«Get to know God, and you’ll be at peace with Him, and then prosperity will come to you» (Job 22:21, ISV).
IF YOU let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend» (John 19:12), the Jews told Pilate, as the procurator considered the possibility of setting Jesus free. The emperor Tiberius was known for dealing severely with his adversaries; thus, being dubbed as not being «Caesar’s friend» was very dangerous. Perhaps with that threat the Jews wanted Pilate to remember what had happened to Sejanus, his friend.
Sejanus had a close relationship with Tiberius and recommended appointing Pilate as procurator of Judea. It seems Sejanus was later unable to manage his relationship with the emperor, and sometimes gave the impression he was not completely loyal. Tiberius withdrew his support from Sejanus and the Senate condemned him to be executed by strangulation. That was the end of someone who lost his friendship with Caesar, and Pilate knew it.
On the other hand, being considered a friend of Caesar was a sort of «honorific title bestowed in recognition of service» to Rome. Nobody denies the fact that Pilate wanted to be considered a friend of Caesar. Pilate’s famous Stone, containing an inscription in which Tiberius’s name appears together with Pilate’s, is exhibited in the Israel Museum. Pilate’s political ambitions led him to commit the most atrocious injustice that has ever been perpetrated in the universe. And why? Because he wanted to be a friend of Caesar.
To whom does our friendship belong? Do we feel entitled to label Pilate a fool while we imitate his behavior all the time? The Epistle of James says the following: «Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God» (James 4:4, NIV). It seems we have simply changed the noun from «Caesar» to «the world.» Pilate failed in his attempt to find a precarious balance between Caesar and Christ, because it’s impossible to do so.
According to Eusebius, the historian, Pilate ended up committing suicide. He• didn’t find peace in his friendship with Caesar. By contrast, we are promised: «Get to know God, and you’ll be at peace with Him, and then prosperity will come to you» (Job 22:21, ISV). That friendship will give us what Caesar was unable to give Pilate: peace.
Today, right now, we can establish a wonderful friendship with our Creator.