The trial of the Lord Jesus Christ was the most important trial in the whole world. While miscarriage of justice often happens in the world’s justice system, the miscarriage of justice of the trial of Jesus, the Son of God, was preordained of God. This case resulted in the crucifixion of Christ.
However, the execution order fell on the lap of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. The whole episode on the trial of Jesus turned out to be a kangaroo court situation based on public opinion. Unfortunately, the honourable Roman Governor had the dubious honour to become a rubber stamper instead of a righteous judge to put Jesus to death.
It wasn’t because Pilate was a useless, dumb and exceedingly corrupt trial judge. It was because the death of Jesus was prophesied of old not to be carried out by the usual Jewish execution by stoning. In fact, Pilate was a discerning and an intelligent man. He found Jesus innocent and proclaimed the verdict as such. But he was powerless to set Jesus free.
According to prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ who knew no sin was made sin for sinners, the innocent dying for the guilty where the prophet Isaiah devoted an entire chapter on the suffering Messiah. This is also confirmed by the apostle Paul.
Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2 Corinthians 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Like the serpent of brass lifted up on a pole in the wilderness where the rebellious children of Israel who looked at it were healed, the Lord Jesus was lifted up in death for sinners who look to Him for salvation.
Numbers 21:8: And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Numbers 21:9: And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Isaiah 45:22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
The Lord also mentioned about His death of being lifted up upon the earth.
John 12:32: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Moreover, the Son of God is the Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and not one of His bones would be broken in death. So stoning would be out of the question.
Exodus 12:43: And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
Exodus 12:46: In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
Hence Roman crucifixion was the method of execution for the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. So Pilate happened to be the historical character in the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalms 22:16: For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
However, Roman execution by crucifixion could involve breaking of the leg bones. This happened to the two thieves crucified with the Lord.
John 19:31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
John 19:32: Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
But the Lord Jesus was the exception because He died on the cross. So not one bone of the Lord was broken according to prophecy.
John 19:33: But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
John 19:36: For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
In addition, the Lord Jesus Christ would be pierced according to prophecy as well.
John 19:34: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Zechariah 12:10: And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Revelation 1:7: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
So Pilate the Roman Governor was the required state actor for the day. Pilate knew very well Jesus was innocent and he tried hard to push the ball back to the court of the Jewish religious establishment but to no avail.
John 18:31: Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death:
He realized this whole event was a setup and he was being manipulated to do the bidding of the Jewish religious authorities.
Matthew 27:18: For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
When king Herod happened to be in town on the day of the trial, he pushed the court case over to him without hesitation having found out that Jesus was a Galilaean where Herod had jurisdiction over the accused criminal before him.
Luke 23:6: When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
Luke 23:7: And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.
Unfortunately, Pilate could not escape this political hot potato. King Herod played ping pong diplomacy with Pilate and the case was back in his court. Being a political animal himself, at least he scored points with Herod and resolved the enmity between them.
Luke 23:11: And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
Luke 23:12: And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
This did not stop Pilate from trying to release Jesus. This was especially the case when his wife warned him about Jesus, a just man in her own words.
Matthew 27:19: When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
Initially, when the Jewish religious authorities brought Jesus to Pilate to be judged, he had already concluded that the Lord was innocent. The crime laid against Jesus was that He is the King of the Jews.
John 18:33: Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
John 18:35: Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
John 18:37: Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
John 18:38: Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
Pilate unequivocally concluded that there was no fault in Jesus after direct examination. The only problem was when the Lord Jesus told Pilate He was bearing witness unto the truth, he adopted a cavalier attitude. He didn’t inquire about the truth. He wasn’t interested in the truth although he knew the truth about the whole setup by the Jews to get Jesus executed. Pilate simply said what is truth and then walked off to confront the Jews concerning his conclusion of the court case before him.
Luke 23:4: Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
Luke 23:14: Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
Luke 23:15: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
Pilate thought he could offer the Jews a compromise under the prevailing custom during the Passover where he could release a prisoner to the Jews by offering up Jesus to be set free. Of course, this got him no where with the Jews. Instead, they demanded for the release of Barabbas a robber, a convicted criminal awaiting execution.
John 18:39: But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
John 18:40: Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Pilate thought he could still get Jesus off the hook by torture hoping he could satisfy these Jews baying for His blood.
John 19:1: Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
John 19:4: Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
John 19:5: Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
Upon presenting the severely tortured Jesus to the Jews, this might assuage their anger against Him. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. There was no compromise as far as the Jews were concerned. They would stop at nothing other than the death sentence for Jesus.
John 19:6: When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
By now Pilate was obviously upset. Being a Roman Governor, having to come so low to appease these Jewish slaves was really embarrassing. Pilate concluded the second time he found no fault in Jesus. He challenged the Jews to crucify Jesus themselves.
