Delivery Plan • Pilate
Lorna Lyman | Secretary

Pontius Pilate was a Roman religious official. He was appointed to his position in 26 AD. He was governor of Judea. His two main jobs were to keep order in the country and make sure all taxes were collected and sent to Rome. He held this position for about ten years. Pilate was a stubborn, cruel man and had very little respect for the Jewish people. Most of Judea hated the Romans.

An uprising could develop quickly over a small dispute. This happened quite often during Passover. Roman governors were always present during the Passover, and Pilate wanted to keep the peace. Pilate was very careful about avoiding the Jewish religious leaders unless they threatened him personally.

The Jewish leaders delivered Jesus to Pilate’s residence hoping that Pilate would grant his execution. John 18:29-30 says, “So Pilate went outside to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They answered him, ‘If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.’” Under the Roman law they did not have enough evidence that Jesus is guilty of any capital offense; therefore, they are having a hard time convincing Pilate that Jesus should be put to death.

The story continues in John chapter 18:33-38. Pilate and Jesus had a conversation. Pilate started to question Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus explained to him that He is a King, but His kingdom is not of this world. If He were of this world, His servants would fight to save Him. Pilate asked, “So you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king” and went on to tell Pilate that His purpose of coming to earth was to bear witness to the truth. Pilate then questioned Jesus, “What is truth?” Pilate fails to see that he is standing face to face with the One who said, “I am the truth.” Pilate is spiritually blind to the truth that is right in front of him. Pilate is about to deliver Jesus to His death.

Pilate lacked interest in Jesus’ case and just wanted it to go away. Unfortunately, he is up against an angry mob. It was the custom at the Feast of the Passover for Pilate to release a prisoner. Since he did not think Jesus was guilty, he decided to give the people two choices: Jesus, the king of the Jews or Barabbas a robber and a murderer. The Jewish chief priests and elders had gathered enough people to be on their side to ask for Barabbas to be freed and for Jesus to be killed. The angry crowd shouted for Jesus to be crucified and for Barabbas to be freed.

Pilate then has a second conversation with Jesus (John 19:9-11). He asks Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus does not answer. Pilate asks, “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” Once again Pilate remained convinced that Jesus was not guilty. He continued to try and release Jesus. The Jews and religious leaders continued to oppose Pilate and shout, “Crucify him.” There was an uprising starting, and if he did not handle it properly, it would harm his political career. Finally, Pilate feeling like he had no other choice, gave into their demand and released Barabbas. He took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd (Matthew 27:24). This was a symbolic gesture in that he did not believe Jesus deserved death and did not approve of His crucifixion. However, this does not release him from his guilt for taking part in the death of Jesus. He delivered Jesus over to the Jews to be put to death, and he aided in their plans by having Roman soldiers conduct the crucifixion. Pilate delivered Jesus to His death knowing that Jesus was innocent.

Without Pilate sentencing Jesus to death, Jesus would not have fulfilled Scripture that he had to die on the cross for our sins. It was to restore the fullness of the righteousness of God that was planned for us. God ordained Jesus to go to Calvary.

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