Matthew's Portrayal Of Pilate

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Matthew 27: 11-66 is the story of Jesus being brought to trial before Pilate. Pilate accused, charged and condemned Christ. Many people who read this story have an opinion that Pilate is either a negative, positive or neutral figure. Pilate is the main reason as to why Jesus was crucified, therefore Matthew’s portray of him can make Pilate seem positive or negative. In a literary critique of this story, Callie Callon fights that Pilate is a negative figure. Throughout Pilate the Villain: An Alternative Reading of Matthew’s Portrayal of Pilate, the idea of Pilate being vehemently negative is very obvious. There are a few examples as to why Callon sees Pilate as strictly negative, but I do not agree with her points. The title of her article says…show more content…
Verses 24-25 show how Pilate had no other choice. “ So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” ” Pilate feels helpless in this very part of the chapter. He is stuck with knowing this man did nothing, and not wanting a riot to form. His effort to convince the crowd that they were unjust and unreasonable for wanting this man dead proved to be unsuccessful. In his saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” it signifies that the guilt of killing this man was on the crowd, and not on him. It is a common Jewish custom to wash their hands when they wish to show their innocence in a crime committed by others (Barnes). Pilate however does not escape the guilt of sending Jesus to his death. It was his job as a Judge to free innocent men, and he did not do so in the case of Jesus. Although this can be seen as Pilate being a negative figure, I still see it as him having no choice. He wants the crowd to know they are the only reason Jesus is being crucified. He wanted no part of Jesus’ death to be on him, but he truly did not have a choice if he wanted peace to remain. Pilate still remains neutral in this part of the chapter because he even said he was innocent of Jesus’ death. The crowd took the responsibility of His death by answering Pilate saying, “His blood be on us and our children!” I do not see Pilate being negative in this part of the chapter, because he acts in a way to keep the peace throughout the majority of the
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