Pilate was warned. Pilate's wife had a dream, and in the dream she had glimpses of reality, and when she awoke her soul was troubled. "Have thou nothing to do with that just man!"
And I, too, have mysterious warnings when I am treading perilous ways. Sometimes the warning comes from a friend. Sometimes "the angel of the Lord stands in the way for an adversary." My conscience rings loudly like an alarm-bell in the dead of night. Yes, the warnings are clear and pertinent, but...!
Pilate ignored the warning, and handed the Lord to the revengeful will of the priests. Pilate defiled his heart, and then he washed his hands! What a petty attempt to escape the certain issues! And yet we have shared in the small evasion. We have crucified the Lord, and then we wear a crucifix. We violate the spirit, and then we do reverence to the letter. We hand the Lord over to be crucified, and then we practise the postures and gait of the saints. Yes, we have all sought an escape in outer ceremony from the nemesis of our shameful deeds.
My soul, attend thou to the mystic warnings, and "play the man"!