Pilate was a key player in the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. And yet unlike the high priests who were strongly in opposition to Jesus, Pilate wanted to take a position of neutrality. He didn’t want to make a decision as to where he stood on Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah.
The High Priests didn’t have the authority to execute Jesus. So they brought Him to Pilate. They didn’t even manage to come up with a legitimate charge to bring against Him, telling Pilate when asked what the accusation against Jesus was “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” (John 18:30). They passed Jesus over to Pilate and left it to Pilate to decide what would happen to Him. But Pilate was keen to pursue a position of neutrality. He didn’t want to take sides.
The problem is, when it comes to Jesus, there can be no neutral zone. When someone claims to be the Son of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only way to the Father, the One who by laying done His life would save all who believe there must be a decision – that person is either a mad-man, a bad-man or the God-man. He is either deluded, lying, or he is who he says he is. A decision must be made.
Pilate asked all the right questions. He asked Jesus “” Are you the King of the Jews?”” (John 19:33). He asked “” What is truth?”” (John 19:38) – a very ironic question to ask the One who is the way, the truth and the life. He asked the questions, but he didn’t listen to the answers. His downfall was his attempt to not take sides. Though he found no guilt in Jesus (John 19v6) he didn’t want to upset the religious leaders or the crowd who were calling for a crucifixion. So, he stood back, and his unwillingness to decide resulted in Jesus being crucified. By not deciding what his personal views on Jesus were Pilate allowed himself to be led by the crowd. He gave in to their demands to crucify Jesus, not because he had decided Jesus was a bad-man or a mad-man, but because he didn’t want to make a decision. He didn’t want to commit to the possibility that Jesus could be the God-man. He was prepared to consider that Jesus was a good man, but not that He was God. But that is not an option that is left open because of the claims Jesus made.
To not decide where we stand on the issue of whether Jesus was a mad-man, a bad-man or the God-man is to fall victim to the same folly that Pilate did. There is no neutral zone. A decision must be made. If Jesus is not who he claimed to be then He must be either a liar or deluded. If we have not personally decided that Jesus is God we have by default decided he is a mad-man or a bad-man. There are no other options open to us. There is no neutral zone. We must make our own decision. We must weigh up what Jesus claimed and decide if we will put our faith in Him as our Lord and Saviour. If you are trying to live in that non-existent neutral zone then please take time today to make a decision. Learn from Pilate’s mistake and take time today to surrender to Jesus, the One who is Truth.