“Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid “(John 19:8).
The religious leaders who wanted to end Jesus ministry rejected Pilate’s offer to release Him after He had been whipped. They wanted Him dead. Pilate had to convince them to abandon that plan, or else hand Jesus per to them so they could kill Him. He faced a great dilemma: to do justice for an innocent man or to protect his political interests as the governor of the Roman province of Judea. Knowing Pilates internal struggle, the Jewish leaders declared that Jesus should die because His message went against their religious laws. Sadly, Pilate decided to save his own prestige at Jesus’s expense. He had power, but he did not have convictions. Power, without convictions to do what is right, is cowardice. His lack of courage lead Pilate to declare an innocent man guilty—Jesus, and to free a guilty man—Barabbas. He washed his hands in public, but he could not cleanse his soul in private, because of the injustice he had committed.
When you have to decide between what is right and what is in your most interest, choose from conviction and not Tom fear. Three times Pilate confessed that Jesus was not guilty (see John 18:38; 19:4, 6). By declaring him innocent but whipping Him, just to please His accusers, he showed his weakness and fear. The priests took advantage of his indecision and pressured him even more. They had not been able to prove that Jesus had broken Roman law, so they took him to Pilate accusing Him of breaking their religious laws and of blasphemy. Blasphemy was the greatest crime in Jewish law and was punishable with death by stoning Accusing Jesus of treason made Him guilty by Roman law, and the punishment was crucifixion. They didn’t care which of the accusations Pilate believed, only that he approve the death of Jesus.
If Pilate had acted correctly, they would have killed Jesus anyway, but he would not have lived the rest of his life with a guilty conscience. During the trial, Pilate showed himself to be vacillating and fearful, and the angry leaders showed themselves full of hatred, while Jesus remained calm. In heaven’s sight, it was PM and the Jewish leaders who were being judged, not Jesus.
When you are questioned, remember that while you are being judged by your accusers, they are being judged by God. Pilate acted out of cowardice, fear of losing his power, and fear for his personal safety. Out of fear, he approved the worst of all crimes. ‘How many, to escape loss or suffering in like mantles sacrifice principle. Conscience and duty point one way, and self-interest points another. The current sets strongly in the wrong direction, and he who compromises with evil is swept away into the thick darkness of guilt” (The Desire of Ages, ch. 77.p. 738).
Make your decisions out of conviction, not out of fear.