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Three Divine Interventions on Pilate's Biggest Day

Weekly Devotions

Weekly articles written to encourage, challenge, and inspire Christians.

Three Divine Interventions on Pilate's Biggest Day

Paul Ussher

Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?
— Matthew 27:22

On the backdrop of the Lord's death, Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of the Roman Providence of Judaea, was presented with three divine interventions on what would become the biggest day, not only in his life, but in all of human history.

A Dream

The first divine intervention presented to Pilate came in the form of a dream that was experienced by his wife.  God often spoke in the power of dreams, both in the Old and New Testament and both to sinners and saints.  The description of this dream is not known to us, as was the case for Joseph, Daniel, Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar.  Instead, all we know is that it greatly troubled Pilate's wife.  It was quite clear to her that her husband should not have anything to do with the just man named Jesus.  Pilate did make all intentions to listen to his wife, but in the end, Pilate is actually most remembered in history for his association and actions against Christ.          

A Death

The second divine intervention presented to Pilate on that day of Passover was the swiftness of the Lord's death.  Pilate was very experienced with cross death and so when he found out that Christ was dead already, we read in the gospel accounts that 'He Marvelled".  A definition of 'marvel' is to consider something to be so amazing, that it must be an 'Act of God'.  It is not known whether Pilate could have understood what really transpired, even though his own experience pointed to the fact that something out of this world just took place.  The death certificate, at least of that time period, was confirmed by the same centurion who said after our Lord's death, "Truly this was the Son of God".  This soldier was another direct contact that Pilate encountered who was greatly affected by Christ and the circumstances around His death.  

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A Deposition 

The third divine intervention presented to Pilate on that day came from an unlikely source, a man named Joseph of Arimathea.  Due to Joseph's position, he too would have been known to Pilate and was likely very respected by him.  The unlikeliness comes because Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin, the very group that for envy, delivered Jesus to Pilate.  This group had provided false excusers to the trial and they likely motivated the mob to choose Barabbas over Christ.  It is one of these members, that  boldly requested the body of Jesus, to give Him a proper Jewish burial.  This was a third person that Pilate came in contact with on this day, that had shown his great affection for Jesus.  This deposition, or removal from the cross and burial, was the third divine intervention that was presented to Pilate on that day.  We know that Pilate granted Joseph his request, but we never read of Pilate seizing his opportunity to seek out the Truth.         

As a man ruling in a very difficult region, Pontius Pilate would have been under extreme pressure to keep rebellion into subjection.  However, though his tactics were ruthless and his politics corrupt, these divine interventions remind us all that each person, irrespective of background or position, is given opportunities by God to receive Salvation.  This should be a motivation to us as believers to view everyone we meet as a candidate for the Gospel.