4 Signs We Are Living Like Pontius Pilate

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Feb 06, 2023
4 Signs We Are Living Like Pontius Pilate

Simply because we ignore the truth doesn’t cause the truth to become any less true.

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor during Jesus’ earthly life. Through this authority, he had much power over the people in his jurisdiction. With this power, he could have done good and helped the people, yet in his short debut in the Gospels, he made many wrong decisions. While we all make mistakes in our lives, it is important that we repent of those mistakes and make the right life changes. 

Let's look at four signs you are living like Pontius Pilate:

1. Relativism 

One sign that we are living like Pontius Pilate is if we practice relativism. Relativism teaches that everything is relative. With this type of belief, there is no objective truth. What may be true for you may not be true for me. This is a common belief within modern-day society, including the coexistence movement that tries to teach all faiths are equally correct. We see relativism in Pontius Pilate’s life from his statement, “What is truth?” (John 18:38a). Pilate makes this statement after the Lord says that “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37b). 

As we can tell from Pilate’s response, he doesn’t see any objective truth. Rather than listening to Jesus’ words, he is practicing relativism by asking, “What is truth?” We need to make sure that we are not practicing relativism like Pilate. Instead, we need to understand the truth because there is objective truth in the world. Everything is not relative despite its popularity in the modern day. There is truth, and there is falsehood. We must recognize which one is which rather than taking the passive role of relativism. 

2. Giving into the Pressure of Others

A second sign we are living like Pontius Pilate is if we are giving in to the pressure of others. Pilate was going to set Jesus free because he found no basis for the charges being brought up against Jesus. Even though Pilate was going to release Jesus, he gave in to the pressure of the crowd. Pilate was going to release one of two people from their sentence—either Jesus or the notorious criminal Barabbas (Matthew 27:20-21). Having every intention of setting Jesus free due to His undeniable innocence, Pilate expected the people to choose Jesus to be released rather than Barabbas.

Even though this was Pilate’s plan, the people chose to have the terrible criminal Barabbas released. Pilate listened to the people and gave in to the pressure of the crowd even though he knew it was wrong (Mark 15:15). Therefore, he chose to appease the people and hand Jesus over to be flogged, tortured, and crucified. In other words, Pilate was playing politics, allowing the opinion of the masses to dictate his decisions. Are you giving in to the pressure of others? Beware, this is a sign we are living like Pilate. Instead of giving in to the pressure of others, we need to stand by what we know to be right.

People can be extremely persuasive, especially if it is somebody close to us, but we don’t need to let them distort our perspectives. Giving into the pressure of others can be dangerous, particularly if it’s concerning being pressured into drugs, drunkenness, or sin. It is better to stand our ground and establish boundaries. Although it might upset someone if you don’t give in to what they want, it is okay, and you can move forward. A person doesn’t truly care about you if they are pressuring you to do the wrong thing or to go against your Christian beliefs. 

3. We Ignore Our Conscience

A fourth sign we are living like Pontius Pilate is if we ignore our conscience. Pilate knew it was wrong for the people to falsely accuse Jesus. He didn’t see a basis for the charges being brought against Jesus, and he saw no reason that Jesus should be put to death (Luke 23:22). Pilate’s conscience was telling him the right thing, yet he ignored his conscience. Instead, he went along with the crowd as mentioned in the previous sign. Pilate shouldn’t have ignored his conscience, but rather, he should’ve gone with his gut feeling. Even though Pilate had great authority and could overide the common masses' wants, he still chose to go with what the people said rather than his conscience.

We, too, have fallen victim to ignoring our conscience. Instead, we must pay attention and consider what it says. God has given us each a conscience, and it’s important that we don’t ignore it. Sometimes it will be hard to listen to our conscience, but it’s always best to do what we know is right. It is good to strive to live like Jesus and not to live like Pilate. We need to stand up for what is right and follow the truth. Ignoring our conscience will only lead to problems, bad decisions, and pain. 

4. We Ignore the Truth  

A fourth sign we are living like Pontius Pilate is if we ignore the truth. The Truth was standing right in front of Pilate. The Truth was Jesus Christ. Yet, Pilate ignored it. This is dangerous because if we ignore the truth, we are only left with falsehood. It is crucially important that we acknowledge the Truth and that we follow Him. The Truth is Jesus, as He says He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). 

We don’t need to ignore the Lord because such a poor decision will lead us astray. In addition to ignoring the Lord, if we ignore the truths of the Bible, we will also be led astray. It is not good to be ignorant of important matters, such as faith. We need to pay attention to what is right and follow Truth's footsteps. Simply because we ignore the truth doesn’t cause the truth to become any less true. Pilate ignored the Truth, and it most likely caused him a great deal of regret later on in life. 

Pontius Pilate was an important person in the Bible, but we don’t need to mimic his actions or his life. We need to strive to live like Jesus and follow His example. We need to accept absolute truth rather than treating everything as relative. It is also important that we don’t give into the pressure of others, that we don’t ignore our conscience, and that we don’t brush off the truth. 

Each of these signs shows us that we are living like Pontius Pilate. If you have found any of these signs to be true in your own life, this is the perfect time to change. Use this as a positive catalyst to change and be intentional about shifting to living like Jesus rather than living like Pilate. Instead of being relativistic, acknowledge that there is absolute truth, and this truth is found in Christ. If you are prone to giving into others, be intentional about standing your ground and sticking to your own beliefs.

In the same way, if you tend to ignore your conscience, do your best to start listening to it today. Lastly, if you have found that you are commonly ignoring the truth, it is important to start noticing the truth today. This truth is only found in Christ. By recognizing the signs that you are living like Pontius Pilate, the more prone you are to stop living like him. Instead of living like Pilate, you will start living more like Christ. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/PaoloGaetano

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.