So what when someone claim to be a king among his people! If there be any insurrection against the Roman empire, they would be brutally put down. Pilate had proved to be a ruthless and brutal ruler.
Luke 13:1: There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
Luke 13:2: And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
The Romans had no qualms not only in suppressing rebellion, if need be they could even desecrate religious practices. So the charge against Jesus as the King of the Jews was rather lame. There was no evidence to support Jesus leading a violent uprising against the Roman empire. Pilate knew full well the Jewish religious authorities envied Jesus and they were making use of him to execute Christ which he was not willing to comply.
Pilate definitely didn’t lose sleep over the charge that Jesus was the King of the Jews. However, the Jews upped the ante against Pilate when they realized this Governor was not willing to pass the death sentence on Jesus. They amended the charge that Jesus not only was the King of the Jews, he was the Son of God.
John 19:7: The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
This was new territory here for Pilate to consider. Being a King of the Jews wasn’t a problem. The moment anyone claiming to be a ring leader seeking to rebel against the Romans, Pilate could easily handle such rebellion. Military options were never off the table. But being charged as the Son of God, this was a completely different situation.
This had raised the earthly affairs to the next level of spiritual war beyond the realms of Pilate and the Roman empire. Upon hearing the new charges against Jesus, it was reported that Pilate was more afraid. So another round of direct examination was in order.
John 19:8: When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
John 19:9: And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Since Pilate didn’t want to know the truth earlier but simply said what is truth and walked off, the Lord Jesus won’t entertain him anymore. He didn’t get any where with the Lord either with this new charge laid against Him. In order to coax the Lord to cooperate with this second direct examination, he issued threats to the Lord, which was quite laughable.
John 19:10: Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
He didn’t even succeed earlier with power bestowed upon him by the Roman empire to release Jesus, he thought he could still exercise that power under him to get Jesus off the hook after this second inquiry. He simply thought too much of himself where he was merely a pawn in this whole affair.
John 19:11: Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
Right now, it wasn’t the Lord Jesus that was standing trial. It was Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor that was on trial. He knew Jesus was innocent but he could not release him. His wife warned him against passing sentence on Jesus and he had to factor in his wife’s concern into his calculation regarding what to do with Jesus. It was silly of him to still think that he had the power to kill and set free and he could exercise that power to do according to his wishes.
He was empowered by Rome to exercise lordship over these Jewish slaves but he found it hard to go against them. Military solution was a possible option to suppress rebellion if he did what was right but he wasn’t willing to go through such trouble. Dealing with an accused criminal not of this world was beyond him. His veiled threats against the Lord were useless. He realized the power bestowed upon him by the Roman empire was nothing if it were not firstly authorized from heaven.
So Pilate continued to belabour himself with this unwanted court case before him trying to secure the release of Jesus. Thinking out of the box was useless against the maddening Jewish crowd out there baying for the blood of Jesus. Pilate had already tried to soften the ground by scourging Jesus but to no avail.
The crowd now charged that Jesus was not just a human King of the Jews but the Son of God. He had no answer to this charge. Was it a crime against the Roman empire? Not necessarily. A crime against the Jewish law on blasphemy perhaps but what had this got to do with the Roman penal code? He couldn’t go back out to the crowd to offer a compromise.
Pilate didn’t choose to get himself into such a situation. His conclusion was right but he could not deal with the Jews now on the verge of rioting if he didn’t accede to their demands to put Jesus to death by crucifixion. Finally, the Jews checked mate Pilate by charging him instead of Jesus for trying to protect Jesus for His crime against their Jewish law.
John 19:12: And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
The Jews now turned personal and were resorting to personal threats against Pilate, the honourable Roman Governor. How audacious were these Roman slaves! They charged Pilate for siding with Jesus and issuing threats against him close to treason against Caesar and of course the Roman empire. This got Pilate into a bind. He found himself caught between a rock and a hard place.
Being a political beast that he was, to save his own skin and not get himself into trouble jeopardizing his own political career, he made deals with the Jews. He asked the Jews whether he should crucify their King. Was he being sarcastic? This was ridiculous. Since when a Roman Governor needed to ask permission from those he lord over?
John 19:15: But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
The reply from these Jews was epic. They had soundly rejected their Messiah and claimed a Gentile ruler to be their own king. The moment these Jewish religious elites made that claim, they had rejected the Law of Moses.
Deuteronomy 17:14: When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
Deuteronomy 17:15: Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
Being custodians of the Law, these religious Jewish elites were willing to transgress the Law of Moses just to get Jesus crucified. How blinded they were with hatred against the Rock of Israel, badly tortured standing before them who gave them the Law!
