A paraphrase account of Jesus' inquisition before Pontius Pilate:
Chief priests and officers: "Pilate, this guy's crazy. We must put him to death!"
Pilate: "Why? What has he done?"
Chief priests and officers: "He's going around claiming to be the Son of God! Pure blasphemy!"
Pilate: "Well, after questioning him I find no guilt in him. How bout we just rough him up a bit?"
Chief priests and officers: "Yeah! Let's scourge him, beat him, and spit in his face!"
Pilate: "There, are you satisfied?"
Chief priests and officers: "Crucify! Crucify him!"
Pilate: "Whoa...Crucify him? No way. Not me. You crucify him. I'm outta here! Oh, and for the record I'm washing my hands of this incident."
Now did Pilate really wash his hands clean of the matter? Of course not. As for what happens next, Pilate could have stopped it.
For some reason I can identify with Pilate. I recognize the dilemma he's in. He's severely bothered by his conscience (as he should be!). His questioning to Jesus, "What is truth?" bares his inner wrestling. His wife even warns him not to have anything to do with Jesus. Yet, he is human. An uprising is on his hands, not to mention his tanking approval rating as governor. Ultimately, he gives in to the pressure.
Pilate means to do good, but fails miserably. He is a coward. By not intervening he is just as guilty as the Roman soldiers hitting the nails. He attempts to clear his conscience by washing his hands clean of the incident. Instead, he is ironically sealing his own fate in the matter. He has an opportunity to do right in God's eyes, but instead gives in to the crowd.
Yes indeed. I see myself in Pilate. I empathize with him. There are times when I want to be bold for the gospel, but shrink back in fear of what others may think or say. Other times I am guilty of doing nothing, like Pilate, and going along with the crowd. Aye-yai-yai.
Lord, give us the strength to stand for the truth. Remind us of Pilate and the cost of doing nothing.