When Christ was put on trial before Pilate, the Roman governor repeatedly declared His innocence—and yet he paired his declarations with dreadful acts against Him.
Pilate said, “I find no guilt in him”—and then handed Jesus over to be brutally flogged, a beating so intense that it sometimes caused gashes and lacerations where veins, arteries, and internal organs would be exposed.
Pilate said, “I find no guilt in him”—and then let the soldiers humiliate Jesus with a mock coronation, placing a crown of thorns upon His head, dressing Him up, and scornfully “worshiping” Him.
Pilate said, “I find no guilt in him”—but did he release Jesus? No, he surrendered Jesus to a vicious execution squad to be killed.
There was never a more tormented individual that met Christ than Pilate. Here was a man of great power but who lacked the courage to stand by his convictions. Here was a man of great success but who compromised, showing himself under the trappings of his position to be a coward. Here was a governor who was governed by his own weaknesses.
We cannot be passive or indecisive regarding who Christ is to us. Is He the Savior or is He no one? To abstain from a decision about this, as Pilate sought to do, is to abstain from Christ altogether.
Pilate stands as a challenge to each of us. His conduct compels us to ask ourselves: In what situations do I, like Pilate, know the right thing to do in some way and yet fear what other people will say if I do it? Are there ways in which my words or conduct are governed more by the expectations and reaction of others, or by considerations of wealth, position, or promotion, than by the commands of Christ?
Let’s not compromise on our position regarding Christ. If we let the opinions of our colleagues, our neighbors, or our families concern us too much, we may find ourselves giving up forgiveness, peace, heaven, and Christ Himself in exchange for an easier life now. Instead, let’s be brave.
Look again at Christ: flogged, mocked, and killed out of love for you. Then look at those who, perhaps vociferously or perhaps politely, scoff at His truth. Who would you rather offend? Whose “well done” would you rather hear?