Matthew 27:22: Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
Matthew 27:23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
Pontius Pilate didn’t get it! He couldn’t figure out the crimes Jesus had committed against the Jews. Like king Herod, he had probably heard about the miracle worker Jesus going around healing the sick, restoring sights to the blind, casting out devils and even raising the dead. Were these crimes against the Jews? Definitely not crimes against the Roman empire. In fact, Jesus was an asset to the Roman empire for helping to reduce health care cost! Moreover, Jesus paid tax as well! Jesus was no trouble maker.
Matthew 17:24: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
Matthew 17:25: He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
Matthew 17:26: Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Matthew 17:27: Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
To issue death sentence on Jesus by crucifixion would go against his professionalism not to mention his conscience. He had already issued a verdict that Jesus was not guilty more than once. He was demanding to know what evil Jesus had done. This might offer him the justification to sentence Jesus to death. But he was given none other than Jesus was charged as a King of the Jews and the Son of God.
It was ridiculous to enter such crimes into record to put Jesus to death knowing full well there was no justification behind the sentence. The whole episode was political. If there were such a crime known as political crime where Pilate could agree to pass the death sentence, he would have done so.
The innocent Jesus, whom he had already scourged hoping this would assuage the Jews to set him free failed. When the Jews turned personal against him and in not so many words charged him for colluding with Jesus against Caesar and the Roman empire, it became too hot to handle. His own political career and even his life could be at stake.
Now with the Jews about to turn violent that day, trying all ways and means to set the guiltless Jesus free was hopeless. To extricate himself from passing the death sentence, he did what he had to do by washing hands before these raging mad Jewish crowd. The situation was red hot in Jerusalem while angels and devils watched this unfolding event with Jesus Christ, the Son of God subjected to abuse and judgment by mere sinful human creatures.
Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Pontius Pilate couldn’t bear to pass the death sentence on Jesus knowing too well He was innocent. But by virtue of the fact that he held the office as a Roman Governor, the power to pass this death sentence rested on him. Has was merely acting as a rubber stamper, rather embarrassing, that was all. He dissociated himself from this death sentence he had to pass which came to pass. Moreover, the Jews were willing to cover for Pilate on this crime against the innocent Jesus when he went along with them to act according to their wishes.
Matthew 27:25: Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Those chilling words uttered two thousand years ago still ring loud and clear till this day. The Jews have been paying the price since for going against the Law of Moses to accept a Gentle king over them as well as rejecting their Messiah and had Him crucified.
All these happened according to the foreknowledge of God to bring salvation to the world through Christ. While the raging madness of the Jews witnessed against Jesus that day and the lame compromising Roman Governor who couldn’t perform his duty with dignity resulting in the crucifixion of Christ, the apostle explained about wisdom beyond this world.
1 Corinthians 2:6: Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1 Corinthians 2:7: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1 Corinthians 2:8: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The Creator God in eternity past knew every heart of man before they come into this world. God allows event to unfold to fulfill His will to redeem Adam’s lost and helpless race, yet still holding those actors accountable for their actions that revealed their wicked hearts in this whole episode on the miscarriage of justice in human affair.
Acts 3:13: The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
Acts 13:28: And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
Pontius Pilate was the state actor for the day, completely humiliated to act against his own will and judgment. To say he had a bad day that day would be an understatement of galactic proportion. He failed to heed his wife’s warning. He failed in his own professionalism. He failed to uphold the high and lofty dignity of the Roman empire before these Jewish slaves. It was not as though he had no physical military means to back up his own verdict. Being a political animal, he was a wimp acting on self-preservation mode.
So he passed the death sentence on Jesus and crucified Christ, the King of the Jews. To get back at the Jews, he deliberately wrote the inscription the crime the Jews originally brought against Jesus, their King and Messiah. Pilate was acting on the power bestowed upon him to crucify the King of the Jews so what were you lowly despicable Jews going to do about this! At least this showed the Jews who was really the boss.
John 19:19: And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
John 19:20: This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
While rejoicing they had their wish fulfilled when Pilate sent Jesus to be crucified, the title the Jews saw set tongue wagging. This was now humiliating. Of course the Jews rejected this. The reason why they wanted Christ crucified was because they didn’t want Jesus to be their King. They were so desperate to even accept Caesar as their king! So they brought the matter to Pilate to change this title.
John 19:21: Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
John 19:22: Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
Now having done what he didn’t want to do, Pilate told these Jews off in no uncertain terms. He was very curt with them. He should have told them off concerning the crimes laid against Jesus in the first place. He tried so hard to compromise with these unreasonable Jews but got him no where. He was not about to compromise with them on this matter as well. There would be no where for him to hide his face having been led around by the nose by these Jews and he was even personally threatened by them for treason against the Roman empire.
