He condemned Jesus to death. He stood by while his soldiers beat Jesus up. He had Him flogged and crucified. But did you ever wonder what happened to Pilate after this? The historian Josephus said he was recalled to Rome to explain his mishandling of a Samaritan riot in 36AD. But we hear nothing about him after this.
By the 2nd century AD, the so-called “Acts of Pilate” document began to circulate among Christians. This document, allegedly derived from Pilate’s own records, says that he and his wife became believers in Jesus. Tertullian, the late, great 2nd century Christian theologian & apologist, was convinced of this as was the 4th century Saint Augustine. While most Christians didn’t believe it, the Eastern Orthodox church did, making Pilate’s wife a saint. The Coptic & Ethiopian Christians went further and canonized Pilate. His feast day is the 25th of the summer month of Sanne, a day shared with his wife Procla and the saints Jude, Peter and Paul.
Most theologians today discount this document as fake. There is really no way to prove what it says. I am always suspect of documents like this, so please understand that I am not presenting the “Acts of Pilate” as fact. It is in a class of documents called New Testament apocraphal writings. The fact that some Christians believed it is interesting at best. But in the end, the fate of Pontius Pilate remains a mystery.
But if he did become a Christian, wouldn’t this be the ultimate act of forgiveness on God’s part? We have examples of this in the Bible. In Acts 6:7 many of the Jewish priests (some of whom probably called for Jesus’ crucifixion) became believers. The thief crucified next to Jesus mocked Him, then turned silent. That silence then turned to repentance and he was immediately welcomed into God’s kingdom (Mark 15:32 & Luke 23:323-43). And Rabbi Saul of Tarsus persecuted & killed Christians (Acts 7:58, 8:3 & 9:1,2), yet he became the apostle Paul. A modern day example was when the Amish quickly forgave the man who murdered 10 Amish school girls (lancasterpa.com/amish/amish-forgiveness/).
This kind of forgiveness can only come from God. Aren’t you glad God’s forgiveness goes this deep?
One thing we can say for certain…IF Pilate did ask God to forgive him, he most assuredly would have received it.
For His Kingdom,