What is the Truth about Pilate


#1

I have found myself over the year having more and more sympathy for Pilate. From reading the Historical accounts he seems to have his hands tired, he didn’t have enough troops to hold the city in a all out riot. Pilate, seems to know what is right, but is forced to do something he doesn’t believe in for political reasons.

I by profession am a supervisor, and I find myself in this situation far too often. I guess this is what has given me sympathy for him.

I have however, also read that in some of the Eastern churches he is a saint, the Catholic church doesn’t recognize him as such, nor do we recognize his gospel. If any one knows more about him I would appreciate the information.

Thanks,

Matt Cos


#2

Historically speaking, all that we know about Pontius Pilate, beyond the Gospel accounts, is that he was either a procurator (as the Roman historian Tacitus suggests) or prefect (as an inscription in Caesarea Maritima from the reign of the Emperor Tiberius claims) of the Judean Province, subject to the legate (probably a proconsul) of the Syrian Province. His name would identify him as a Roman of the Equestrian Order (therefore not able to command a full legion), and possibly of Samnite (southern Italian) origins. He would have been responsible primarily for the military forces in the province and the collection of taxes.

He would also have been responsible for maintaining civil order, so though he ruled from Caesaria his presence in Jerusalem during Passover would have been expected due to the large numbers of pilgrims in the city (celebrating their freedom from another empire at that!).

The Jewish historian Josephus says that Pilate had some empathy towards the Jewish religion (at least for the purposes of pacifying them) and on one occaision had his soldiers remove the military standards and images of the emperor to avoid offending the Jews. At the same time Josephus speaks of Pilate comandeering the Temple treasury to construct an aquaduct and then violently surpressing the protests.

Around 36AD Pilate slaughtered the participants of a religious procession in Samaria. His actions were offensive even by Roman standards and the legate of Syria recalled him to Rome. Some traditions hold that he was exiled to one of the Gallic provinces where, a disgraced officer, he committed suicide.

There are various traditions regarding Pilate, little of which can be backed up by historical evidence. Various sites in Scotland, Germany, Spain and elsewhere have claimed to be his birthplace, though as I previously mentioned his name suggests Samnite ancestry in the Pontii family (possibly related to the general Gauis Pontius) and his rank as an Equestrian marks him as a Roman citizen of higher status. Tradition also says that his wifes name was Claudia Procula, and the Vatican archives contain letters allegedly written by her during her time in Judea.

The Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches venerate both Pilate and Procula as Saints, which the Greek Orthodox Church only Procula is celebrated with a feastday, October 27th. The Catholic Church, especially the Latin Rite, does not recognize either as Saints. It has been claimed that in his epic poem, the Divine Comedy, the Italian poet Dante alludes to Pilate in a characted found in the “vestibule” of Hell, among those who are not fit for either Heaven or Hell.


#3

Hi

I understand from the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908, that Pilate helped (secretly) Jesus save his life.

alislam.org/library/books/jesus-in-india/ch1.html

"Reading the gospel with care will show that Jesus (on whom be peace) did not remain on the Cross for three days; he did not have to suffer hunger or thirst for three days; nor were his bones broken. On the other hand, he remained on the Cross only for two hours, and the grace and mercy of God managed to bring about the crucifixion in the latter part of the day, which was a Friday, only a little time before sunset, the next day being the Sabbath, the feast Fasah of the Jews.

According to Jewish custom it was unlawful and a punishable crime to let anyone remain on the Cross on the Sabbath day, or during the night previous to it; Jews, like Muslims, observed the lunar calendar, sunset being regarded as beginning the day. So, on the one hand, there was this circumstance which arose out of earthly causes, and, on the other, Almighty God brought into existence heavenly circumstances, namely, that when it was the sixth hour, there was a severe dust-storm which darkened the earth for three hours.6 This sixth hour was after twelve o’clock, i.e., close to the evening.

