TOPIC:“A Supreme Question Which Demands a Solemn Answer”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (27:22).
I want to begin this message with the thought-provoking question that Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, asked years ago. It is found in the words of our text: “What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?”
Now Pilate knew in his heart that Jesus should be released because He was an innocent man. And yet, he did not have the courage of his own convictions to release Him. Here we have the collapse of conscience of Pilate. He knew the right thing to do but he didn't have the courage to do the right thing. Though he had the power to release Him Pilate decided to let the crowd make the choice so his conscience would be free from the guilt.
It is interesting to trace out Pilate's step by step treatment of Jesus. Almost from the outset he was assured of Jesus' innocence. He acknowledged several times: “I find no fault in Him.” Pilate sought to release Him. We read: “And from then on Pilate sought to release Him” (John 19:12). Pilate was determined to release Him. Again we read: “When he was determined to let Him go” (Acts 3:13). And yet, in spite of it all, Pilate sentenced Jesus to death.
Notice his proposal in verse 21 before our text: “Which of the two will you that I release unto you.” The nature of this proposal at once reveals the unscrupulous character of him who made it. Pilate was afraid of offending the Jews, fearing that an uprising at that time would have brought him into disfavor with Caesar. So he sought the expedient ways out. He gave Jesus up to the crowd.
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