Pontius Pilate seemed important—Rome’s highest official in Jerusalem. Jesus seemed insignificant—a poor, traveling preacher despised and rejected by the leaders of his own faith community. Who could have guessed that today most of us wouldn’t know Pontius Pilate’s name except for his sad role in condemning Jesus?
• The religious leaders hated tax collectors for working with Rome. Now they pleaded with the Roman procurator to help them silence Jesus. Have you ever seen (or been) a person who was willing to use bad means to achieve a purpose that seemed good? From God’s perspective, who was really on trial— Jesus, or Pilate and the religious leaders, who refused to acknowledge Jesus as their king?
My spell check doesn’t know Pontius. I find it completely ironic that the only reason we know his name at all is because of his role in Jesus’ trial. Sure he was the face of the most dominate power in the world at the time, but we wouldn’t know Pontius either if it wasn’t for Jesus, a preacher from a backwoods town, whose power came from weakness and service to others.
We don’t know too much about Pontius and apart from this brief time with Jesus we would know far less if anything at all. The GPS asks who was really on trial, “Jesus, or Pilate, and the religious leaders” I don’t know if this is really a helpful question. In someways this trial is a trial where each of us has stood when we do not acknowledge Jesus as the king of our lives and choices.
It is also because of this trial, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we too are known. In baptism, our sinful selves are put to death and are raised in Christ and we are known as the very children of God!