Matthew 27:23-26 / Mark 15:14-15 / Luke 23:22-25 / John 19:12-16…
Pilate was doing all he knew to get the priests and the people to stop this madness and release Jesus. He tried to appease the bloodthirsty cries, but it wasn’t going to happen (Acts 13:28). He knew that he was risking a riot if he failed to deliver Jesus up. You can imagine his thoughts. “Oh what am I supposed to do, I want to do the right thing but I can’t, the people won’t let me”.
He took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” Think of the difference between other men and Jesus here. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Pilate washed his hands of Jesus. It is a case of “let me cleanse you” vs. “let me be cleansed of responsibility for you”. Washing his hands didn’t get him clean.
Don’t divorce yourself from this scene so easily, my friend. We have all played the part of Pilate, and yes, against Jesus, no less. It happens when you know something is wrong and you want to do what is right, but you just can’t seem to do it. It isn’t that people won’t let you; it is that the pressure won’t let up. Yes, the pressure may be great, but your perspective on pressure needs to change.
It is called repentance. It means that doing what is right will cost you. Repentance means we may lose things such as friends, respect, position, prestige, power, finances, health, or even life. It involves self-abasement, not self-preservation, or self-promotion. Repentance says that what matters is God’s glory, not my comfort. Repentance consequently strips us of our worldly goods, achievements, and satisfactions; it does not pile them upon us.
Repentance is the very antithesis of what is taught these days. People say if you live clean, then God will be obliged to bless you. The truth is that you can clean the outside and still be dirty on the inside. You can wash your hands as much as you want, but it takes God to wash your heart.