Did Pilate know?

is there any substantive indication that Pilate knew who he was ultimately condemning to death… other than the INRI title he requested be put above the Crucified Lord… has the Church ever spoke about this?

Christ’s prayer on the cross was “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” I think we can safely assume this meant the entirety of the Roman army, Pilate included. At the very least, Pilate did not understand that he was crucifying his own King as well as the King of the Jews.

Also, Christ told Pilate that his (Pilate’s) sin was less than that of the Pharisees. If Pilate had truly known what he was doing, and to Whom he was doing it, his sin would have been far greater.

Now how can it be a sin to do God’s will? If Jesus’ death was required by God to “save” the world, then Pilate was an active participant in God’s plan and should be thanked as such. God needed him and we should at least appreciate him. Was Abraham sinning when he willingly tried to kill his son? Was Judas sinning when he did what God needed doing?

If you believe God required the bloody sacrifice then why are those who helped condemned?

Just some thaoughts without real answers…

[quote=patg]Now how can it be a sin to do God’s will? If Jesus’ death was required by God to “save” the world, then Pilate was an active participant in God’s plan and should be thanked as such. God needed him and we should at least appreciate him. Was Abraham sinning when he willingly tried to kill his son? Was Judas sinning when he did what God needed doing?

If you believe God required the bloody sacrifice then why are those who helped condemned?

Just some thaoughts without real answers…
[/quote]

Regarding Pilate’s sin, it’s there in black and white:

:bible1: So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered (him), “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:10-11

God did not require such a total and complete sacrifice. I believe it was Scott Hahn who said that the blood Christ shed at His circumcision, precious as it is, would have been enough to redeem the entire world.

As God He had the power to redeem mankind (or not) in any manner He so chose. But He chose rather to “empty Himself” in the most complete way possible as an eternal testament to His infinite love. Thus Christ allowed Himself to be put to death, through the free will of the Jews and Romans (and hence why they were guilty of sin). Neither Christ nor God the Father willed such pain and suffering. What they did will was to demonstrate their love for humanity.

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Regarding Pilate’s sin, it’s there in black and white:

God did not require such a total and complete sacrifice. I believe it was Scott Hahn who said that the blood Christ shed at His circumcision, precious as it is, would have been enough to redeem the entire world.

[/quote]

But then there’s that whole “rising from the dead” thing (unless he died from the circumcision)…the paschal lamb killed on passover…

If you believe the complete package, I think its all required

[quote=faithfulservant]is there any substantive indication that Pilate knew who he was ultimately condemning to death… other than the INRI title he requested be put above the Crucified Lord… has the Church ever spoke about this?
[/quote]

I believe in some Orthodox Churches both Pontius Pilate and his wife, Procula, are venerated as saints.

[quote=patg]But then there’s that whole “rising from the dead” thing (unless he died from the circumcision)…the paschal lamb killed on passover…

If you believe the complete package, I think its all required
[/quote]

Putting an innocent man to death is sin. God allows evil in order to bring good out of it all the time.

[quote=patg]But then there’s that whole “rising from the dead” thing (unless he died from the circumcision)…the paschal lamb killed on passover…

If you believe the complete package, I think its all required
[/quote]

If we look at this from an eternal point of view, no it wasn’t. I’ll try to explain what I mean: Since the death of Jesus happened by God’s will but through the free will actions of the Jews and the Romans, and God knowing that would be the case, God put it into the OT rites in order to foreshadow the redemption happening in this way, so that the OT rites would be a witness to Christ’s veracity as to who he was. Now, this is just my own musings, but if even I can see how this could be with my poor powers of reasoning, I’m sure God understood what he was doing better than any human being could. I hope that helps you.

[quote=Della]If we look at this from an eternal point of view, no it wasn’t. I’ll try to explain what I mean: Since the death of Jesus happened by God’s will but through the free will actions of the Jews and the Romans, and God knowing that would be the case, God put it into the OT rites in order to foreshadow the redemption happening in this way, so that the OT rites would be a witness to Christ’s veracity as to who he was. Now, this is just my own musings, but if even I can see how this could be with my poor powers of reasoning, I’m sure God understood what he was doing better than any human being could. I hope that helps you.
[/quote]

Exactly. The Old Testament rituals were foreshadowings of the ultimate Sacrifice which was going to occur, not because it had to occur that way, but so that we as limited beings could understand.

Roman law did not allow for Jesus to die for Jewish reasons. Pilate may not have known who Jesus was, but he surely knew he was violating Roman justice by condemning Jesus.

The parallel that interests me is this…

The Jewish heirarchy did not recognize Jesus’ authority. They did not want to be subject to Him.

Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Catholic Church which is the “body” of Christ. They do not want to be subject to it.

Protestantism worked to break from the authority of the Pope and to subject religion under the state. The Jews worked to break from the authority of Jesus by subjecting themselves to the Roman state… “We have no King but Ceasar!”

Thal59

Probably he knew more than the title (IESVS NAZARINVS REX IUDAEORVM).He asked to the people,You want your king to be crucified?And that’s one of the charges the religious leaders had against Jesus.So,he knew something about it.Pilate’s wife had a revealing dream about Christ and she told him about it.I think Pilate knew Jesus was more than an ordinary king.

[quote=faithfulservant]is there any substantive indication that Pilate knew who he was ultimately condemning to death… other than the INRI title he requested be put above the Crucified Lord… has the Church ever spoke about this?
[/quote]

If he had, he would have been quite extraordinarily wicked - as would Annas & Caiaphas.

