For the third time he demanded, "Why? What crime has a committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. I will therefore flog him and let him go."
But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus' death, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he delivered Jesus over to them to do as they wished."Luke 23:22-25
Pilate. One who knows what the right decision is to make. verse 14 says that the leading priests and other religious leaders had brought Jesus accusing Him of leading a revolt and Pilate says that after thoroughly examining him on the point, he found him innocent. Pilate goes further to say that Herod came to the same conclusion.
O.K. At this juncture, they should let Jesus go, right? I mean think about our court system in the United States. If I am accused of a crime. When I have had a fair trial, if I am declared innocent, if the verdict says that i am innocent, I am then released back into civil society free to move about as if I had never been tried. I maintain all the rights and privileges of any other law-abiding citizen of the land. So, Jesus should have been let go at that point.
But Pilate's a bit of a people pleaser. Yeah, he sentenced Christ to die. We'll see that in verse 25. But you get a preview of it in verse 16. He says to the people "Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty." But then he says, "So I will have him flogged, but then I will release him."
What in the world is that?!? If the man is as you say, that is innocent, why are you flogging him?!? I have seen this so often in conflicts. One person is clearly wrong. The case gets to the point where a mediator is necessary. And when the mediator comes in, if they are friends with both, they are quick to start saying that both people are wrong. If that is the case, then it's all good. But often one person is wrong and the mediator, because of some factor unrelated to the facts of the dispute in question, doesn't have the courage to say to the person who is wrong, "You're in the wrong."
If the man is innocent, He deserves to walk away. And to walk away unscarred! Why is Pilate beating a man who he knows is innocent?!? There must be more to this story than meets the eye. There's something he wants or needs from these leading priests and religious leaders.
It is a crying shame though when innocent people cannot find justice from those in power. We ought to be able to have an impartial hearing receive an impartial verdict at the end of a trial. This is so unfair.
It goes beyond Pilate's giving in to having Him flogged when He didn't deserve to be flogged. And I think that people who lack principled courage will sink to depths not even they themselves can imagine. Pilate was willing to compromise on what he knew was wrong to do -- beating an innocent man -- because he thought he could control the situation enough to give them a little of what they wanted without condemning the man to die.
But Pilate didn't understand that you can't play with evil. It is consuming. When you think you can give in a little, it'll take much more than you EVER intended for it to have. In fact, it will take OVER.
Once the blood-thirsty crowd sensed Pilate's weakness, they wouldn't let up. They knew that if he was folding to their pressure to the extent that he would beat an innocent man, he would fold under greater pressure. The Bible says a mighty roar came from the crowd when Pilate said he would have Christ flogged then released. They shouted with one voice, "Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!"
Weak Pilate argued, but they came back with, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" It's over. You can see Pilate's weakness by his third resistence. "Why?" he says, "What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence Him to death. I will therefore flog him and let him go."
If Pilate were a person of real leadership, he would have made his decision and left it there. But he wasn't. He was not a leader who could make a decision and stand by it, he had his finger in the political winds. He wanted to be reelected, if you please. He was more concerned about pleasing his base than doing the right thing. It is clear that he knew what was right to do. But he was weak, too weak to do it.
God help me to do the right thing. Help me not to fold under the pressures of evil people. Help me not to make innocent people pay for what they have not done. May the innocent find an advocate that will stand against evil when it's nobody but them and me. For in this story, I see that it's not just enough to know what's right. We need to do what's right.