Pontius Pilate, who was the governor or prefect of Judaea when Jesus was brought to trial, was a man who regularly sent prisoners (innocent or guilty) to be executed. He caused uprising amongst the Jewish people with his disregard of their traditions. He was known by historians writing a few years later, as a corrupt, bad tempered, cruel and insulting man who executed and murdered people. He is part of the Christian Creeds “suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died and was buried.”
When Jesus was brought before him, there would have been little hope and yet,he was intrigued. John’s gospel reports a discussion about kingdoms and truth. Luke’s gospel tells us that Jesus was sent to King Herod who sent him straight back to Pilate when he could not get Jesus to do any miracles for his entertainment.Pilate’s own wife had dreamt about Jesus and told her husbandnot to get involved.
In the end Pilate washed his hands of Jesus and allowed the people to make the decision. Thus Jesus was condemned by a crowd stirred up by the leaders of the time to get him out of the way. How do we pray for our leaders? How do we support them and also hold them accountable?
In the moment of deepest failure, Jesus arose. This victory is beyond politics and religion and reminds us that faith is personal. Faith is most powerful when it hits the individual in the heart. They cannot turn to the church, not to their favourite religious relative nor to the people. It is their own decision. They have to decide to trust, to commit.
So we pray for our leaders and the personal and political choices. Here is a prayer from the Archbishops where we pray for those in power and who have to make decisions.
God of hope, in these times of change, unite our nation and guide our leaders with your wisdom. Give us courage to overcome our fears, and help us to build a future in which all may prosper and share; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Best wishes, Revd KC