Q: I've always been puzzled by Pilate, the Roman governor who gave the order for Jesus to be executed. Didn't he say several times that he thought Jesus was innocent and shouldn't be put to death? Why then did he allow it?
-- Mrs. L.R.W.
A: You're right; Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who handed Jesus over to his soldiers to be crucified, repeatedly said that he didn't think Jesus was guilty of any crime. After examining Jesus he declared, "I find no basis for a charge against this man" (Luke 23:4).
And yet Pilate eventually gave in to the pressure of those who wanted Jesus killed. Why? The only logical answer is that Pilate was a morally weak person, and instead of standing for the truth, he was only concerned about himself and his future. One of the false charges against Jesus was that He wanted to lead an armed revolt against Caesar and set Himself up as king. When Pilate tried to set Jesus free, Jesus' opponents "kept shouting, 'If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar'" (John 19:12). Fearful of his position, Pilate caved in and ordered Jesus' death.
Pilate will forever stand as a warning against giving in to the pressure of the crowd and turning our backs on Jesus. And that can happen far more easily than most of us realize. Jesus warned, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).
Whose way are you following -- the way of the crowds and of Pilate, or the way of Christ? Don't end up on the wrong road, but by faith commit your life to Jesus Christ today. He alone could say, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or go to billygraham.org.