Pontius Pilate and his role in the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever wondered about Pontius Pilate and the role he played in the crucifixion of Christ? I have wondered ever since childhood. I grew up in a very Catholic home wondering how we became Roman Catholics. This never made any sense to me since it was the Romans who at the Jews behest put Jesus to death on the cross. It wasn’t until I got much older and realized I had a passion for theology that I found a good basis for the answer.
Pontius Pilate suffered much after the death of Christ. Some say he even committed suicide over it. If there were any historic figure from the past I could meet; Pilate would be that person. I always felt history was kind to him, and that he must have been a good man even though we all know what happened because of him. His wife, Claudia Procula even implored him to leave that man alone for she had dreams of Jesus that troubled her.
A rather interesting fact is that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize Pilate or Claudia Procula as saints, but other Catholic denominations do. The Greek Orthodox Church commemorates Claudia Procula on October 27th. Pontius Pilate and Claudia Procula are both canonized saints in the Abyssinian Church and they are commemorated on June 25th.
Pilate decides Jesus is under Herod's jurisdiction
"We have no King but Caesar." "Crucify him, Crucify him, Crucify him.". These are some of the cries that Pilate had to withstand from the mob he faced.
Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests of Jerusalem basically trumped up charges against Jesus, because he was a threat to them. He did not follow their teachings to the tee. One crime was healing on the Sabbath, and another was saying that he was sent from the Father. They threatened Pilate, after Pilate pleaded for mercy for this man who had done nothing wrong. They threatened to tell Caesar, basically blackmailing Pilate. At this time Caesar was the highest power so Pilate could be in trouble if he let someone who claimed to be the King of the Jews go. Do you see Pilate's predicament? Pilate at last relented for his own sake, and trying to spare himself from his own guilt washed his hands of the matter.
Before Pilate once again after Herod dismisses Jesus
The sky went black and the moon was red as blood.
We know that there were wondrous occurrences in the skies as Christ died on the cross along with two other criminals on that frightful Friday afternoon.
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. … And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” – Matthew 27:45, 27:51-54
The sixth hour was noon and the ninth hour was three, and many people have taken this to be a major solar eclipse, but that is not possible. It could not be, because Passover is a festival held at the full moon while a solar eclipse can only happen during a new moon. This truly troubled the Judeans and Pilate. After the crucifixion according to Pilate the moon was blood red. He was so distraught he went back to Annas and Caiaphas and demanded from them an explanation.
“After this, Pilate going into the temple of the Jews, assembled all the chief priests, and learned men, and scribes, and teachers of the law, and went in with them into the sanctuary of the temple, and ordered that all the gates should be shut, and said to them: We have heard that you have a certain great collection of books in this temple: therefore I ask you that it be presented before us. And when four officers brought in that collection of books, adorned with gold and precious gems, Pilate said to all: I adjure you by the God of your fathers, who ordered you to build this temple in the place of his sanctuary, not to conceal the truth from me. You all know what is written in that collection of books; but now say whether you have found in the writings that Jesus, whom you have crucified, to be the Son of God that was to come for the salvation of the human race, and in how many revolutions of the seasons he ought to come. Declare to me whether you crucified him in ignorance of this, or knowing it.” Acts of Pilate 12:28
This all makes for interesting reading
I know very few people who read more than the given scriptures. Many people cannot even find the time to read the Bible, yet alone ask them to read something more. Until about 15 years ago, I myself wasn't even aware that there were many other books that could have been in the Bible, but that over the course of time they either became lost, hidden, or non-canonical for whatever reasons? All of these books just add to our knowledge, and this one in particularly,The Acts of Pilate, is downright interesting.
I cannot help but think that Pilate really believed Jesus was the Messiah after the fact, and that his powerful influence didn’t really come into play in the early formation of what today is called The Holy Roman Catholic Church. Pilate really didn't want to kill Christ, and I can only imagine the anger he must have felt afterwards. It is all there for you to read. Why do we not have this in the New Testament today? I do not know, but I have included the Acts of Pilate for those interested in learning some more about their faith.
© Margaret Bennett