That’s too easy, because it lets us off the hook. Jesus was crucified by ordinary people, like us: by an official afraid of losing his job, who did not think much of the people he was saddled with, and who had already been complained of to “headquarters” (i.e. Rome); and an ecclesiastical establishment which wanted to prove its loyalty to the government without losing face to its own people, and wanted to avoid its country being swallowed by the occupying authorities, which belonged to the superpower of the day.

Jesus died because He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was very convenient for all concerned. It’s hard to see that He was special - Pilate is unlikely to have had any more concern for the niceties of Jewish ideas about the Messiah, than the US authorities in Iraq have for the distinctions of Muslim theology. There is no reason to suppose that Pilate had a full NT theology of salvation in his head - he would have had his own gods, domestic and military; his question, “Am I a Jew ?” clearly implies the answer, “Not likely !”

IMHO, the INRI, apart from being written on a board as was usual with the “title” indicating the crime of the man being executed, is seen by the evangelist, John, as a Roman admission of what the Jewish religious officials in his gospel deny: that Jesus is King. It doesn’t follow that Pilate is expressing personal faith; the text seems to be saying only that what the Jews denied, a Roman admitted - whatever his intentions. Which is important for John’s idea of Jesus, as the Revealer: He is the Judge of his judges; He’s not on trial, they are - and they are judged by their reaction to What He is.

That’s why the theme of the “Johannine misunderstanding” is so important - Pilate and the others use words about Him which can be understood in one way, according to the letter; while meaning something far more significant, taken spiritually. Which is why what is a run-of-the-mill description of a crime of treason - the INRI - is spiritually, for the Christian, who knows of the Resurrection, a true description: Jesus *is *King of the Jews. This is related in meaning to the theme of the hidden Messianic identity of Jesus in the other three gospels. ##

the title placed over the head of Christ was the official charge against Him, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, not a profession of faith. The dialogue recounted between Pilate and Jesus makes it quite clear that Jesus gave him everything he needed to know to choose to believe in Him and be saved, and that he had it in his power to stop the crucifixion, but he chose the expedient politically correct path at the moment.

[quote=faithfulservant]is there any substantive indication that Pilate knew who he was ultimately condemning to death… other than the INRI title he requested be put above the Crucified Lord… has the Church ever spoke about this?
[/quote]

Pilate knew Jesus was an innocent man. (Matthew 27:24)
Pilate had reason to believe Jesus was a righteous or holy man. (Matthew 27:19)
Pilate had reason to believe Jesus was of royal blood, “the king of the Jews.” (Matthew 27:11)
Pilate had reason to believe Jesus was at least semi-divine, “the Son of God.” (John 19:7)

I’m going to base my thread on more history than scripture.

I think part of the answer lies in our understanding of Revelation. Namely God reveals Himself through human instruments, and sometime these instruments do not full realize what is actually taking place.

Pilate’s position was that of procuator - his main task was to make sure that the tax revenues required by Rome got to Rome.
This did require the use of the military which is why,in my opinion, many think Pilate was a military governor. He wasn’t - the Military Governer was located in Damascus. The Governor controled all aspects of the Providence of Syria of which Palestine was a part.

Pilate’s only real concern was to collect those taxes, which meant that Palestine had to remain under Roman domination. I doubt that any internal religious conflicts the Jewish people experienced mattered much to him if it didn’t effect the collection of taxes. The Jewish leaders knew this and used this when they brought Jesus before Pilate with the charges that Jesus proclaimed himself to be King of the Jews. That charge had rebellion written all over it and with it a probrability of a disruption in the flow of taxes. Civil striff would disrupt the collections Rome demanded.

Therefore, as I think, Pilate saw Jesus as a rather insignificant person when Jesus was brought before him, however, Jesus had the potential of causing civil unrest, that would disrupt the flow of taxes and thus he had Jesus executed with not much thought - certainly not as much thought as the Gospels portray. Also, we know from the Gospels that the INRI was the offical charge against Jesus and we know from other sources as well that it was Roman practice to post the charge(s) for which a person was executed. And we can infer from the Gospels that the INRI was a slap by Pilate to the Jewish Leaders, whom Pilate seems to have dispised.

I say this partly because the Gospels, being Faith Documents, don’t agree in many of the particulars of Jesus’ trial, precisely because they are Faith Documents and not historical records.
(one little aside, if the diologue between Jesus and Pilate did take place as we find in the Gospel of John, they must have spoken to each other in Greek, not Aramaic nor Latin).

Now how can it be a sin to do God’s will? If Jesus’ death was required by God to “save” the world, then Pilate was an active participant in God’s plan and should be thanked as such. God needed him and we should at least appreciate him. Was Abraham sinning when he willingly tried to kill his son? Was Judas sinning when he did what God needed doing?

If you believe God required the bloody sacrifice then why are those who helped condemned?

Just some thaoughts without real answers…

I’d say that God was not pulling the strings that were the Puppet Pilate. God is almighty, we know this. But would God affect our free will? I don’t think so. If God affected our free will he would taking it away. And it’s our free will to choose to worship God that makes our faith so strong. That’s what God has asked us to do in scripture, make that choice.

So…was Pilate sinning? To condemn a man to death is like killing him. But is that murder? Grey area. Is it sinful because Jesus was the Christ? No, I don’t think so. It was sinful because it was murder.

Ask the same question,Is it murder for the Governor of a state to condem a person to death?
CC2267

This is tricky. Perhaps I’ll post this question for the Apologists.

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