And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”
And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:1-5
I have always found Pontius Pilate enigmatic. Opponents of Christianity have said that he never existed, even though Pilate is featured prominently in the passion narratives and early creeds. But in 1961, archaeologists found a stone in Caesarea Maritima with the following Latin inscription:
DIS AUGUSTIS TIBERIEUM PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS IUDAEAE FECIT DEDICAVIT (To the Divine Augustus Tiberius – Pontius Pilate Prefect of Judea has dedicated)https://www.biblicalreproductions.com/product/the-pontius-pilate-inscription/#:~:text=The%20Pontius%20Pilate%20Inscription%20was%20discovered%20in%20secondary,temple%2C%20in%20which%20the%20Emperor%20Tiberius%20was%20worshipped.
This authenticated discovery is important because it anchors Pilate in history as it bears his name and that of his emperor. I think this is why the creed writers add him, as he provides real context and credibility to Jesus’ story.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Gehenna; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy universal church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.Apostles’ Creed
A few years ago, I got to play Pontius Pilate in a musical production at the church. I researched his background (after all, this is what the true thespians do!). According to Jewish writers of the time, Pilate was inflexible and cruel, but the exchange in Mark does not display these “qualities.” Jesus’ answer, or lack of one, causes Pilate to be amazed. NOTE: θαυμάζω [thau-maz-o] even sounds like “amazed,” and some scholars even say that this word bears a hint of admiration in its tone.
I chose to portray Pontius Pilate as pompous, arrogant, and incredulous. But I added a splash of genuine inquisitiveness to his posture.
Ten years ago, you called me to a church that takes your Scriptures very seriously and the context that supports them. This position has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to act, sing, and even dance! Thank you, Lord!
I pray this in the name of the Son of Man. Amen!