Matthew 27:1-26 – Political Correctness
September 22, 2019
During the time of Jesus, Israel was under Roman control. When Rome conquered a territory, they would always send a Roman official to serve as governor of that area. Pontius Pilate was that official. However, Israel was not a prestigious appointment. History tells us that Pilate served there for 11 years, which was much longer than any of the governors before or after him. This means that Pilate wasn’t that great of a governor and couldn’t get promoted to a better post. He provoked the Jews in numerous ways that led to numerous insurrections and a great deal of social unrest. He would steal from the temple treasury to pay for his building projects and even allowed the Romans to worship Caesar in front of the temple. Pilate’s career ended when he was eventually fired and banned from government work by the Roman Emperor Caligula.
As a failing politician, Pilate was in no way interested with what was true or right. His only concern was his own self-preservation and promotion. This was the height of political correctness 2,000 years ago. It also explains why Pilate is “amazed” at the lack of self-preservation that Jesus shows. Jesus doesn’t care about teams, power, or status. Jesus cares about the truth (John 18:37). Jesus gives His life for what is true and right… something Pilate would never do. Even though Pilate clearly expresses that Jesus is innocent… He still condemns Jesus to death. In the end, truth is traded for public opinion.
WHOM DO YOU CHOOSE?
The crowd that gathered before Pilate had a choice to make. They could choose Jesus of Nazareth or Barabbas. Barabbas was a prisoner of Rome. He was arrested for leading an insurrection against Rome that ended in murder (Luke 23:19). To the Jews, he would have been a hero, a person fighting to liberate them from the tyrannies of Rome. The irony is that Jesus is the one who could liberate them from much more… sin, death, and hell.
Like those gathered in Pilate’s court, we too have a choice to make. Will we choose the path that looks the most beneficial to us at the moment? Will we choose the one who seems to be able to give us what we want? Or will we choose the one who stood for love and truth? Will we choose the one who gives us what we need? His name is Jesus! He is the long prophesied Messiah! Choose you this day whom you will serve.
- How do we see the Gospel when the motivations of Pilate and Jesus are shown side by side? What kind of leader do you want to follow? One that follows truth, or one that is swayed by public opinion?
- As we think about the differences between Pilate and Jesus, what does it look like for us to live more like Jesus and less like Pilate?
- The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (Psalm 118: 22: Acts 4:11-12). Discuss the rejection of Jesus, not by Pilate who washes his hands, but by the Israelites themselves. Why is this significant?