to this earth on a mission and Pilate was put in place to help complete the mission of God. Now he may have thought he had the authority, but ultimately Jesus gives and takes authority.
I am not sure what is happening in your life today, but the word I want you to think about it trust. Trust in God’s plan. It may not be what you think it should be, but trust me when I tell you that God’s plan is perfect. Every detail is thought out and has been ordained before the foundations of the world. There are no surprises to God. Pilate was put in place to change the world, and some may have thought he missed his opportunity. However, I am here today to tell you he changed my world by playing a part in the shedding of the blood that paid for my sin and I am forever thankful for the blood that was shed for me.