Pontius Pilate was Judea’s Roman procurator or prefect between 26 and 36 AD. The characterization of Pilate, as it appears in the New Testament writings, agrees with other historical accounts: Philo and Josephus Flavius portray him as a terrible and sinister character. But is Pontius Pilate a saint?
Pontius Pilate is not considered a saint because the Bible tells us that only Jesus Christ was a saint. But Pilate is regarded as a hero of the Christian faith who suffered martyrdom. The conversation between Pilate and Jesus was one in which he was trying to get Jesus to deny that he had claimed blasphemy. Still, Jesus said that indeed He is the only Son of God who will one day come in the clouds of Heaven accompanied by His angels² and who will judge the dead and the living, and the world whose Kingdom will have no end.
For centuries, Pilate was known only from a few historical sources and books of the New Testament. The four evangelists mention him as being involved in the trial¹ and condemnation of Christ. Even the Symbol of Faith or Creed, written in the 4th century, refers to this historical figure: “in the days of Pontius Pilate.”
Biography of Pilate
[table id=4 /]
What does Pilate say to Jesus?
Apocryphal Christian literature includes several works referring to the Roman procurator of Judea, Pilate of Pontus. One of the characteristics of these writings is the tendency to exaggerate and amplify³ the participation of this Roman official in the miracles, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ. In the context of the conflict between the Roman Empire and the Christians evident in the first four centuries, the authors of these writings turned Pilate’s attitude into an apologetic weapon, presenting it as a manifestation of faith in his deity.
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the emperor of the Jews?” and said to the Messiah, “Do you not know that I have the power to deliver you?”.
Pilate goes down in history as the most excellent unjust judge who consciously condemned the One he declared and found innocent to death. He had a good command of Roman law and was willing to apply it. But faced with the great test of life, Pilate gets it wrong. And he errs not from ignorance but from weakness, fear, and bad planning. Trying to reconcile their conscience and the world, he accepts compromises that will ultimately lead him to his fatal mistake.
What did Jesus confess to Pilate?
The trial before Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea, begins on the morning of Friday, 14 Nisan. It takes place in the Praetorium, the courtroom, located either in the old palace of Herod the Idumean, in the southwest part of the city, or the Antonia fortress, in the northwest neighborhood of the temple. The praetorium had a large courtyard and a stone-paved road. On this was the courthouse seat. Jesus is brought here under arrest, bound and guarded by the host, like a typical villain.
Jesus confessed to Pilate that He was the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Nazareth. The governor was wrong when he weighed temporal and eternal interests between standing on the side of truth or compromise and defending justice or selling it out.
Pilate does not know he will meet Jesus again at the final judgment. The two will face each other one last time, and this time Jesus will ask him questions. Pilate will weep that he has lost eternity, and Jesus will weep that he has lost a son. He was wrong because even after Jesus’ death, he did not humble himself and seek reconciliation with God. Jesus died for everyone, including Judas and Pilate.
Key Verse related to Pontius Pilate
When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor.
What did Pontius Pilate say to the crowd about Jesus?
The trial before the prosecutor occurs in a completely different atmosphere than before the synod. Pilate patiently examines Jesus and, finding Him not guilty, tries to acquit Him. But the crowd demands his crucifixion under the influence of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, and the elders of the people. The members of the Sanhedrin replaced the religious accusations raised in bad faith against Jesus with political charges.
Pontius Pilate said to the crowd that he found no guilt in this man and that it was their choice to crucify Him.
Barabbas, the thief, should have been crucified on the cross in the middle. It is possible that the robbers crucified on either side were his associates. Barabbas was not his first name but his surname. Bar meant his son, just as Simon bar Jonah meant Simon’s son of Jonah. Many early manuscripts list Barabbas’ first name as Yeshua. Yeshua was a common name at the time, meaning “Yahweh saves.” Thus, Barabbas’ name went along the lines of “Yahweh saves, son of the father.”
What did Pontius Pilate say before Jesus died?
It is said that from the perspective of Jesus’ crucifixion, there is no neutral ground for human beings. Ultimately, we will be on one side or the other. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Categorical words that may make people a little uncomfortable. We are either on the side of Jesus or the side of Satan.
Pilate’s statement before Jesus died was that he was not responsible for the death of this innocent man, even washing his hands in front of the crowd⁴, because he knew it was wrong.
Pontius Pilate is not a saint, and he was wrong. Unless under the influence of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin, people will inevitably make bad spiritual choices, as the crowd here did. We all choose between Christ and Barabbas, Christ and the corrupt world, and between life and death. And this judgment lies in the fact that once the Light came into the world, people loved darkness more than light because their deeds were evil.
Is Pontius Pilate a saint?
- Scripture recalls it on the occasion of the trial of Jesus by Pilate, who defends Jesus.
- Pilate is the one guilty of Jesus’ death because it was from his hand that He could have escaped crucifixion.
- Claudia Procula shows extraordinary courage. She interrupts the work of the great governor Pilate with a message from God. A statement that was supposed to prevent Pilate from doing injustice. Claudia Procula spoke out against injustice, even if it was eventually done.
Pontius Pilate is not a saint and wanted to use the striking moral and human contrast between Christ and Barabbas to awaken in the people a sense of justice and sympathy for Jesus. “Which one do you want me to unbind? Barabbas or Jesus, who is called Christ?”. Although Pilate did not consider himself guilty, he was because he could have let Jesus go.