Was Pilate Saved?
If you have been around Christianity for any length of time, or even if you have been approached by a Christian a few times, the odds are you have heard of the The Roman Road to Salvation. The Roman Road to Salvation is a brief walk through the book of Romans to explain three things:
The Human Problem - Romans 3:10, 3:23, and 6:23
Humanity's Hope - Romans 10:9-10 and 10:13
The Result of Salvation - Romans 5:1-2 and 8:1
What this article will show you is how a real Roman found salvation and while speculative, I believe the text is clear. Remember that God gave us minds for a reason. When given overwhelming evidence, one should easily be able to come to a conclusion. Remember that Peter made it clear that there IS a conclusion. 2 Peter 1:20 clearly states that this conclusion is not open to "private interpretation". Great! That means there is a specific one that the Holy Spirit intends for us to know. Check this evidence and see if this is His conclusion.
Pontius Pilate was the Governor of Judea. While he had other titles, this one best fits what we understand. He held this title from 26 AD to 36 AD. It was during his reign in Judea that he met Jesus. Everyone will meet Jesus in one way or another; it is inevitable. What we do with, or at, that meeting will determine a number of things. What happened during Pilate's time with Jesus? I believe the steps that Pilate took to being "saved" are the same steps you and I take on our way to salvation.
John 18:29-31 "So Pilate went out to them and said, What accusation do you bring against this man? They answered him, If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over. Pilate said to them, Take him yourselves and judge him by your own low. The Jews said to him, it is not lawful for us to put any man to death."
When we are first confronted with Jesus, we do not want anything to do with Him. We believe He is someone else's problem and He has nothing to do with us. All is well in our world. We surely do not need a problem like Him.
John 18:33-35 "Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art though the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?"
When confronted with Jesus, we not only question the ones that brought Him to us, but we also question Him. If we question Him in earnest, He will answer. We might not like the answers, but He will answer.
John 18:37-38 "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no fault at all."
Our defining moment is when we finally confront Truth. Pilate had lied his way into the Governor's office. He had lied his entire career to get where he wanted to go. He had every family member of his killed that could threaten him. He had become so desensitized to the lies, he actually did not know what truth was. For the first time in his life, I believe he finally confronted truth. It is not until we actually can deal with what is true in our lives that Jesus can actually work. Pilate confronted Truth and he would forever be changed.
John 18:39 "But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?"
We try our best to appease the world. Why? Because it makes sense from where we are before we convert. Worldly wisdom is completely different than wisdom given by the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the world will never be appeased by what we do or say so stop trying.
John 19:4 "Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him."
Our "religious" side kicks in and we judge Him according to what we know. Naturally, we find no fault in Him but we still do not want Him in our lives. Jesus comes with a lot of baggage and it is easier to continue status quo.
John 19:7-8 "The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid."
When confronted with the Truth, we now realize that all of the gods that we worshiped before now will be replaced by this unknown Truth and it scares us. The unknown is always frightening.
John 19:9 "And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave no answer."
Right before we finally repent and ask Him in to our lives, we ask Him, "Where are you from? No, Really, where are you from? Is this for real?" We have been lied to our entire lives like Pilate, and when finally confronting the Truth, it is only natural to ask these questions before we move forward.
John 19:15-16 "But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away."
We finally turn Him over in our lives to be crucified. It is our sins that He is crucified with. Pilate, I believe, is us in this picture. Jesus had to die in order to take our place. I believe Pilate understood that. Like Pilate, we send Jesus to be crucified.
John 19:19-22 "And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Jesus of Nazareth The King of The Jews. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, the King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written."
Once we submit our lives to the Truth, we make a public proclamation. We proclaim He is the Truth and He is God to us. Pilate wrote the title himself. He proclaimed it in three languages. I believe three because that is all he knew. If he knew four, he would have written it in four. Pilate knew the Truth and proclaimed it. When we get "saved", we want everyone to know.
Matthew 27:62-65 "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can."
Confidence in our decision to believe that Jesus is the Truth grows as we witness what He has done for us. Pilate knew they had a tiger by the tail in trying to lie about the Truth. He knew how to lie and was good at it. He had also met Truth face to face and knew that they could not stop real Truth. It was a good test to see if it was real or not.
Pilate was executed under Caligula in 39 AD. The reasons are a mystery and a source of contention. Why would he be put to death? Could it be that during the period of early persecution he was "found out"? Speculation? One of the strongest Christian church organizations in the world, The Ethiopian Orthodox Church canonized him and made him a saint. Silly? Perhaps, but in this Easter season, show love instead of condemnation and perhaps you too will be confronted with the Truth. The real question is, What do we do with the Truth once confronted? Celebrate the Resurrection and not the death. Jesus lives!