Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why? What evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’ So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ —Matthew 27:22–24, ESV
Will Graham’s Devotion:
Easter exists because Jesus died for our sins and conquered the grave. We celebrate life at Easter, because death lost its sting with Christ’s triumphant resurrection.
Sadly, many have never experienced the true meaning of Easter. They may know of Jesus, but they can’t or won’t make a decision about Him as their Saviour.
In the Bible, we see a man who will forever be linked to what Christ followers call Easter. This man talked to Jesus directly, he evaluated Him, and the Bible says he was greatly impressed with Jesus. Yet he, too, couldn’t bring himself to make a decision about what to do with Christ.
His name was Pontius Pilate, and Matthew 27:11–25 tells us a lot about this Roman governor who oversaw the trial of Jesus.
First, Pilate rejected Jesus’ own confession of who He was. “Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say’ ” (Matthew 27:11). Pilate asked the question and heard the truth (straight from the mouth of the Son of God), but he took it no further.
Second, Pilate rejected clear evidence. Pilate investigated Jesus and came to the conclusion that He was innocent, finding that He had committed no crime. Pilate realised that the only reason Jesus was on trial was the envy and hatred of the religious leaders, even to the point of appealing to the crowd by asking, “What evil has He done?” (Matthew 27:23). He knew the truth but rejected it.
Third, Pilate gave in to pressure. In verse 24, Pilate recognised that “he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning” (ESV). Though he heard the claims of Christ and knew He had done nothing wrong, Pilate was compelled to sentence an innocent man to death because of the influence of the crowd. He feared man rather than fearing God.
Finally, Pilate tried to cleanse himself from the death of Jesus. He knew that he had just condemned an innocent man to die. In a symbolic gesture, Pilate “washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves’ ” (Matthew 27:24, ESV). Understanding and pronouncing that Jesus was blameless, he proclaimed the guilt for Christ’s death onto the crowd instead.
My friends, Pilate had a decision to make. He knew the truth, but he couldn’t take a stand one way or the other. Instead, he asked a question: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ” (Matthew 27:22)?
That’s the question that so many today, perhaps even you, have a hard time answering. In far too many situations, people know the truth, but—like Pilate—they give in to the pressures of others and walk away from Jesus, putting the decision off for another day.
However, indecision is a decision. Making no decision for Christ is making a decision about Christ. By not surrendering your life to Him, you’re rejecting the claims of Jesus, that He is the Son of God who died in your place.
If you have been putting off the decision to follow Christ and make Him the Lord of your life, now is the perfect time. Jesus’ death and resurrection, which we celebrate as Easter, paved the way for you. I encourage you to receive that hope and accept Him as your Saviour today!
Lord Jesus, thank You for the sacrifice You made on the cross. No matter what the world says, help me to follow You with all that I have. Help me to live boldly for You every day. In Your Name I pray, amen.
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