Pontius Pilate was the governor at the time John the Baptist was preaching baptism. When Jesus was taken captive, He was taken before Pontius Pilate, the only person who could authorize a death sentence for Jesus. Pilate, not wanting to have the responsibility, sent him to Herod, but Herod sent Him back. Pilate asked Him if He was the king of the Jews. Jesus responded, “Thou sayest.” When Jesus was accused by the chief priests and elders, He remained silent and also stayed silent when Pilate asked Him if He’d heard the accusations, which amazed the governor.
Pilate offered the people a choice of freeing either Barabbas or Jesus. His wife wanted him not to harm Jesus because she had experienced dreams of warning that night. Pilate himself found no wrongdoing in Jesus and knew He had been arrested for envy, not legitimate causes. Pilate told the people he saw nothing evil in Jesus, but when he saw they were determined to have their way he took water and washed his hands in front of them, saying he would not take responsibility for Jesus’ death. The people willingly agreed to accept responsibility and have it on both their own heads and the heads of their children.
Jesus was scourged and a crown of thorns placed on his head. He was mocked and smote. The people called for His crucifixion and again Pilate said he found no fault in the Savior. The people said Jesus had to be crucified due to their laws and Pilate was frightened. He went back in to where Jesus was and questioned Jesus again, who continued to remain silent. He asked Jesus why He would not defend Himself. He asked if Jesus understood that His fate was in Pilate’s hands.
Jesus answered, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Pontius then tried again to get Jesus released, but faced unending pressure from the people, who told him that if he didn’t kill Jesus, he was an enemy to Caesar. He took Jesus out and presented him to the people as their king, and to their response that he needed to be killed, asked if he should crucify their king. They answered that their only king was Caesar. With that, Pilate gave in to the will of the people and released Jesus for crucifixion.
When Jesus was crucified, Pontius wrote on the cross, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews“ in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The people protested, saying it should say that Jesus only said he was the king of the Jews, but Pontius said, “What I have written I have written.” He gave Joseph of Arimathæa permission to take the body.
Pontius Pilate was removed from office a few years later because of a disturbance in Samaria.
Every Person in the New Testament by Lynn F. Price, Cedar Fort Publishing, 2002, United States of America
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and the Apostles