“What is truth?”
Pilate asked Jesus that question. It’s a very appropriate one because of the confusion going on at that time. Within the last day and a half, Jesus had suffered for the sins of the world in Gethsemane which would have killed anyone else. He was betrayed, denied, and left alone by friends. He was moved from court to court being questioned by the Jewish and Roman officials for hours. Any other person would have cracked under such circumstances. But there he stood poised. What was going on? It’s no surprise Pilate “Marvelled greatly.”
Pilate’s wife probably shared those views and worries. She must have struggled with the question “What is truth?” That question—or something similar—likely hovered over her head. Somehow she knew some important truths and was brave enough to step forward. As her husband deliberated, she tried to intervene on Jesus’ behalf.
When he [Pilate] was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
As I have pondered that verse, one word sticks out.
But Pilate was persuaded by Jewish leaders to release a robber in place of Jesus , and put Jesus to death through crucifixion. Even after the declared death sentence, Pilate still tried to convince the people not to crucify him.
He tried to prolong it and did remember the words of his wife. He said to the crowds, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person”
Though Pilate’s wife was no Martha or Mary in describing the divinity of Christ, she knew he was an extraordinary man who was innocent of all the accusations. She was not one of the women who saw the resurrected Lord, but she also had to be brave to face the future.
A few years later, Pilate’s career plummeted, and she might have been alive when it’s thought he committed suicide. What happened to her? She had been married to a man that Jews and Romans didn’t respect. Did she feel shame? Did she survive?
Some believe her to be Claudia, a converted Christian, mentioned in 2 Timothy. Romans were weary of Christianity and perhaps early Christians viewed her with suspicions. It would have been a dangerous life.
She was brave in her attempt to intervene for Jesus. In that way, I feel like she could be counted among the women who made sacrifices to champion Him. I can’t help but think of a James E. Talmage quote:
“The greatest champion of women and womanhood is Jesus Christ.”
She knew little about Jesus Christ, but she was brave in sharing what she knew as truth.
(Click here to view a video that gives an overview of Gethsemane, Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, and Resurrection entitled “He is Risen: John the Beloved’s Witness of the Resurrection”)
The Illegal Trial of Christ by Steven W. Allen
2 Timothy 4
The Message of Pilate’s Wife. by James Tissot
The Dream of Pilate’s Wife by Alphonse Francois
Ecce Homo by Antonio Ciseri