Monday, April 14, 2014

Am I Pilate?

Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38)

Pilate is full of questions for Jesus - "Are you a king?", "Are you the king of the Jews", "Where are you from?", and finally, the infamous "What is truth?" In his interrogation of Jesus, you can almost hear the desperation in his voice. Here is a man caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, desperately looking to make the decision that will bring the least amount of personal and political harm to himself. He is so entrenched in his own world that he cannot or will not recognize Jesus as the truth that he seeks. Yet, there is something compelling for him about Jesus. He clearly recognizes Jesus' innocence and his questions suggest that he recognizes in Jesus something more.

Catholic Encyclopedia describes Pilate as "...a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened."

Perhaps we identify with Pilate this Holy Week. We may be in a place where cultural or societal pressures are leading us to "wash our hands" of Jesus and go along with the whims of the crowds shouting around us. We may be tempted to give in to these external pressures and ignore the nagging voice in our heart which cries out "What is truth?"

I am so confused. All my life I have been taught to live one way. I understand the rules of my world. But now, you, Jesus are standing in front of me and all my prior assumptions are being challenged. My world is coming apart around me and I am in a no-win situation. If I believe you, Jesus, then my career and, more than likely, my life as I know it will be over. If I don't believe you, I fear I will be making the biggest mistake of my life. Is there an answer these questions that haunt me? Are you the answer, Jesus?

Read more Who am I? Reflections here...
Am I the Centurion?
Am I the Good Thief?
Am I Simon?
Am I Peter?


  1. Pontius Pilate is the one person in the Passion narrative I identify with the most. I can almost see everything that's going on in his mind, the mixture of insecurity of his position, the wanting to be fair and just, the need to find an efficient solution to the immediate crises, and yet wanting to believe in the supranatural being of Jesus. I do think of him often during the holy week events. May God have had mercy on him.

    1. Thanks for writing Manny. I too am very sympathetic to Pilate. He did not have it easy. I pray he was able to repent-although I guess this side if eternity we will never know that. God bless your Holy Week.

  2. So true! I think we all have experienced that "Pilate moment" when we struggled to do the right thing because of the cost. This was a great reminder to ask for God's race to make the right choice. :-)

    1. Thanks for reading Bobbi! A blessed Holy Week to you!

  3. Pilate is my guy

  4. I've always felt bad for Pilate. His hands were tied by the people. I wish we knew the rest of his story. Did he think about Jesus long after the crucifixion? Did he convert? I know there are some conflicting records in the history, but I hope that this man was eventually able to recognize the truth that he sought.