When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, Have you nothing to do with that just man…
The wickedness of Pilate forced him to assume all the appearance of weakness. How striking the testimony given by enemies to our Lord; He is to die as a malefactor with the judge's verdict in His favour.
I. THE GREAT PRINCIPLE OF CONSCIENCE WAS NOT DORMANT IN PILATE, BUT ON THE CONTRARY ACTED WITH FAITHFULNESS AND VIGOUR. Whatever the sensuality and tyranny of this Roman he had not succeeded in silencing conscience. The enormity of his sin is also enhanced by the warning he received through his wife.
II. WE CONSIDER GOD AS ACTING UPON PILATE TO DETER HIM FROM COMMITTING A GREAT CRIME, AND THEREFORE TO LEAVE HIM WITHOUT EXCUSE IN THE COMMISSION. God has nothing to do with causing the wicked actions he overrules. No man can take refuge in God's foreknowledge of his sins, as having made them unavoidable. It left Pilate as free as if there had been no foreknowledge.
III. How the method used by God was EMINENTLY FITTED TO PREVAIL WITH PILATE, and how it cut off all excuse when he gave up Jesus to the multitude. It may seem singular that the vision was to Pilate's wife, and net to Pilate himself. Would not the admonition have been more likely to prevail if directly conveyed to him? But to please his wife may have been a motive in addition to obedience to the vision. God took this course because the Roman governor was probably most accessible through his affections. It is far from an unfrequent thing that God causes His warnings to be conveyed through the channel of the affections. One member of the family is saved in order to impress another. If this does not succeed, there remains no more likely method. Let not men think it would be better if they were acted upon directly by the gospel.
IV. How greatly it increased the criminality of Pilate THAT THE MESSAGE OF HIS WIFE REACHED HIM AT THE VERY MOMENT OF HIS TAKING HIS PLACE ON THE JUDGMENT SEAT. It was precisely when his convictions were urging him to release Christ, that there came to him a testimony to His innocence. When men are tempted God sends seasonable aids and disposes events for their strength and victory. The whole judicature of conscience is constructed on the principle of counsel being given at the precise moment when temptation is urgent. It remonstrates at the moment the bait allures. What a scene will it be when this Roman stands forth to answer for himself at the tribunal of Christ. How changed their condition. Christ will then be in glory and power.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.