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Because of this Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release the man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Anyone who makes himself a king is defying Caesar.”
When Pilate heard this, he had Jesus brought outside to the place called Stone Floor – in Hebrew Gabbatha- and there he seated him in the judge’s seat. It was the Preparation Day for the Passover, about noon. So Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your king.” But they cried out, “Away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate replied, “Shall I crucify your King?” And the chief priest answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified, and they took charge of him. -John 19:12-16
I have the impression Pilate was a decent man, but of that brand of decency often encountered down the centuries, which is one of the cruelest scourges to afflict humanity: a decency which is allowed with weakness and with out the guts to proclaim and stand up for justice.
He Says He’s a King
I know all about justice. This man is innocent. I find nothing against him- You may not find anything against him. But don't forget, you're the governor and you're going to lose your job. For here comes the conclusive argument: 'He says he's a king, and those who claim to be kings are Caesar's enemies.'
Often we assume that Christ died solely for claiming to be the Son of God. But I think there were two factors. He did claim to be the Son of God and this shocked the high priests of Jewry. But he also proclaimed himself to be a king, and this was subversion against the governor, hence against Caesar.
I'm not passing judgment on Pilate but thinking rather of very large family of the Pilates, of Pilatism, of the decency that keeps quiet because it has no guts.
Easy to be Brave If…
I don't pass judgment on Pilate. I know it's easier to be brave or to put up a show of being brave, when one is comparatively free when one has no family responsibilities.
Why don't they speak?
But things are bad here on our continent, it's easy for us to get accused of being subversives and communisists, when we try to stand up for the human rights of those who are being crushed. Many, many people know we are neighter subversives nor communists. Why don't they say anything? Why don't they speak up and defend us?
But the point also has to be grasped: many people aren't in the kind of position that allows them to be brave or to make a stand. We have to grasp this and put up with being misjudged.