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 Pilate in the Gospels
As portrayed in the Gospels, Pontius Pilate seems to have been ambivalent regarding the crimes of Jesus, who was presented to him by Judean officials who saw him as guilty under Torah law for claiming to be the Messiah. Pilate may well have regarded the affair as a Jewish rather than Roman matter, and, according to the Gospel of John, he told the Jews to "take him yourselves and judge him by your own law", to which the crowd objected that they had no legal authority to execute him. According to the Gospel of Luke, Pilate even sent Jesus to be tried by the Galilean ruler Herod instead, only for Jesus to be returned to him soon after.
All four Gospels suggest Pilate was frustrated by Jesus' silence or taciturn responses during questioning. However, both Luke and John show him stating repeatedly that he found Jesus guilty of no crime, and even pleading with the crowd to drop the charges against him, or release him instead of the criminal Barabbus. The Gospel of Matthew claims that Pilate's wife was troubled by a dream proclaiming Jesus' innocence, and asked her husband not to convict him. Ultimately, and perhaps reluctantly, Pilate consented to the Crucifixion of Jesus. Matthew contains the famous scene of Pilate symbolically washing his hands of responsibility and declaring "I am innocent of this man's blood". However, Pilate permitted his soldiers to beat and taunt the convicted Jesus, as depicted in each Gospel.
 A theory
When Christianity became widespread in the Roman Empire a few hundred years later, the Roman authorities decided it would be better for the Jews to take the blame for the death of Jesus rather than themselves. Thus it became an accepted legend that Pilate wanted to save Jesus, but was forced by the Jews to execute Him, representing, possibly, an early example of anti-Semitism.
This theory has counterarguments. While some Gospel texts, especially Matthew 27:25, lend themselves to anti-Semitic interpretations, and might possibly have been written or modified for this purpose, it seems odd that changes were made specifically to exonerate Pilate of responsibility, as the Nicene Creed, a part of church doctrine written after the Roman adoption of Christianity, was adapted in the late fourth century to specifically mention that Jesus "was executed under Pontius Pilate".
 Pilate in popular culture
Pontius Pilate has been depicted and referenced many times in literature and popular culture. In Monty Python's Life of Brian he was played by Michael Palin and accompanied by Graham Chapman as Biggus Dickus.
During the 2008 United States Presidential Campaign, Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen riled Republicans with a dig at Alaska Governor Sarah Palin when he gave a one-minute speech on the House floor on September 10, saying that "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus . . . Pontius Pilate was a governor".
 See also
- Trial of the Century at The Brick Testament
- ↑ John 18:31.
- ↑ Luke 23:6-12.
- ↑ Luke 23:4; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:38-19:16.
- ↑ Matthew 27:19.
- ↑ Matthew 27:24.
- ↑ Funk, Robert W., Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. HarperSanFrancisco. 1993.
- ↑ Gospel mysteries: Pontius Pilate
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Nicene Creed.
- ↑ YouTube - Steve Cohen Campaigns for Obama on House Floor