And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
Had Pilate changed his mind about who Jesus was? Did he now see Him as a king—the King? Did he understand, as a political man and a ruler himself, the truth of Jesus and His true position to rule and reign? He is no longer “the man,” but He is now “your king,” the Jews’ king whom they rejected. Pilate himself is starting to see the truth as the Jews stubbornly cling to Caesar. He finds no fault as they proclaim Jesus’ guilt. He seeks to save His life as they condemn Him to death.
And so did Pilate also then, perhaps, understand that this must go forward, that this unjust execution must be carried out, that though he opposed it, he could not stop it because it was being driven onward by the will of God, not the Pharisees and certainly not himself? Jesus had said He was a King with a kingdom not of this world. And Jesus had told Pilate that he had no power over Him unless God gave it to him. The Jews had revealed Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. And when Pilate adds it all up, this is his conclusion.
That’s how Pilate could consent to Jesus’ death, but not without making a proclamation of his view of His innocence, of his official declaration that there was no sin, no crime, no fault in Jesus at all. And the sign he places above Jesus is a caption of sorts, an intentional statement to all who would pass by: “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” It seems he had come to see in Jesus Christ a true and noble King dying for His people.
What was it that changed his mind? Examining Jesus, looking closely into who He was, what He was doing, and then listening to what He said. And so have we examined all the evidence? Have we heard all the statements? Have we listened to what He has to say? And so then can we see Him for what He truly is? He was the King of the Jews, the promised Messiah. He was innocent, sinless, perfect. He was obeying God. He was dying for us, for His people. Will we allow Jesus Himself to change our mind from what is untrue to what is true about who He is and what He is doing and why? And then can we surrender to Him and bow before Him as our King, allowing His will to be done no matter what it requires of us?