The New Testament names him Pontios Pilatos, or as many would recognize him, Pontius Pilate. He was the Roman prefect (governor) of Judaea under the emperor Tiberius, from 26-36 C.E.
The circumstances occurred when Yahushua the messiah was brought before Pontius Pilate by the Jewish religious leaders to exact an execution to be legally carried out by the Roman state.
The historical evidence dates this event to Abib 14, Passover day, of 30 C.E., corresponding to Thursday, April 6.
Was it possible that Pilate was capable of grasping some sense of truth from Yahushua?
Let us proceed to take a look at the events as given by John 18:19-19:22.
The high priest then questioned Yahushua about his disciples and his teaching.
Yahushua answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.
Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.”
When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Yahushua with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”
Yahushua answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest.
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”
One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
Then they led Yahushua from the house of Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover (Pharisaic practice on Abib 15).
So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.”
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
This was to fulfill the word which Yahushua had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Yahushua, and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Yahushua answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?”
Yahushua answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”
Pilate said to him,
“So you are a king?”
Yahushua answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
Pilate said to him,
“What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them,
“I find no crime in him.”
“But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
Then Pilate took Yahushua and scourged him.
And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe.
They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
Pilate went out again, and said to them,
“See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.”
So Yahushua came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.”
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the son of the deity.”
When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid.
He entered the praetorium again and said to Yahushua,
“Where are you from?”
But Yahushua gave no answer.
Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”
Yahushua answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.”
When Pilate heard these words, he brought Yahushua out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
Now it was the day of preparation of the Passover (of the Pharisees); it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews,
“Behold your King!”
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Yahushua, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Yahushua between them.
Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read,
“Yahushua of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Yahushua was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’”
“What I have written I have written.”
In summary, Pilate knew that he was coerced by the Jewish religious leaders to have the Roman state perform the execution of an innocent man.
Under normal circumstances, Pilate would have cared less about a seemingly routine crucifixion of a Jewish criminal.
No doubt, according to the text, Pilate sensed that he was dealing with no ordinary man.
Pilate recognized Yahushua’s innocence and wished to release him but eventually succumbed to the pressure by the Jews for a Roman sanctioned execution.
When Pontius Pilate was pressed upon further by the Jews to alter the inscription that he had written, thereby maintaining the fraud perpetrated upon Yahushua, he would have none of it!
Even though Pilate had never previously heard Yahushua speak, it was Yahushua who had said:
“I am the way, and THE TRUTH, and the life; no one comes to the father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Pontius Pilate, the Roman, had spoken face-to-face with the man who was “the Truth.”
Whether he knew it or not, Pontius Pilate, in reality, inscribed the answer to the question that he had previously posed to Yahushua and then had it placed at the execution site for all to see.
Ironically, the Jewish religious leaders were to be confronted with the truth of who it was that they had convicted of blasphemy according to their law and who they wrongfully condemned to death.
Pilate made sure of that when he wrote:
“Yahushua of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”