Sermons from Enemies – Don’t Have Anything to do with Jesus

Sermons from Enemies – Don’t Have Anything to do with Jesus is the second sermon in our Lenten series looking at the truth Jesus’ enemies spoke from the Passion Readings.  Could Pilate’s wife have known how true her words were? Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man! Jesus wasn’t just innocent of the charged the Jews brought against him at his trial before the Roman governor – he was innocent of sin before a holy God.

She was surprised to see Jesus of Nazareth on trial in her husband’s courtroom.  Yet, as she looked on, she grew proud of her husband, Pontius Pilate.  He was the only one willing to defend this innocent prophet; no one else would offer a word in his defense.  The case was drawing to a close, and Pilate was ready to declare Jesus, “Not Guilty.”

“Take him away!” the crowd shouted, “Crucify him!”

Pilate stood firm.  He waited for the screaming to subside.  Then he waved his hand to the mob.  “Hear me! As governor of Judea, as representative of his imperial majesty Tiberius Caesar, and as judge of the provincial court of Jerusalem, I hereby declare Jesus of Nazareth ‘Not Guilty’ of all charges against him.  I am releasing the defendant.  This court stands adjourned.”

With that, Pilate rose from his chair and ordered the Roman soldiers to untie Jesus and give him safe conduct back to Galilee.

The crowd watched dumbfounded as the last of the troops led the Nazarene away, when one young scribe, with venom in his eyes, pointed at Pilate and screamed, “Then crucify him!”  A bloodcurdling yell arose from the people.  They formed a lynch mob, stormed the judgment seat and tore at Pilate’s body before the guards could assist him.  They pounded his head.  They slashed his flesh.  Even before his body was hoisted onto a crude cross hammered together from scrap lumber, Pontius Pilate was dead (adapted from Paul I Maier, Pontius Pilate)

With a scream Pontius Pilate’s wife sat bolt upright in bed and, after a long moment, she came to her senses.  It was a nightmare.  This hadn’t really happened.  But why had she dreamed it? What did it mean? Her husband was the judge, and Jesus of Nazareth was on trial that Friday morning.  Was her dream a prophecy?  A prediction?  A warning?  Any schoolgirl in the Mediterranean knew the story of how a Roman woman named Calpurnia, seventy years before, had a dream in which she saw the torn and bloodied coat of her husband.  The following morning her husband, Julius Caesar, was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate.  What was Pilate’s wife to think?

That may sound like revisionist history, but it’s just an attempt at what the dream looked like to Pilate’s wife.

Want to hear more?  Watch this week’s message taken from Matthew 27 – Sermons from Enemies – Don’t Have Anything to do with Jesus.