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Pilates Arrogance

The musical Jesus Christ Superstar, tells the story of Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judaea, as a sympathetic man driven by an unruly crowd, to order Jesus’s crucifixion, when he had actually found no fault with Jesus. In this musical, they also portray the infamous Pilate’s dream with the following lyrics:

“Last Night, I dreamt I met a Galilean - A most amazing man. He had that look you very rarely find, the haunting, hunted kind. I asked him to say what had happened how it all began. I asked again; he never said a word, as if he hadn't heard. And next the room was full Of wild and angry men. They seemed to hate this man. They fell on him and then, they disappeared again.

Then I saw thousands of millions, crying for this man. And then I heard them mentioning my name, and leaving me the blame.”

As was the standard for all Roman Governors, Pilate was a very arrogant, yet selfish man. He feared the leaders in Rome. He feared the Jewish leaders, whom he needed, to keep control over, and peace in, Judaea. He mostly needed the Jewish leaders in the city of Jerusalem, where the population, and anger towards Rome, was so much that the Roman soldiers alone would have a difficult time controlling the citizens of, and visitors to, the city. This was especially true during Passover as the population of Jerusalem would swell to over 2 million people for this festival.

More than anything, Pilate was a keenly wise politician. He had to walk the tightrope of keeping Rome happy while not angering the Jewish population in Judaea. He knew the buzz around Jesus was growing like a wild fire. He knew the Jewish leaders had issues with Jesus, and most importantly, he definitely knew that Rome would have his head if the people in Jerusalem would riot or revolt.H

So, like many politicians, he masterfully played ALL sides of the issue, so to not appear weak, nor give the impression he did not understand or care about the man Jesus, nor the mass crowds assembled to hear his verdict or proclamations. He did this to satisfy Rome, the Jewish leaders, and the assembled crowds.

Jesus Christ Superstar makes a point of emphasizing this when Pilate finally sentences Jesus to die. Their lyrics go as follows:

Pilate says: “What do you want Jesus? Tell me. You've got to be careful. You could be dead soon, could well be. Why do you not speak when I hold your life in my hands? How can you stay quiet? I don't believe you understand.”

Jesus Responds: … “You have nothing in your hands. Any power you have, comes to you from far beyond. Everything is fixed, and you can't change it.”

Pilate later completes his sentencing when he says: “… Don't let me stop your great self-destruction. Die if you want to, you misguided martyr. I wash my hands of your demolition. Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!”

Pilate’s arrogance shines brightly in his encounters with Jesus. He truly believes he has the power to do virtually anything. He truly believes that he holds Jesus’ life in his hands.

Notice Jesus reply to Pilate in the red lyrics. Jesus clearly answers the control issue. Jesus tells Pilate, and all of us, that what is happening, and what will happen, is clearly in God’s hands.

So, as you see, Pilate was just another weak man, obsessed with power. He was destined to play this role because, and only because, this was God’s plan.

The same could be said of Jesus betrayer Judas, who accepted 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus to the authorities. God knew Judas heart and He knew that Judas was the right weak person to count on to help work God’s plan.

What’s incredibly important, and unfathomable, is that Jesus Himself knew God’s plan, and yet still went through with the plan and let Judas and Pilate play the roles they did.

Jesus knew that God’s plan was to lead Jesus to an illegal trial, a brutal punishment, and a humiliating death, to save all of us from our sins. The Father knew these people would do what they did, The Father knew all of us could not be saved without His Son being sent to earth to become fully God and fully man, so to truly understand us, truly love us, and most importantly, truly forgive us.

So, this Easter, don’t blame Judas. Don’t blame Pilate. Don’t blame the Jewish leaders. Don’t blame the crowds calling for Jesus’ death. If there is blame to be had, it is on all of us for being sinful people. However, if your thoughts are on blame – YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT!!!

The point is – THANK GOD …AND … THANK JESUS. Because God orchestrated all of this to save each and every one of us who believes.

Thank You Heavenly Father and Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Credits to Jesus Christ Superstar; the Musical, 1970 ©

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