In some ways, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Pilate. He was really caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand were the Jewish leaders who threatened to denounce him to the Roman authorities if he didn’t do what they wanted. On the other hand, Pilate clearly believed that Jesus was innocent and wanted to release him. In the end, he caved in to the pressure and became known throughout history as the one who allowed Jesus to be crucified.
Perhaps the reason we feel for Pilate is because there are times when we find ourselves facing the same dilemma: what someone else wants us to do, on the one hand, and what we know deep down is the right thing to do, on the other. Think, for example, of the builder who is told to use cheap materials on the sly to save the company money; or the teenager who is pressured to join in the drinking or risk being excluded from the “in” group.
While it may be tempting to take the easy way out, Jesus’ example in today’s gospel is clear. When he answered Pilate’s questions about his kingship, he knew that the path ahead would lead to the cross. Even so, he spoke the truth. As his followers, we are called to live by his example. May we be faithful witnesses to God’s truth in the world today.
Living with Christ
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