The Pride of Pilate
What is pride and how do we recognize it in our lives? There is a good kind of pride that allows us to feel joy or confidence in our lives and achievements of those we love, but there is also a not so good pride they can lead to selfish thoughts and actions. Though he was clear that he found Jesus to be innocent of all crimes, Pontius Pilate allowed pride in his own life and position to prevent him from stopping the crucifixion.
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I recommend reading John 19:1-24 along with this devotional
“So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.”
Power and pride many times go hand-in-hand. When one holds power of any kind in their life, it’s hard to let go of the power and live with the uncertainty of the future. As believers, we cling to faith in Christ and hold onto the promises that He has set for us, knowing that we are saved and we have a future in heaven with Him. Pride can unfortunately still slip into our lives and distract us from that faith, causing us to want to hold onto the things of this world and not those of the next.
“Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?””
Pilot was not a believer, and definitely not a fan of the Jewish people. His pride was in his position, his power, and his reputation. though he found no fault in Jesus and had no evidence to prove him guilty of any crime, his pride would not allow him to sacrifice his worldly gains in order to save the King of Kings.
“While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.””
Pilate's wife wanted nothing to do with Jesus' conviction, calling him a “just man“ in her message to her husband about the dreams she was having involving Jesus. Though Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus, he bowed to the public pressure by allowing the crucifixion to continue. In a show of his disapproval he publicly washed his hands of the situation and placed a sign above the cross declaring Jesus to be “the king of the Jews“.
“But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.”
It is not known, if Pilate had remorse over its actions. It is not known if he truly believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but though he clearly feared Him, that fear did not stop him from putting his pride above all else. Pilate's actions are a great example of how easy it is to put pride above our faith. Although he was not a believer, he was faced with a familiar decision, knowing what he should do, and the choice to do what would serve him best in his political position.
The lesson I hope to learn from the example of the pride of Pilate, it’s not to allow my pride to keep me from making the right decisions. As we ever approach the return of the king, the world turns more and more away from Jesus Christ and all that He stands for. Those of us who stand strong in our faith, trying to live as representatives of our Lord and a miracle of His sacrifice, will continue to have greater opposition. I pray that we will all put our faith first. I pray that when the enemy knocks on our doors, we will stand ready with an answer, ready to declare our faith in Jesus, ready to dispel our pride and face the hate of this world.
Crafting through the Bible