Pontius Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, but he didn’t have the courage to stand up for truth. So, he allowed Jesus to be crucified. While literal crucifixions don’t happen today (at least not in our society), that’s figuratively what happens when we don’t stand up for truth—people suffer.
Standing up for truth is often incredibly uncomfortable, especially when we’re facing today’s hot-button issues. But Jesus tells us that the truth will set us free. Only by trusting in that promise will we find the courage and the fortitude to do what’s right—and say what’s true—in the face of criticism.
Snippet from the Show
“Truth is not an abstract concept. Truth is a person—Jesus Christ. So when I fail to stand up for truth, I’m failing to stand up for Jesus.”
Don’t be like Pontius Pilate
On Good Friday, Pontius Pilate was faced with this very question, “Do I really have to stand up for truth?” He knew Jesus was innocent, yet he chose not to stand up for this truth. Instead, he turned Jesus over to be crucified, condemning an innocent man to death.
When we fail to stand up for truth, other people suffer, just as Jesus suffered at the hands of Pontius Pilate. Whether it’s a false message in society or a false witness against a specific person, Christ wants us to stand up for our brothers and sisters in truth.
John 8:23 – “The truth will make you free.”
Objective Truth vs. Our Own Truth
Instead of Pilate choosing to recognize the real, objective truth that Jesus is innocent, he places a higher value on his own truth, which reflects his own self-interest. Pilate is a smart man and has dealt with several revolutionaries before. Because of this, he can clearly see that Jesus is not guilty of what the people say he is. However, he sees the people are getting angry, and even worse, threatening him by saying he’s “not a friend of Caesar.” Historically, this meant that Pilate as a ruler was not loyal to the King, and therefore was not an honorable man.
Pilate chooses to prioritize his own truth over the objective truth that Jesus is innocent, in order to protect his image and status as a “friend of Caesar.”
Pilate vs. the Faithful Man
So why does Pilate cave into the pressures of the people? Unfortunately for Pilate, he isn’t grounded in the truth. To him, objective truth doesn’t matter. We can see this in his conversation with Jesus before he’s sentenced to death:
John 18:37-38 – “Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
Pilate can see facts, and he can understand them, but he has his own truth. With no truth to guide him, he caves under the pressure of the crowds and sends an innocent man to be crucified.
- No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion (Book) by Edward Sri
- No Greater Love (Study Pack)
- Subscribe to our show by texting “allthingscatholic” to 33-777
- Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic