Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Station V: Jesus Judged by Pilate

And so we have this man Pontius Pilatus, the fifth Prefect of Judaea. Only very recently did it occur to me that after the person of Jesus of Nazareth and the Blessed Virgin Mary - that Pilate has the rather odd claim to fame of being the only other human named in any of the Christian creeds. No Apostles, no Mary Magdala, no Peter, no Caiaphas, no centurion, just this Roman middle-manager. 

For me, Pontius Pilate represents the leaders of the world. This otherwise little known Italian man who was reluctant to condemn Jesus has become the physical and historical hook for the entire Gospel account. Pilate contextualises the rest of what we see, hear and read. 

It is easy to paint this man as indecisive and weak, and perhaps rightly so - but only from the perspective as those never having been national leaders can we make that assessment. In church life, we deride our Archbishops, and in our national life our politicians. How easy it is to judge the judges when we are spared the great burdens that these individuals have been caused to carry. Were we placed into the shoes of this Roman Prefect, with the clamor of Jews and conspiracies of those around us - would we have save Jesus?

Pilate asked them, 'Why, what evil has he done?' But they shouted all the more, 'Crucify him!' [Mk 15: 14]

My prayer at this Station is for the leaders of the world and those who carry the burden of leading our nations. I pray for our decision makers; for wisdom and discernment

Lord Jesus, you were condemned to death for political expediency:
be with those who are imprisoned for the convenience of the powerful.
You were the victim of unbridled injustice:
change the minds and motivations of oppressors and exploiters to your
way of peace.
To you, Jesus, innocent though condemned,
be honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever. Amen


  1. I've never thought of Pilate as weak or indecisive. He was faced with a horrendous dilemma in a situation where for Rome to maintain control depended on a finely balance system of collaboration with local religious leaders and puppet kings. He had responsibility for keeping the peace. He was faced with a man he saw as good, but who was condemned by the religious leaders and the mob. If he saved Jesus (as if he could!) a riot might have followed and that could have cased more shedding of innocent blood. He made the 'expedient' decision. I wouldn't have wanted to be in his shoes. Political leaders even now are facing similar difficult decisions - save one or save many? You're right, we should pray for leaders of the nations.

  2. Just to say thank you for posting these, David.



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