Hello, My Name is Pilate

It’s Good Friday today: the day Christians set aside in remembrance of Christ’s death. We owe eternal gratitude to Jesus for his sacrifice on our behalf, but another figure from the crucifixion story is on my mind today, too: Pontius Pilate.

Today is Jesus’s day, but I think we’d do well today to remember Pilate, too. Not for his historical contributions or righteousness, but because of all the people who played a part in Christ’s final days on earth, Pilate’s the one with which I most identify.

See, Pilate isn’t the one who actually killed Jesus. He only gave the order; it was the Roman soldiers who did the dirty work. Pilate actually tried to convince the Jews to free Jesus and crucify somebody else: a criminal named Barabbas. In the end, though, as the guy in the charge, no amount of symbolic hand-washing will change the fact that Jesus died because of Pilate’s order.

Just the same, we’re not directly responsible for Christ’s death, at least in the sense that we are centuries removed from the day of his death and played no part in his actual crucifixion. Like Pilate, though, we are the reason Jesus died. He died for us. If not for our sin, Jesus would have had no reason to sacrifice himself.

Jesus’ death on the cross represents a debt payed. It also serves as an indictment to believers: we are freed from the shackles of sin for a reason: to live life more abundantly and to go represent the light and love of God in the world.

This year, as you celebrate Good Friday and Easter, I encourage you to remember Pilate and to think of the similarities between your role in Christ’s death and his. Remember that Christ died and was resurrected because of you and for a reason: so that you could live a life unburdened by the wages of sin.

Don’t mourn Christ’s death; celebrate the freedom and liberty it grants you. And please, do something with that gift.

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