Easter Sermon Series ~ Station Five: Pilate

Station Five: Pilate

Matthew 27:24-26 ~ “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.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.”


Pilate (the indecisive man) tried to escape responsibility for evil. The picture is dramatic. Pilate was overruled by the people’s choice. His own opinion availed nothing, had no influence whatsoever over Jesus’ death. Thus he took a bowl of water and lifted it high; he washed his hands and dried them off. By such an act, Pilate was symbolizing two things.

  1. He was declaring the innocency of Jesus.
  2. He was washing his hands of the whole affair, declaring the people to be the guilty party in the death of Jesus.


But Pilate was not free of guilt. He was the governor, and he knew Christ was innocent of the charge. The responsibility to declare Jesus innocent was his, even if he had to override the accusers. Pilate had the authority and responsibility to do right, to see that justice was done.


1 Kings 18:21 ~ “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.”


We cannot wash our hands from guilt. If we act irresponsibly, we stand guilty. We stand guilty…

  • for rejecting the Lord’s strong confession.
  • for compromising.
  • for failing to listen to strong warning.
  • for ignoring the influence of evil men.
  • for giving in to worldly pressure.
  • for trying to escape the responsibility for evil.


The crowd cried out for the responsibility of Jesus’ blood to be laid to their charge. This is a tragic and unbelievable scene. The mob cried out for God to hold them responsible for the death of Christ. The people did not know what they were saying, yet they were still killing Christ and still acting in an unjust, sinful, savage spirit. Because of their evil spirit against God’s Son, all the evidence of history points toward their request being granted.

  • Their nation and its capital, Jerusalem, were destroyed and taken from them.
  • Their people have been exiled and scattered for centuries.
  • Their very name is often the object of prejudice and hatred.
  • Annihilation of their race has been attempted time and again.


Amazingly, the Jewish people remain a nationality, yet the evoked vengeance has fallen upon them for centuries. Despite their terrible sin, the Jews hold a very special place in God’s heart and plan.


In the book of Mark, Pilate seems not so much cruel as weak.


The book of Luke chapter 23 even more clearly stresses Pilate’s belief in Christ’s innocence.


John 18-19 contains the most elaborate account of Pilate’s trial of Jesus.


Acts refers back to Pilate’s treachery in crucifying Christ (Acts 3:13; 4:27; 13:28), but as part of God’s sovereign will with fulfils the Scriptures.
Pastor Andy Lambert

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