Now, the Jews were afraid in this utter darkness, lest the night of the Sabbath should overtake them, and lest, having violated the sanctity of the Sabbath, they should deserve to be punished. Therefore, in all haste they took Jesus and the two thieves off their Crosses. In addition to all this, there was another heavenly cause, namely, that when Pilate presided at his court, his wife sent word to him not to have anything to do with that righteous person (i.e., not to attempt to punish him with death), for, she said, she had had a dream that night, which had troubled her very much.7 So, this angel, whom the wife of Pilate saw in her dream, would assure us and all fair-minded people, with certainty, that God had never intended that Jesus should die on the Cross.

From the day of the creation of this world, never has it occurred that God should suggest to a person in a dream that a particular thing would happen in a certain way, and still that thing should fail to happen. For example, the gospel of Matthew says that an angel of the Lord came to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Arise and take the young child and the mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him’.8 Now, can anyone say that Jesus could be killed in Egypt? Similarly the dream which the wife of Pilate dreamt was a part of God’s design, and it could never be that this design should fail in its object; and just as the possibility of Jesus being put to death during the Egyptian journey was against a specific promise of God, so here it is unthinkable that the angel of Almighty God should appear to the wife of Pilate and should direct her to say that if Jesus died on the Cross it would not be a happy thing for her, and yet the angel’s appearance should go in vain, and Jesus should be allowed to suffer death on the Cross. Is there any example of this in the world? None.

The pure conscience of all good men, when informed of the dream of Pilate’s wife, will no doubt testify that it was a fact that the purpose of that dream was to lay the foundation for the rescue of Jesus. It is of course open to everybody to deny an out-and-out truth; out of prejudice born of his creed, he may refuse to accept it, but fairness would oblige us to believe that the dream of Pilate’s wife is a piece of weighty evidence in support of Jesus’ escape from the Cross.

The first in rank among the gospels, i.e., Matthew, has recorded this evidence. Although, therefore, the powerful evidence which I shall set out in this book invalidates the divinity of Jesus and the doctrine of Atonement, yet honesty and love of fairness require us not to be partial to a communal or customary creed on a question of fact. From the day of the creation of man up till to-day the limited intellect of man has invested a thousand things with Divinity and Godhead, so much so that even cats and snakes have been worshipped; nevertheless wise people, through heaven’s help, have continued to be saved from the evil of such polytheistic beliefs."

Thanks


#4

I agree with you Mattcos. If you have seen Mel Gibson’s the Passion of the Christ, you’ll notice the political impossibility of Pilate’s situation. I thought it was a pretty nuanced and sympathetic portrayal.

I didn’t know the eastern churches considered Pilate a saint! I can understand that though; he certainly fulfilled God’s will in the whole plan of things. I am not sure about the rightness of considering only his wife a saint; she tried to intervene to save Jesus, but that is against God’s will. When Peter tried to do the same, Jesus scolded him, saying Get behind me Satan! So really, Pilate was on board with the plan and his wife wasn’t. (They couldn’t have known that in the moment, of course.)

It is interesting that Pilate gets a mention by name in the Nicene creed. Why was that necessary? Anyway, he is the only person outside the Trinity and Mary who is mentioned by name.

St. Pilate would be a good saint for politicians and other leaders who have to make certain decisions or take certain actions that they wouldn’t choose if it were up to them, but circumstances conspire. I totally understand what you mean when you mention the necessities of the job. I work in higher ed and it is intensely political…lots of Pilate activity going on.

I like to think of Pilate coming to faith in Jesus in his lifetime and dying reconciled and in peace. Or, being shown mercy at his personal judgment, for having successfully fulfilled the role that God had for him in the scheme of things–he is educated on it, and comes to faith in that moment and is reconciled. I have a similar hope for Judas Iscariot. (Do any of the churches have a St. Judas?)

http://www.websmileys.com/sm/cartoon/392.gif


#5

Kentuckyliz,

I like the way you look at things. I have read that some of the Eastern Churches do have a St. Judas. If you consider that Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver which was enough money for a nice new chariot, but not enough to retire off of one begins to wonder what Judas true motivation was.

But getting back to Pilate. Pilate we know was in command of Jerusalem at that time, we know that the garrison had been reinforced, and we known that Jesus had an impact on Pilate.

