Fourth article: Who suffered under Pontius Pilate - 13 February 2018

Hennie Symington

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Corinthians 5:19

Directly following the Article mentioning Christ’s divine birth, we are thrust into a new arena of suffering and death. Hardly had we come to terms with his miraculous birth, before being confronted by his suffering a mere thirty-three years later.

The inclusion of the name of Pontius Pilate in the Twelve Articles of Faith, has been a debating point for many centuries. One reason he is mentioned, was perhaps to reference Jesus’ life in an era of history, giving credence to the life and times of Jesus and to make sure it was not regarded as some fantastical epic tale of a folk hero slain while fighting for good, but a story anchored in truth and reality.

Another reason for mentioning Pilate, is to indicate that he declared Jesus innocent against his better judgement. His immortal words echoing through the centuries were: “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” (Luke 23:4), yet he condemns him to death. The shame of the cross is that human justice was so perverted by the powers that be, that the innocent is sacrificed for the sake of “political correctness.” In fact, we read in Luke 23:12 that Pilate and the high priest cemented their previously rocky relationship, by agreeing that Jesus should be put to death.

Perhaps this is to remind us of the continuum from Christ’s birth to death. Christ’s suffering began when he gave up his heavenly status to enter this world in humble circumstances. However, the deepest suffering was bearing the holy anger of God on his shoulders. It was on the cross that the greatest evil and the greatest good coincided, making it possible for mankind to live.

Prayer: Father, in a world where deals are the done thing, how often we find ourselves making compromises and sealing pacts which dishonour your name and place us outside the laws of humanity. Forgive us and make think twice before crucifying your name for personal gain. Amen


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