Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’ But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?’ But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Matthew 27.11-14)
There is something so dignified about Jesus, standing there before Pilate. He has been brought from that dungeon under the house of Caiaphas and taken to the others side of the Temple Mount where the Antonia Fortress stood. There he was dragged before Pilate for whom this was his HQ. But he refuses to play their game, refuses to give them what they want – ‘You say so’. Just three words, three defiant words.
This is the first time we meet Pontius Pilate. We will meet him quite a bit before this day ends and we will feel that we have got to know him. Instead of being a walk on character in the passion, a bit-player on the margins, this Roman official will become part of history and each Sunday Christians around the world will mention his name as they say
‘suffered under Pontius Pilate …’
as they recite the Creed. He thought he was going to an obscure and fractious posting. He was right about the latter – but he has not been lost in obscurity, not all. We never know what role will be asked of us in life.
I don’t know what you will ask of me today, Lord,
I only ask that you will give me the strength to do it.