So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (v. 16 ESV)
The Apostles’ Creed mentions three names among its 111 words. The first, of course, is Jesus; the second is Mary; the third is Pontius Pilate.
Pilate would have been totally forgotten, just another minor official of a long-dead empire, except for a trial over which he presided one day. But that was the trial at which Pilate condemned Jesus to death, and now his name lives in infamy forever. How would you like to be eternally remembered as the man who crucified Christ?
Pilate didn’t want to condemn Jesus. But like so many successful men, Pilate was in love with the world—with his status, his possessions, especially with his career. Set over against all of that was this one innocent man, Jesus Christ.
The balance was tipped at the decisive moment when someone in the crowd shouted that if Pilate released Jesus, he would be no friend of Caesar. So Pilate’s choice came down to this: He could either be Jesus’ friend or Caesar’s. He could have the world or he could have Christ, but not both. Though Pilate would like to have chosen Jesus, he just couldn’t bring himself to pay what that would cost him.
What about you? Which will you choose today: the world, or Jesus?
You may have all the rest; give me Jesus.