Out of The Passion of Christ, Pilate talks about truth, he seems to have no recollection of the last time he heard truth. I believe that the gospels have truth in them, but sometimes it seems that truth of any situation is elusive even in the gospels. For example, the story about the master that gives his servants talents. What is the truth of that story? But truth seems even more elusive in day to day life, its like people are programmed to avoid the truth.


#6

You’ve been deceived.


#7

I would caution against viewing Pontius Pilate in as a saintly person.

First of all, for Pilate to be a canonized saint he would have had to embrace Christianity. While some of the Eastern Churches claim this as part of their traditions, there is no actual proof, or even suggestion, of his conversion in either scripture or Apostolic Tradition.

Secondly, by what the scriptures say of him, Pilate does not come across as a strong inspiring individual at all, but rather a very weak person who, despite his wife’s pleas and warnings, caved to political pressure and allowed Our Lord to be Crucified. In my eyes Pilate has become a representation for politicians and decision makers who willfully forsake their conscience under social and poltical pressure and knowingly make the wrong decision. I especially see Pilate as the forerunner of those “Catholic” politicians who abandon their doctrines of the Church, putting their souls and the souls of others at risk, for personal gain.

That said, I do not believe we should jump onto the bandwagon of those Jews and Jewish sympathizers who would like to paint of the picture of cruel and tyrannical Pontius Pilate who was the sole instigator of Christ’s execution. Scripture makes it very clear that it was the Jewish priests who incited the mobs of Jerusalem to cry out for the blood of Chrst, threatening riots if Pilate would not Crucify Him. Pilate himself did not see any threat in the person of Christ, nor any need to execute Him, especially when he recieved word of his wife’s dream, yet in the face of a potential riot and the political complications that would bring he allowed the Crucifixion to take place.


#8

On Judas:

[quote=Matthew 26:23-24]He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
[/quote]

I think we can assume he would have had similar words for Pilate. Our principles don’t go out the window as soon as political pressure appears. Just ask the martyrs.


#9

Gentlemen and Ladies of high thought,

I understand the point that our convictions should not be thrown out the window the minute social and political pressures are brought to bear. However, I believe that this part of the passion is often times over looked, because of the great suffering of our lord, and possibly rightly so. That being said, I believe that Pilate’s situation in the passion is a story for all of us in our daily lives. So many times we know what the correct thing to do is but we do the opposite. Does this not enhance the humanness of the passion? Is this another way that god is showing us that He understands our plight, and that He is always available for atonement once we ask?

Pontius Pilate, may have been a weak leader and a weak person, we know he was no Julius Caesar, however, very few of us can be as exceptional as Julius Caesar. That being said, Pilate exhibits the actions of most people once placed in a difficult position myself included. We all think that we would do something different if we were in Pontius shoes, but the truth be told, all of us in the working world are in Pilate’s shoes regularly, and most of us cave to pressure or political expedience.

Thanks for your interest.

Mattcos


#10

Hi

Maybe you are wrong!

Thanks


#11

[paarsurrey;3019536]Hi

I understand from the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908, that Pilate helped (secretly) Jesus save his life.

That’s an usubstantiated false claim from Islam.

[size=3]According to Jewish custom it was unlawful and a punishable crime to let anyone remain on the Cross on the Sabbath day, or during the night previous to it; Jews, like Muslims, observed the lunar calendar, sunset being regarded as beginning the day.

[/size]

Uh, Jesus Christ was murdered on the cross because of the decision of Pontius Pilate who was NOT a Jew, but a governor of the Roman government, so why would the Roman government obey a (supposed) Jewish custom?

[size=3]Similarly the dream which the wife of Pilate dreamt was a part of God’s design, and it could never be that this design should fail in its object; and just as the possibility of Jesus being put to death during the Egyptian journey was against a specific promise of God, so here it is unthinkable that the angel of Almighty God should appear to the wife of Pilate and should direct her to say that if Jesus died on the Cross it would not be a happy thing for her, and yet the angel’s appearance should go in vain,[/size]

Hmmm. I don’t recall an angel visiting Pilates wife in her dream. Could you cite the verse(s)?

