When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” (John 19:8-10)
Relate: We don’t know much about the man. We don’t know where he was born or who his parents were. Yes, there have been a few ideas bandied around but I have seen nothing of legitimate substance. We do know he was of the equestrian class. That means he was minor nobility kind of like a knight who was trying to swim in a world occupied by barons, dukes, and earls. At least… that’s what we think. We do know for a fact that he only lasted in Judea for a couple years after the crucifixion of Christ. We are also pretty sure two years after being recalled he died. Maybe it was in Rome, maybe in a backwater posting in Spain. Some think his body was dumped in the Tiber after his death. There is apocryphal writing that he became a Christian. Probably not. A slight majority of historians will say that he committed suicide but even there it is split between those who think it was a voluntary act and those who believe Caligula ordered his suicide (a common occurrence during that reign).
We don’t know… We think that… Our best guess is… Many believe… words like this need to be used when talking about the history of Pontius Pilate outside of his brief time in Palestine. Until the early 1960s there was a good number of critics who even fairly legitimately questioned if such a person existed. Outside of his interaction with Jesus on that one fateful day Pilate was a nothing. He was a nobody in the rivers of history. This was a man who probably thought he had done pretty good for himself considering his social status. This is the man who thought he had power over Jesus during this encounter in John. Little did he realize that the only reason people know or care about him today is precisely because of that encounter with Jesus.
React: Are we a big shot? When we look over our life to this point, do we have reason to be proud? Are we influencers in our workplaces and communities? Do we believe people respect and value our opinion and insight? When we speak, do things get done?
For some of us that answer might be an unhesitant no. We might view ourselves as nobodies. We are the microbes that the plankton devour before getting eaten by the little guys who are then swallowed by the big fish. Others reading this might really think we are something. We are CEOs or entrepreneurs or someone else who is in a position of influence. At least, that is what we think. In reality big or small the only thing that really matters, the only thing history will care about, is the same thing that made Pilate famous. In the long run, all that really matters is what we do with our encounter with Jesus.