Just before Jesus was crucified, He stood before Pontius Pilate to be judged. Would He be found worthy of the death penalty? Or would He be released? The bogus charges under which He was arrested had Pilate wondering just what Jesus could have done to create such a ruckus. While questioning Him, Pilate turned to the crowd and asked the world’s most important question—a question every person has to answer: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
You don’t get to be the Roman governor of Judea by being a fool. In the foreign culture he’d been assigned to, Pilate knew something else was afoot. What was the political force driving this near-riot? He was determined to keep the peace. All must be kept under control. Word of a disturbance must not get back to Rome. He would be held responsible by Caesar.
What a choice confronted him. In one hand, Pilate held an innocent man. In the other, a raging mob. Mob rule shouted, “Crucify Him!” Reason said, “Release him.” Pilate must judge: “What’s to be done with Jesus?”
Pilate had sense enough to know the religious leaders were up to something underhanded. Angry voices demanded his attention. He should have listened not to the clamor of the crowd, but to the voices closest to him:
- the voice of reason
- the voice of a loved one
- the voice his own conscience
- the voice of Jesus Himself, who told Pilate why He had come into this world in the first place.
Pilate would have to overcome public opinion, his own pride, his love of power, and his cherished position to rule justly. The same is true of each of us. You and I will have to judge as well. No greater question demands an answer.
Pilate made a tragic decision. Don’t make the same mistake. What will happen to you on the Day of Judgment depends on how you answer this greatest of all questions. Not what somebody else answers, but what you answer. Your destiny depends upon it
If you say, “I think I just won’t answer,” you don’t get that choice. If you say, “I’m not going to decide,” you just made a decision.
Everyone will either accept or reject, confess or deny, crown or crucify Jesus. And in so doing, they will be judging Jesus. No one can be neutral. You will do something.
So what was Pilate’s ruling? What influences overpowered his sense of justice and led him to the wrong decision? And what will be the eternal consequences for him?
Pilate should have listened to testimony from the most prominent characters in this drama, from Jesus’ closest friends, to His enemies, to His own testimony, and finally to the testimony of Almighty God. Here Pilate could have found the truth.
The early disciples found the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” and believed it. Many died for their faith. But they had rock-solid assurance of who Jesus was: the Son of God.
Now it’s time for you to judge. You’ll decide either to crown Him or crucify Him, acknowledge or reject Him, receive or deny Him. You will make a decision. You cannot wash your hands. You cannot be neutral. What will you do with Christ?