[size=3] and Jesus should be allowed to suffer death on the Cross. Is there any example of this in the world? None.

[/size]
[size=2]Actually it is prophesied in the OT as there are a plethora of prophesies in the book of Isaiah foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah.[/size]

[LEFT]Crucified, “pierced through hands and feet”:Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16… Matthew 27:35, John 20:27.
Ps.22:16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. (Zec.12:10)
Mt.27:35 And they crucified him.
Jn. 20:25-26 Now Thomas (called Didymus)… he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (Jn.19:37, 20:27)[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Crucified with malefactors: Isaiah 53:12… Mark 15:27-28.
Isa.53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Mt 27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (Mk 15:27-28; Lk 23:33) [/LEFT]

Agonized in Thirst: Psalm 22:15… John 19:28.
Ps.22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
Jn.19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

[LEFT]Given gall and vinegar: Psalm 69:21… Matthew 27:34, 48, John 19:19.
Ps.69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
Mat.27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink (Jn.19:29, Mat.27:48). [/LEFT]

[LEFT]No bones broken: Psalm 34:20… John 19:32-36.
Ps 34:20 He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (Ex 12:46)
Jn 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]His side pierced: Zechariah 12:10… John 19:34.
Zec.12:10 They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
Jn 19:34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. [/LEFT]

[size=3]The pure conscience of all good men, when informed of the dream of Pilate’s wife, will no doubt testify that it was a fact that the purpose of that dream was to lay the foundation for the rescue of Jesus.

[/size]
Huh?:confused: “the rescue of Jesus?” He didn’t need to be “rescued” He willingly laid down His life a ransom for all.

[size=3]It is of course open to everybody to deny an out-and-out truth; out of prejudice born of his creed, he may refuse to accept it, but fairness would oblige us to believe that the dream of Pilate’s wife is a piece of weighty evidence in support of Jesus’ escape from the Cross.

[/size]

What a myth without substantiation. Again, I pray you would see the truth that Jesus willingly went to the cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.


#12

[paarsurrey;3019536]Hi

I understand from the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908, that Pilate helped (secretly) Jesus save his life.

That’s an usubstantiated false claim from Islam.

[size=3]According to Jewish custom it was unlawful and a punishable crime to let anyone remain on the Cross on the Sabbath day, or during the night previous to it; Jews, like Muslims, observed the lunar calendar, sunset being regarded as beginning the day.

[/size]

Uh, Jesus Christ was murdered on the cross because of the decision of Pontius Pilate who was NOT a Jew, but a governor of the Roman government, so why would the Roman government obey a (supposed) Jewish custom?

[size=3]Similarly the dream which the wife of Pilate dreamt was a part of God’s design, and it could never be that this design should fail in its object; and just as the possibility of Jesus being put to death during the Egyptian journey was against a specific promise of God, so here it is unthinkable that the angel of Almighty God should appear to the wife of Pilate and should direct her to say that if Jesus died on the Cross it would not be a happy thing for her, and yet the angel’s appearance should go in vain,[/size]

Hmmm. I don’t recall an angel visiting Pilates wife in her dream. Could you cite the verse(s)?

[size=3] and Jesus should be allowed to suffer death on the Cross. Is there any example of this in the world? None.

[/size]
[size=2]Actually it is prophesied in the OT as there are a plethora of prophesies in the book of Isaiah foreshadowing Jesus the Messiah.[/size]

[LEFT]Crucified, “pierced through hands and feet”:
Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16… Matthew 27:35, John 20:27.
Ps.22:16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. (Zec.12:10)
Mt.27:35 And they crucified him.
Jn. 20:25-26 Now Thomas (called Didymus)… he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (Jn.19:37, 20:27)[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Crucified with malfactors:
Isaiah 53:12… Mark 15:27-28.
Isa.53:12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Mt 27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (Mk 15:27-28; Lk 23:33) [/LEFT]

Given gall and vinegar:
Psalm 69:21… Matthew 27:34, 48, John 19:19.
[LEFT]Ps.69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
Mat.27:34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink (Jn.19:29, Mat.27:48). [/LEFT]

[LEFT]No bones broken:
Psalm 34:20… John 19:32-36.
Ps 34:20 He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (Ex 12:46)
Jn 19:33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]His side pierced:
Zechariah 12:10… John 19:34.
Zec.12:10 They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.
[size=2]Jn 19:34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. [/size][/LEFT]

[size=3]The pure conscience of all good men, when informed of the dream of Pilate’s wife, will no doubt testify that it was a fact that the purpose of that dream was to lay the foundation for the rescue of Jesus.

