So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27.24-26)
Was he just a coward? His wife had been out to tell him that she had had a dream that night and that he was to have nothing to do with this man before him. Whether he has listened to his wife or not he decides enough is enough. One thing he had to do was keep the peace on this edge of the empire. It looked like there would be a riot – give them what they want, if it will keep the peace.
So a bowl is brought and he washes his hands of the problem, washes his hands of the man, washes his hands and gives Jesus into their hands.
As often as I want to wash my hands of something the truth is I can’t – but it is tempting.
Lord, make me strong enough
to do the right thing
and not to wash my hands
of my responsibilities.