God’s plan of redemption stretches back before time. God foreknew man’s sinful desire to elevate self. God planned for the redemption of man and accomplished every detail of that plan because he is in control of the events of history. Daniel 2:21 “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”
It is no accident that Rome controlled Judea or that Pilate was the governor. It isn’t karma that Pilate got what he deserved because of his harsh treatment of the Jews, and it isn’t mere coincidence that Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at Passover. God foretold minute details regarding Jesus’ life and death hundreds of years before his incarnation. God provided the evidence that proved Jesus was the Messiah. John recorded his eyewitness testimony so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, we may have life in his name (John 20:31).
19:12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
The Jewish leaders knew Pilate’s weakness and weren’t afraid to go there. They challenged Pilate’s loyalty to Caesar if he released Jesus. Pilate recognized that there was no threat to Caesar, but felt the very real threat to his own position and security. At this point, Pilate must’ve been painfully aware that he was on trial just as much as Jesus was, and that he was not in control. Pilate knew from experience that the Jews were willing to die for their religion, so he caved to their demands. If only Pilate had realized that he was actually on trial before God.
19:13 … he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement … 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Pilate’s rejection of the Truth of Jesus Christ had eternal consequences.
God knows the heart of every man and sovereignly orchestrates the events of history to accomplish his purpose and fulfill his Word. Pilate had a reputation for executing untried prisoners. He was oppressive, greedy, and stubborn. God chose Pilate to be the one presiding over Jesus’ trial. He foreknew Pilate’s rejection of Jesus. God could’ve allowed Jesus to be executed without the Roman trial. It was by God’s grace that Jesus revealed the truth of his identity to Pilate. Jesus called Pilate to himself and gave him every opportunity to respond in faith. Pilate had a choice, but his heart was calloused and indifferent. Pilate suppressed the desire to do what was right, so he could maintain his position.
Like Pilate, many refuse to fully commit to Jesus and openly confess Him as Lord. Many fear the cost to their reputation or position in the world. The decision facing Pilate was costly. Would he risk his comfortable life for the sake of eternal life? We will all be held accountable for our response to the Truth. Those who respond rightly will be freed from the penalty and power of sin. But those who reject the deity of Jesus will share Pilate’s fate.
What is your response to the Truth? Are you willing to risk rejection by the world for the sake of the Truth? One thing is sure: in Christ, you will never be rejected. He willingly shed his blood so we could be cleansed of all our sin and live for righteousness.