[/size]
Huh?:confused: “the rescue of Jesus?” He didn’t need to be “rescued” He willingly laid down His life a ransom for all.

[size=3]It is of course open to everybody to deny an out-and-out truth; out of prejudice born of his creed, he may refuse to accept it, but fairness would oblige us to believe that the dream of Pilate’s wife is a piece of weighty evidence in support of Jesus’ escape from the Cross.

[/size]
A myth without substantiation. Again, I pray you would see the truth that Jesus willingly went to the cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.


#13

Hi

That could be termed as a suicide, in my opinion.Then why to blame Jews or Romans?

Thanks


#14

Pilate had the power to do what was right, but choose to do the opposite, for Jesus was not quilty, don’t you think? Righteousness and justice was not served. Like all of us we know what is the right thing to do, but to please others we take the easy way for the sake of going along. We end up loosing a bit of ourselves each time. Self pride, vanity etc.

That is why Jesus message is heard till this day! He was not a fallower but the great Shepherd. Jesus went against powerful people in those days. Jesus was pure humilty, he was cursed at, spit upon, etc. His apostles did not fear to preach the gospel, they did not fear “mortal death”. Rather eternal death. Serving justice and righteousness and preaching the gospels to others for eternal salvation.

Many times when we do this we bring sin upon ourselves, don’t you think? Yes! Jesus was true to himself and did all that pleased the father. He did not run. His word and actions bare witness to that truth.

That is what is wrong in the world today evil against good. We even are afraid to help others but choose not to because of being sued! There is no true justice or righteousness anymore in the world, don’t you think. Money is the root of all evil!


#15

I agree well said!!!


#16

The people who were at the foot of the cross knew Jesus are we deny all! the devil is at work in this one!!! Jesus would have no part in this!! Lies!!! There were witnessess to the miracles people!!


#17

I’m sorry, but I do not understand what you are saying. Can you clarify what you are saying?


#18

Hi

One of my friends has written following sentences in his post in the thread:

Jesus Christ was murdered on the cross because of the decision of Pontius Pilate

He (Jesus) willingly laid down His life.

Jesus willingly went to the cross.

If Jesus or anybody else is murdered, that means he was killed unwillingly, then it would be wrong to say that Jesus or anybody else went to Cross willingly, as that may be termed as a suicide.

Am I right?

Thanks


#19

Jesus did not commit suicide. He allowed himself to be murdered to fulfill his earthly mission and his Father’s plan. He did not nail himself to the cross and impale himself upon a spear.

Martyrs go to their deaths willingly to advance the Faith and the Church, in the hopes of helping bring others to salvation. It is not suicide.

Big difference.


#20

Hi back. No you are incorrect again! You are again using false logic. Perhaps doing a bit more of a study of critical thinking would help? :slight_smile:

Let’s say one of your family members is being held and going to be shot by a terrorist but you tell the terrorist, please take MY life instead of my family member’s life. Does that mean YOU want to be murdered? Nope not at all, it means that you want both of you to be unharmed, however if one of the two is going to die or needs to die, then let it be you instead of him/her.

Jesus wished that He didn’t have to go to the cross and be murdered that’s why He said “Father if it is possible, take this cup from Me” in the passion discourse but He did willingly since it needed to be done.

It means you have sacrificed your life for your family member (John 15:13)“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

And suicide is taking YOUR life, Jesus ALLOWED His life to be taken, a ransom for all, He DID NOT take His own life, therefore He didn’t commit suicide.

So, here we have two cases where murder isn’t actually murder, and suicide isn’t actually suicide. You keep using the false Muslim argument that denies Jesus divinity, and resurection.

1 Cor 1:18 "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. "


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