Truth: Pilate's Role In The Gospel Of John

1176 Words5 Pages
“What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate’s façade of power Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) is possibly one of the most powerful in the Gospel of John. On one hand, for the reader it may bring up existential questions. Another reading may find Pilate’s question as a response to Jesus a challenge, much like the deliberate questions posed by the Pharisees who, throughout the Gospels, try to frame Jesus. Lastly, another reading could have been that Pilate’s question was wholly genuine, therefore alluding to his complete lack of knowledge in Jesus’s word. In the same complex nature, Pilate’s role in the Gospel of John, although short, packs a lot of issues of allegiance, power, and faith. In the scene of Jesus’s trial, he finds himself…show more content…
Pilate foresees the gravity of the situation; however, he does not want to get involved. This is perhaps with good reason, as when he does start questioning Jesus about his alleged “crime”, all he gets is cryptic messages that he is unable to decode. Pilate starts off with straightforward questions, such as “Are you the King of the Jews?” (John 19:33), and assumes that Jesus has committed crimes that are classifiable and real within the Jewish community- “Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” (John 18:35). This quote shows Pilate’s duty in upholding the law by seeking out the “truth” of conviction- why there was an angry mob seeking to murder him. Here, by asking Jesus these direct questions, he tries to establish his own authority in his position as a…show more content…
In order to execute Jesus, Jesus must be proven a direct threat to the emperor’s sovereignty. However, from Pilate’s conversations with Jesus, he cannot ascertain this. Jesus announces “[his] kingdom is not from this world” (John 19:36), thus keeping his proclaimed realm of influence far from the emperor’s. However, this is the opposite of what the mob tells Pilate, who even go as far to threaten Pilate with his own potential disloyalty to the empire- “…the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor” (John 19:12). Caught between the two, Pilate either must concede to the crowd, or face possible danger to his own position. Choosing the former, he still attempts to establish a façade of control, yet tries to maintain an outward unwillingness to indict Jesus due to the lack of actual evidence against him. He constantly refers to Jesus as the “King” of the Jews, almost as if to egg the crowd further on, (John 19:15), but also reiterates that he “…find[s] no case against him” (John 19:6). Unwilling to commit to either cause, he becomes a figure with practically no say in the outcome of Jesus’s

    More about Truth: Pilate's Role In The Gospel Of John

      Open Document