28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning. The Jewish leaders did not want to be made “unclean.” They wanted to be able to eat the Passover meal. So they did not enter the palace. 29 Pilate came out to them. He asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “He has committed crimes,” they replied. “If he hadn’t, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves. Judge him by your own law.” “But we don’t have the right to put anyone to death,” they complained. 32 This happened so that what Jesus said about how he was going to die would come true. 33 Then Pilate went back inside the palace. He ordered Jesus to be brought to him. Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea?” Jesus asked. “Or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not from this world. If it were, those who serve me would fight. They would try to keep the Jewish leaders from arresting me. My kingdom is from another place.” 37 “So you are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, that’s the reason I was born. I was born and came into the world to be a witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” Pilate replied. Then Pilate went out again to the Jews gathered there. He said, “I find no basis for any charge against him. 39 But you have a practice at Passover time. At that time, you ask me to set one prisoner free for you. Do you want me to set ‘the king of the Jews’ free?” 40 They shouted back, “No! Not him! Give us Barabbas!” Barabbas had taken part in an armed struggle against the country’s rulers.
This passage fascinates me because of the personalities and the interactions. Here is Jesus the most powerful man in the entire universe being quizzed, interrogated by a man who thinks he has all the power.
It is a classic situation of not being aware of who you are speaking to!
Pilate, who clearly is full of himself, arrogant, self assured to a fault, doesn’t perceive in whose company he is in. How often have I done the same? All too often to be true.
Humility is a wonderful thing – it gives us the ability to perceive when we are the student even of those who, on first glance, we may think we have little to learn from. The younger, the older, the ancient, the less intelligent, the socially inept – whatever group of people I discount, you discount, and we all do. Perhaps we are blinded by our position like Pilate and so do not perceive those around us correctly.
I am not sure the outcome would have been any different if Pilate had been humble, let’s face it the Pharisees really had it in for Jesus and God’s plan was for Him to die, but perhaps we would see Pilate in a very different light.
Father help me to be humble, even when I perceive I know/understand/deserve more than those who surround me.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta