“Pilate [asked], ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They answered, ‘If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.’ So Pilate entered his headquarters again and said to [Jesus], ‘Are you the King of the Jews?.. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ Then Pilate said, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’ He went back outside to the Jews and told them, ‘I find no guilt in him.’
“Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him… The chief priests and officers cried out, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate said, ‘Crucify him [yourselves], for I find no guilt in him.’ The Jews answered, ‘According to [our] law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
“From then on Pilate sought to release him,.. for he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.’ But the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend.’ So Pilate brought Jesus out and… said, ‘Shall I crucify your King? Why? I have found in him no guilt deserving death.’ But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.” John 18:29-30,33,35-38; 19:1,6-8,12-15; Matthew 27:18-19; Luke 23:22-24
Though he had no evidence for, and several specific warnings and divine evidence against, Pilate chose to have Jesus crucified. The crowd’s shouting held greater sway than Jesus’s words. We judge him as weak, and pity his crowd-pleasing, but where is our guilt?
Every day we choose how to treat Jesus. We put Him on trial in our thinking and behaving. We accuse Him of cruelty or injustice when He withholds what we want or think we need. We judge as malevolent His way of doing business when it includes suffering, or waiting. In conversation, we fret and fear, and so cast doubt on His love, faithfulness, and goodness. We say He’s King, but resist His rule and fear surrender and what it might require. We say we trust God, but allow the incessant vocal ‘crowd’ of news and opinion to undermine His majesty and rightful authority over all things seen and unseen.
When presented with Jesus, how do we respond? If He is really divine and holds all authority, are we trusting Him with all aspects of our life? Is our fear of man or disease or loss greater than our reverent fear of the Almighty? Where are we weak like Pilate? Are we bold enough to ask Jesus to reveal our vulnerable places, then act on the truth? (John 19:21-22)
O Lord, may I courageously live what I believe about You. Guard me from fear of the crowd or any voice except Yours. Keep me fearing and revering You alone and above all.