What’s it like to be a governor’s wife? Pilate’s wife might say it depends on the assignment and the governor.

Judea certainly wasn’t the plum assignment for a civil servant of Rome. The rocky hills and dusty roads were remote from the flurry of parties with senate wives. Pilate’s lack of sympathy for the Jews and his often arrogant handling of the Jewish people probably left his wife a virtual prisoner in the palace.

Passover week was always hectic with the city full of pilgrims from out of town, Pilate attending extra judgments, troops on alert and so forth. When the week had ended, it seemed to her to be a nightmare. On this particular Passover, she had a dream that brought her face to face with Jesus Christ. Her dream about Jesus produced an appraisal of His life and revealed an approach toward the Man of Galilee.

Jesus Is a Disturbing Man (Matt. 27:15)
“I have suffered much over Him today in a dream.” Pilate’s wife found Jesus to be a disturbing influence. Had guilt or fear fed this dream? Could it have been the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus is a disturbing Man; a face-to-face encounter with Him is an unsettling experience. He said so, “I came not to send peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). His ultimate goal is to bring us into peace with God, but conflict comes on the way. Righteousness, love and purity always conflict with sin, hate and filth. We like to hear about His love, but resist His law. We delight in His joy, but balk at His judgments. We relish the privileges, but resist the responsibilities. If you think about these things, Jesus will disturb you.

At least, Pilate’s wife was disturbed. Too often Jesus and His Word do not disturb us. We grow accustomed to the face of the world and accommodate our faith with conflicting values. Have you lost any sleep lately because of Jesus? I haven’t, and that disturbs me.

Jesus Is a Righteous Man (Matt. 27:19)
Pilate’s wife ventured a second appraisal of Jesus; she regarded Him as a just man. “Have nothing to do with this righteous man.” The word is not the same as Pilate used when he said, “I find no crime in Him.” Judas came close to it in his suicide note, “I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“This righteous man,” may be a clue to the disturbing dream of the governor’s wife. Was her conscience still sensitive to what was right? Did it seem to her a travesty of Roman justice to crucify a righteous man?

The word righteous is used throughout Scripture to describe a person who is in right standing with God. I doubt Pilate’s wife realized the truth she uttered. Before her stood the only righteous Man, the sinless Son of God, the spotless Lamb who takes away the sins of the world (Gal. 3:13; John 1:29; Heb. 9:26). This is the disturbing element of the cross: God did it all. The Just died for the unjust, the Sinless for the sinner. This offends our egotism. I heard it in the living room of a man we went to visit. “I think anything worthwhile has to be worked for, even heaven.” It was not surprising that our visit disturbed him.

Jesus Is the Man for All
What will you do with Jesus? Pilate’s wife advised that Jesus be ignored. Don’t take sides, Pilate; pass the buck, wash your hands of it; keep walking. On another home visit I heard a young woman reject the claims of Christ: “I don’t want anything to do with religion. I can’t handle anything else right now. I’m just trying to get my life and career in order.” She rejected the One who could accomplish her dreams.

What is your decision about Jesus? The Passion narrative reveals a plethora of possibilities. Pilate washed his hands (v. 24); the soldiers amused themselves with the Suffering Savior (vv. 27-31); Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry His cross (v. 32). I wonder what He finally did with Jesus? Beside Jesus, one thief repented, while the other selfishly pled for release (vv. 38, 44). The crowd saw only the political and religious circumstances of a helpless convicted man (v. 39). The religious leaders, protecting their positions and practices, joined the mockery (vv. 41-43).

While others were silent, God’s creation moaned in grief and was shrouded in darkness with the death of this righteous Man (v. 45). The veil of the temple was torn in half (v. 51), as this just Man opened the way into the holiness of God.

Wonder where Pilate’s wife was during all this time? Wonder if she ever got a good night’s sleep? What’s your appraisal of and response to Jesus?

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