In life, we have to take sides sometimes. There are occasions in which this can put us in a dilemma. On the one hand, deep inside us, we know which side is in the right. On the other, there are considerations that sway us to take the side of the wrong; close relationship, peer pressure, self-interest, threats, etc. The consequences could prove dire if we chose the latter, not to mention there would be a perversion of the truth.
Pilate also found himself in such a predicament. He was under tremendous public pressure to crucify Jesus. Yet, he knew deep inside him that Jesus was innocent, but he was afraid of the people. He was afraid of their threats. He was afraid of losing his position. He tried very hard to evade responsibility. Initially, he handed Jesus over to the Jews for them to decide on the case. The Jews, however, wanted to appear clean before the Passover, so they handed Jesus back to him. Finally, he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified, and washed his hands for fear of being punished, but Jesus declared that Pilate’s decision was a sin: “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (Jn. 19:11).
We can never hide our motives from God. Whenever we have to take sides on an issue, our commitment to the truth is put to the test. As Christians, we are all called to be people of the truth. Are we willing to suffer to be on the side of the truth – or would we rather do otherwise and go with the crowd, save our face, save our own skin or gain someone else’s favour? Whenever we have to take sides, let us remember that the wrong choice can put us in a position that is against God.
Pilate paid dearly for not choosing to be on the side of the truth. In the Apostles’ Creed, his name is associated with Jesus’ death. Through the centuries, Christians all over the world recite the same, over and over again: Suffered under Pontius Pilate.
As we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, may God give us the courage and strength to always stand as gatekeepers of the truth by siding with the truth.
Have there been times when you chose to protect your position or status instead of siding with the truth? If that is so, perhaps this is a good time to ask the Lord for forgiveness.