1. Pilate tries first one plan, then another, to avoid passing a sentence which he knew to be unjust. One plan after another fails, and now he is brought face to face with a choice on which the salvation of his soul may well depend. It was the turning-point in his life: the grace of God urging him on one side, and on the other the fear of man. So in the life of each there is some turning-point, some occasion when the choice made will decide his future both in life and in eternity. Unhappy those who in such a moment choose as Pilate chose!
2. The motive that led Pilate to condemn Jesus was the fear of man. He did not dare to face the consequences of doing his duty. He trembled before the opinion of others and the dread of losing his worldly position and honor. To how many has the same motive been a cause of eternal loss! Is it not one before which I have sometimes quailed, loving honor from men, and failing in what I knew was the will of God from a desire to please others?
3. Pilate ordered the sentence to be written out condemning Jesus to death, and then deliberately signed it. But first he washed his hands before the people, declaring himself guiltless of the blood of the just man that he condemned. O fruitless ceremony! He could not wash from his soul the black stain of cowardice and of treachery to his conscience. It is no use doing ill and saying we did not mean it. Such an evasion, like Pilate’s protest, rather adds to than diminishes the sin.
Source: Clarke, R. F. (1889). The Sacred Passion of Jesus Christ: Short Meditations for Every Day in Lent (p. 38). Benziger Brothers.