Reply To: Who was Pontius Pilate in the bible

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Pontius Pilate was the procurator of Judea. Pontius Pilate represented everything the Jewish leaders hated about Rome—its dominance, its oppression, and its idolatry. Yet when it came to the conspiracy to kill Jesus, the religious leaders were powerless to do anything without Pilate.

Ancient historians did not judge Pilate kindly. They saw an arrogant man who despised those he governed. Josephus noted that Pilate once tried to set up the Roman standards in the holy city of Jerusalem. Such graven images of the emperor—who claimed to be a god—were bad enough, but to have them so near the temple was an unbearable insult.

Later Pilate plundered the temple coffers to finance an aqueduct— once again infuriating the Jews. This time he had soldiers disguise themselves and mingle among the protesters gathered in Jerusalem, killing many. (Some believe this is the event Jesus mentioned in Luke 13:1–2.)

Luke.13.1 – About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar.

Luke.13.2 – Jesus responded, “Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans?

During the trial and execution of Jesus, Pilate demonstrated his disdain for the Jewish leaders—at one point deliberately provoking them by crucifying Jesus under a sign that read, THE KING OF THE JEWS. While the Roman procurator seemed in no hurry to condemn Jesus to death, his reluctance probably had less to do with any prevailing sense of justice (such a concept seemed utterly foreign to Pilate) and more to do with his desire for damage control. Pilate’s subjects had already complained once to Rome about his oppressive rule. He didn’t need another mark on his record, particularly at such a volatile time like the Jewish Passover festival.

Ultimately, Pilate’s brutality proved his undoing when he was dismissed from office for slaughtering a number of Samaritans at Mount Gerizim around AD 37.

When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, Jesus famously responded, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Jesus did not deny Pilate’s authority—instead, He masterfully subverted it, refusing to play by Pilate’s rules. Pilate only knew how to command by the sword. In contrast, Jesus declared that His true followers, whose allegiance belonged to a higher authority, would not fight as Rome fought.