By: Gabriela Yareliz
The city was bustling with visitors from all over; it was Passover time. The priests had arrested Jesus, and wanted to “get rid of Him” in the most discrete manner, while the people were preoccupied with Passover.
Pontius Pilate was the Roman ruling in Judea, and his wife came to him disturbed one morning. She had a dream that an innocent man would die. “While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.'” Matthew 27:19
“A message from God warned him from the deed he was about to commit. In answer to Christ’s prayer, the wife of Pilate had been visited by an angel from heaven, and in a dream she had beheld the Saviour and conversed with Him. Pilate’s wife was not a Jew, but as she looked upon Jesus in her dream, she had no doubt of His character or mission. She knew Him to be the Prince of God.
She saw Him on trial in the judgment hall. She saw the hands tightly bound as the hands of a criminal. She saw Herod and his soldiers doing their dreadful work. She heard the priests and rulers, filled with envy and malice, madly accusing. She heard the words, ‘We have a law, and by our law He ought to die.’ She saw Pilate give Jesus to the scourging, after he had declared, ‘I find no fault in Him.’ She heard the condemnation pronounced by Pilate, and saw him give Christ up to His murderers.
She saw the cross uplifted on Calvary. She saw the earth wrapped in darkness, and heard the mysterious cry, ‘It is finished.’ Still another scene met her gaze. She saw Christ seated upon the great white cloud, while the earth reeled in space, and His murderers fled from the presence of His glory. With a cry of horror she awoke, and at once wrote to Pilate words of warning.
While Pilate was hesitating as to what he should do, a messenger pressed through the crowd, and handed him the letter from his wife, which read:
‘Have thou nothing to do with that just Man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.’
(Page 733) Pilate’s face grew pale. He was confused by his own conflicting emotions[…]
Pilate was troubled. He had not thought it would come to that. He shrank from delivering an innocent man to the most ignominious and cruel death that could be inflicted. After the roar of voices had ceased, he turned to the people, saying, ‘Why, what evil hath He done?’ But the case had gone too far for argument. It was not evidence of Christ’s innocence that they wanted, but His condemnation.” The Desire of Ages, by Ellen G. White, pg. 732-734
When Pilate comes face to face with Jesus, he takes him apart to where they are alone and asks him some questions.
“Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’
Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?’
Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?’
Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’
Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’
Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’
Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, ‘I find no fault in Him at all.'” John 18: 33-38
“Pilate was astonished at His [Jesus’] bearing. […] Hoping to gain the truth from Him and to escape the tumult of the crowd, Pilate took Jesus aside with him, and again questioned, ‘Art Thou the King of the Jews?’
Jesus did not directly answer this question. He knew that the Holy Spirit (Page 727) was striving with Pilate, and He gave him opportunity to acknowledge his conviction. ‘Sayest thou this thing of thyself,’ He asked, ‘or did others tell it thee of Me?’ That is, was it the accusations of the priests, or a desire to receive light from Christ, that prompted Pilate’s question? Pilate understood Christ’s meaning; but pride arose in his heart. He would not acknowledge the conviction that pressed upon him. ‘Am I a Jew?’ he said. ‘Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee unto me: what hast Thou done?’
Pilate’s golden opportunity had passed. Yet Jesus did not leave him without further light. While He did not directly answer Pilate’s question, He plainly stated His own mission. He gave Pilate to understand that He was not seeking an earthly throne.
Christ affirmed that His word was in itself a key which would unlock the mystery to those who were prepared to receive it. It had a self-commending power, and this was the secret of the spread of His kingdom of truth. He desired Pilate to understand that only by receiving and appropriating truth could his ruined nature be reconstructed.
Pilate had a desire to know the truth. His mind was confused. He eagerly grasped the words of the Saviour, and his heart was stirred with a great longing to know what it really was, and how he could obtain it. “What is truth?” he inquired. But he did not wait for an answer. The tumult outside recalled him to the interests of the hour; for the priests were clamorous for immediate action. Going out to the Jews, he declared emphatically, ‘I find in Him no fault at all.’
Pilate at this time had no thought of condemning Jesus[…]Justice demanded that Christ should be immediately released. But Pilate dreaded the ill will of the people.” The Desire of Ages, by Ellen G. White, pg. 726-728
It always gets to me how Pilate asks Jesus the most important question “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Yet, Pilate immediately leaves after asking and does not wait for the answer. Ultimately, Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified. He “washes his hands” of the matter (as if that really exculpated him); yet it was by his authority that all of the events unfolded from there on out.
God stops at nothing when it comes to the salvation of all of humanity. Each person seals his or her destiny with a choice that they make either accepting or rejecting God; but God is just, and He reveals Himself to each member of the human family. Each person’s heart is spoken to by the Holy Spirit, and each makes an informed decision.
In the world, there are some of us to whom God reveals Himself in small or abstract things. Maybe a dream, music, nature–but we know it’s Him. Like Pilate’s wife, we may not know the fullness of the matter, but we recognize Him for who He is, and accept His message to us and His presence with us. She said she had “suffered” in her dream.
When God reveals himself to us, it may not be roses and rainbows. It may be a sharp wake-up call for us, but we can either take it or ignore it. When we accept it, we not only accept His presence, but we tell others, as she warned her husband. Even though she told her husband, her husband chose not to listen. Accepting conviction and salvation is an individual matter. Pilate’s wife had a conviction of who Jesus was, her husband chose to ignore the wrestling of his soul, and he took the easy way out.
There are some of us that come face to face with God, as Paul did on his way to Damascus (Acts 9) and as Pilate did in this passage. There are bold turning points in our lives where we are face to face with God Himself. Even when we come face to face with God, we have a choice. He says to us, “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate was curious, but he didn’t wait for the answer to his question and decided to walk away and succumb to pressure from leaders and those surrounding him. He thought of his position as a Roman and not his soul.
“Here Pilate showed his weakness. He had declared that Jesus was (Page 732) innocent, yet he was willing for Him to be scourged to pacify His accusers. He would sacrifice justice and principle in order to compromise with the mob. This placed him at a disadvantage. The crowd presumed upon his indecision, and clamored the more for the life of the prisoner. If at the first Pilate had stood firm, refusing to condemn a man whom he found guiltless, he would have broken the fatal chain that was to bind him in remorse and guilt as long as he lived. Had he carried out his convictions of right, the Jews would not have presumed to dictate to him. Christ would have been put to death, but the guilt would not have rested upon Pilate. But Pilate had taken step after step in the violation of his conscience. He had excused himself from judging with justice and equity, and he now found himself almost helpless in the hands of the priests and rulers. His wavering and indecision proved his ruin.” Id. pg. 731-732
As we ask God to guide us, it is so important for us to ask God to help us see Him more clearly in our lives. We must ask God to help us not ignore our convictions and to not live in violation of our conscience. We must be still, and recognize God for who He is. We must plead for the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts every day, and to guide us in the way we should go. We must make a choice, daily, of what we will do with God when He reveals Himself to us through the small or when we encounter Him in a bolder “face to face” moment.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, seals us, guides us to all truth, and tells us of things to come. Be aware of how God reveals Himself to you on a daily basis. Ask for the Holy Spirit. Choose how you will respond to God’s presence; you can act like Pilate’s wife or Pilate. Live conscious of the fact that you are in God’s presence, and ask with faith.
“If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”Luke 11: 9-10, 11-13
For more information on the Ten Days of Prayer, visit:
Day 10: Pleading for the Spirit