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Don Stewart :: Who Was Pontius Pilate?

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Don Stewart

Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36. Although Pilate's residence was in Caesarea he was in Jerusalem for the time of the Passover. It was at that time that Jesus was brought before him.

Jesus Made No Defense Before Pilate

Pilate marveled that Jesus did not attempt to defend Himself.

Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge - to the great amazement of the governor (Matthew 27:13,14).

Pilate Admitted Jesus Was Innocent

Pilate told the crowd that Jesus was innocent.

You are a king, then! said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him" (John 18:37-39).

Pilate Tried To Release Jesus

Pilate attempted to release Jesus.

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar" (John 19:12).

Yet the crowd was loudly calling for His death.

Pilate Denied Responsibility In Jesus' Death

Pilate tried to put the responsibility of Jesus' death on others.

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!" (Matthew 27:19).

He believed this would absolve him of any role in the matter. Pilate Handed Him Over For Death

Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.

Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified (Mark 15:15).

Pilate Could Not Deny His Responsibility

Although Pilate wanted to absolve himself of responsibility for the death of Jesus, the Apostle Paul later emphasized that Jesus went before Pilate.

In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession (1 Timothy 6:13).

Pilate could not deny responsibility. The Testimony Of The Christian Creeds

Pilate's role in the death of Jesus has never been forgotten. Whenever the Apostles' Creed is recited the words, "crucified under Pontius Pilate" remind the world of his responsibility. Pilate can never escape his role in Jesus' death.

New Evidence Found Concerning Pilate During the summer of 1961 Italian archaeologists excavated an ancient theater in Caesarea in Israel. They discovered a two-by-three-foot inscribed stone. The inscription read:
Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, has presented the Tiberieum to the Caesareans.
This was the first archaeological evidence of the existence of Pontius Pilate. Summary

Pontius Pilate, the prefect of Judea from A.D. 26 to 36, sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. Although he wished to set Jesus free he gave in to the large crowd who wanted Jesus dead. Pilate tried to absolve himself of any blame in the matter yet the New Testament, as well as the creeds of the church all recognized that Jesus Christ was crucified by a decree of Pontius Pilate. The New Testament says nothing about Pilate after Jesus' death. In 1961 an inscription was found in Israel in the city of Caesarea that had Pilate's name on it. This was the first archaeological evidence that Pilate existed.

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