Pilate was the most unwilling state actor for this earth-shattering trial in the entire universe. He went against his own conscience to pass the death sentence on Christ. This however, didn’t make him any less culpable for his crime and cowardice even though he washed his hands before these murderous Jews.
After capitulating to the demands of those unreasonable Jewish elites and their raging mad followers, what was Pilate thinking? What was he going to tell his wife that day? Was he satisfied with washing his hands from this sentence of Jesus could get him some peace? Was he angry with himself or with the Jews?
Just when Pilate thought the whole episode was settled and he could get over with this sorry kangaroo court trial and the resulting miscarriage of justice, this same bunch of Jews came to trouble him again. This time was concerning the body of Jesus buried in the tomb.
Perhaps he might be thinking what these crazy Jews were up to again when they could not furnish reasonable evil deeds that caused Jesus to be crucified. Now these mad religious elites were worry about the disappearance of the body of Christ. Were they really insane? Why were they so obsessed with Jesus when he was a live and now even in death? Pilate won’t get it, he never would.
Matthew 27:62: Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Matthew 27:63: Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
Matthew 27:64: Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
At least these religious Jews were not as crazy as they were made up to be. They took the words of Jesus seriously when the Lord told everyone he would rise again on the third day. The irony was that the Lord’s disciples failed to take heed about this and failed to believe the resurrection of Christ.
They were disappointed and dejected after the crucifixion of Christ. They were completely lost. The promised kingdom was gone as far as these followers of Jesus was concerned. They were totally defeated wallowing in despair.
But this was not the case with the Jewish religious authorities. They took the resurrection of Christ seriously. Even though some might not believe in the resurrection like the Sadducees, they could not afford to lose the body of Jesus. So they came to trouble Pilate one more time.
By now the exhausted Roman Governor would be glad to tell them to get lost and not trouble him. He was already very curt with them earlier. He must be really annoyed. He gave order for the tomb of Christ to be secured.
Matthew 27:65: Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
Matthew 27:66: So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
What was Pilate thinking then? Now the responsibility of securing the body of Jesus was passed on to these Jewish accusers and prosecutors. Of course this was carried out in conjunction with the Roman soldiers.
Were they thinking those Roman soldiers were not professional in their duties? They could pay with their lives if things went wrong. The Roman jailor was about to kill himself when he thought the prisoners had escaped during an earthquake.
Acts 16:26: And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Acts 16:27: And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Could Pilate become really disgusted with these troublesome Jews that had caused him so much trouble that day and now even doubt the professionalism of his own men? Did Pilate think they would succeed in securing the tomb and prevent the resurrection of Christ if the resurrection was possible?
Pilate didn’t even want to waste time to reason and debate with these religious Jews in high places. He could have just mocked them to get back at them for forcing his hands to crucify Christ but he did not. Maybe he thought these Jews were hopelessly lost in this whole affair trying to nail an innocent man and they had lost their mind. Even in the death of the convict they were not satisfied.
Perhaps Pilate was secretly hoping Jesus would come back to life so he could undo what he had done wrong on that day. Was there something bordering Pilate now after having Christ crucified? Could he quietly and secretly repented and trusted in Jesus like the centurion and those with him who witnessed the death of Christ on the cross and confessed Jesus was the Son of God?
Matthew 27:54: Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
The trial leading to the crucifixion of Christ was the most momentous event since the creation of the world. It was this day that the Devil was thoroughly defeated.
Hebrews 2:14: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Hebrews 2:15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Though Pontius Pilate was instrumental in the crucifixion of Christ, he and others were unwilling actors in the entire affair blinded by their own sins and living under the dominion of Satan to destroy the Lord of glory. This turned out to be exactly what God the Father had planned to destroy the Devil and offer salvation to the whole world. Moreover, the Lord Jesus Christ also prayed for everyone before he gave up the Ghost on the cross of Calvary.
Luke 23:34: Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Pontius Pilate, the coward and powerless Roman Governor might be found among the just if he had repented of his sins and trusted in the Lord having dealt with Him so intimately on that fateful day. That face to face confrontation with the Lord and having to deal with those Jews steep in hatred for Christ must have been troubling and exhausting.
At least he knew Jesus was innocent and he washed his hands in the entire affair to dissociate himself from the sentence of Jesus. But without repentance and faith in Christ, there would be no salvation for him. He was born into this world to confront the Lord and had the dishonour to be the executioner of the Saviour of the whole world. Some one had to do this job. It happened to be Pontius Pilate! He wore the badge of dishonour as the powerless Governor of the Roman empire.