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Pilate—Lost and Found

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

The last few days Jesus’ life were the most tragic of any in human history. Ruthless men and women mocked Him, spit upon Him, and even hit Him. Amidst all the violence, there stood one man who had the power to stop all the torture. One man who could call off the Roman soldiers and save Christ from being crucified. His name—Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who governed the area of Judea at the time of Christ’s death. The story of the crucifixion can hardly be told without mentioning the name of this Roman official who sentenced Christ to death—even though Pilate knew He was innocent.

But although the Bible mentions Pilate on several occasions, his name could not be found among the archaeological evidence. For hundreds of years, no stone inscriptions or other physical evidence could be produced to support the idea that a man named Pilate had anything to do with either Christ or Judea. Because of this, many mocked the Bible and claimed that creative biblical writers concocted Pilate from their own fertile imaginations. After all, if Pilate were such a prominent leader, wouldn’t there be some kind of archaeological evidence to verify his existence?

Once again, however, the critics were silenced when, in 1961, an Italian archaeological team working at Caesarea found a stone tablet that measured 32 inches high, by 27 inches wide, by 8 inches thick. On this slab, now known as the “Pilate Inscription,” were the remains of this simple title: “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea”—almost the exact same title as the one given to him in Luke 3:1. This, then, became yet another find to remind us that the more we uncover the past, the more we uncover the truth—the Bible is indeed the Word of God (see Price, 1997, pp. 307-308).

REFERENCES

Price, Randall (1997), The Stones Cry Out (Eugene OR: Harvest House).




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