Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 14
April 5, 2021
If you were Pontius Pilate what would you have done?
I was raised to hate Pontius Pilate. For me, Good Friday was a day to trash-talk pilate and condemn his action. If you did not grow up with Bible stories, he is the Roman Governor, appointed by Caesar, who condemned Jesus to be crucified. I was taught that he was the worst human in history. When I grew up and studied the politics of the time of Jesus I began to wonder if this was completely true. Would any of us have done the same thing given the same circumstances?
Pilate was Governor of Judea, the southern part of Israel. Under his reign there had been two Jewish riots. He knew that riots cost the lives of many people. On Good Friday, Pilate was facing a riot, instigated by the temple elite, if he did not sentence Jesus to die. How many people would have died in those riots. Perhaps Pilate reasoned that to kill one person would save hundreds or even thousands. Would we do the same thing?
We fight wars under the assumption that more people would die without a war to end abuse and murder. Had someone killed Hitler in 1938, perhaps thirty million people would not have died in World War II. We dropped two atomic bombs on Japan under the assumption that killing two hundred thousand people would save one million lives who would have died in the invasion of Japan.
Police officers fire upon active shooters under the assumption that killing the shooter will save numerous lives. Wouldn’t any one of us seek to kill an assailant to rescue our loved ones from potential death?
This action of Pilate is not all that unique. He chose to kill one for the sake of saving others. Something others do, and we frequently endorse this. Good Friday isn’t about condemning Pilate. It is about thanking Jesus for volunteering for his death. Perhaps if we had been in Pilate’s circumstance we might have done just what he did.
I hope that we contemplate this during this Holy Season.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/