Pontius Pilate

His name is infamous.

Many people know his name.

Millions know his deed.

He judged Jesus of Nazareth.

Like so many who are infamous or famous, few actually know who he was.

Most would say something like this….He was the Roman governor who passed judgment on Jesus to be crucified. That is all most people know of him. Because of his act of judgment, he is viewed as a terrible person and goes down in history as a rogue.

How did he arrive in the land of palestine in the first place? What happened to Herod Archelaus?

The story of the land of Palestine is long and bloody. For centuries this fabled land was a pawn in the hand of world powers. Kicked back and forth like a backwater, unimportant prize to the most recent conqueror.

Some two centuries before the arrival of Jesus, a family in this land got tired of the iron heel of the conqueror and began to fight back. They became known as the Macabees.

Part politician, part freedom fighters, their only aim in life was to free their land of subjugation. They fought, they bartered, and eventually they won. Well, kind of.

Eventually there came of this family a very subtle and talented man who began a political ascent with the Romans. He was known in history as Herod the great.

Herod was a patriot. No price was to high to achieve his goals of promoting himself and the land he loved. He cajoled and finagled until he persuaded the Caesar to appoint him as King of the Jews.

From his new position he began to push, shove, and drag Israel into being modern. His greatest achievement was the rebuilding of the temple that was standing when Jesus Christ came.

His most heinous crime was the slaughter of all the babies two years old and younger in the attempt to prevent any king from usurping the throne he had worked a lifetime to secure from Rome. (10,000 or more babies were slain).

He died in 4BC. At his death he followed Alexander the Great’s example of dividing your kingdom into several parts. He gave his lands to his three sons. To Phillip he gave the eastern provinces. To Herod Antipas he gave Galilee and Samaria. To Herod Archelaus he gave Judea.

Archelaus ruled the area of Judea for about ten years. He was such a cruel and ruthless man that even Rome could not stomach his reign. Rome used it’s imperial jurisdiction and removed him from his throne and appointed a governor.

Caesar appointed Quirnius Caponius, then Ambivius, then Annius Rufus, then Valerius Gratus, and finally Pontius Pilate.

Pilate ruled from 26 ad until 36 ad. Pilate proved to be so cruel Rome removed him from power. But not before history placed him in the spotlight.

For one brief moment there he stands. All of history will condemn him for this one moment. His name is forever associated with consummate evil.

Three to six years later Rome removed him from power and history says Pilate committed suicide soon thereafter.

What man in history is so well known yet so unknown?

This fact screams to me, it isn’t about Pilate, it is about Jesus.

Without Jesus, pilate fades off the world scene and is never heard of.

Because of his intersection with Jesus, he is immortal.

The only way your life will ever have meaning and memory is if it becomes connected with Jesus.

Thanks for reading today.

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