WAS PILATE INNOCENT?
Leslie M. John
“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. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children”. (Matthew 27:24-25)
When Pontius Pilate, the Governor of the Province, where Jesus was a citizen, was judging His case found that the Lord was innocent; he should have rendered justice instead of escaping from doing it. However, when Pilate boasted saying that he had the power to release or put Jesus to death, the Lord said to him that he had no power over Him, and could not do anything to Him unless such power to execute Him was given from above.
Without knowing the divine purposes that the Father was fulfilling in His Son, Lord Jesus, Pilate washed his hands before the multitude saying ”I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it”. In His own statement the governor acknowledged that Jesus was innocent, and he washed his hands absolving himself from his response anding over Jesus to the people to do injustice.
The ceremonial washing of hands had no meaning here based on the law given by God to the children of Israel. The law was described in Deuteronomy 21:1-9 The law was that if a slain man was found in the land that the LORD gave them, and if the murderer of the dead could not be identified or traced, then the elders, and the judges of that city, and contiguous cities shall come, and measure the distance from the dead body to that of the cities round about it. The city that was very close to the dead body shall take a heifer and offer it as sacrifice. Heifer is a young cow of one year old, which had no calf of its own. The heifer should have not drawn a yoke.
The elders of that city shall then bring the heifer unto a round valley, which was not plowed or planted and where there is no flowing stream of water, and shall strike off heifer’s neck, in the valley. Then, the priests of the order from the tribe of Levite, whom the LORD has chosen, sing praises to the name of the LORD. By their word every controversy shall be resolved.
The elders of the city, which was close to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the beheaded heifer in the valley, and shall say, ”Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge”
Upon such confession, the LORD will forgive them, and shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from among them. The LORD said to them that He dwells in the Land that He gave them and, therefore, they shall not defile the land, where they live, because the land cannot be cleansed of the blood shed therein, except for the shedding of killer’s blood. (Cf. Deuteronomy 21:1-9, Numbers 35:33-34)
It is so pathetic that such recompense was not done by the people who killed innocent Jesus, and before He was killed they called upon themselves curse that His blood their children.
The world has witnessed in AD 70, the avenging of the blood of Jesus and the consequence of calling upon themselves the curse, when Titus came and killed millions of them that crucified Him.
Pilate was not innocent of handing over Jesus to be crucified. The people were not innocent of the killing of Jesus.
However, the LORD provided the way for avenging His blood, and for cleansing of our sins if man repents of his sin, and confesses Him as the LORD and believes in heart that God raised Him from the dead.
”Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our Children” Matthew 27:25
“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” 2 Corinthians 5:21
”That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” Romans 10:9.