Matthew 27 recounts the story of Jesus’ appearance before Roman governor Pontius Pilate. In the middle of this story is a segment – a seeming tangent – which tells about how Pilate’s wife warned him to have nothing to do with “that just man” [Jesus] because she had suffered many things that day in a dream because of Jesus. Yet, Pilate did not heed the warning and instead was compelled by the crowds to turn Jesus over to them for crucifixion.
Why does the Bible include this part about Pilate’s wife? Why did God choose to reveal the truth to her in a dream that day? Why did He show her what Pilate could not see (Pilate’s blindness is evident in his question to Jesus: “What is truth?”)? Why did God compel her with a conviction that her husband could not match?
Whatever the answers are to these questions, it’s surely not because Pilate’s wife stopped the crucifixion.
So why? What was the point?
Perhaps it was to show that God reveals Himself and His truth to women – and wives – even when He does not reveal the same to men – or husbands? This shows a bit of God’s heart for women, his relationship with them, and how He works within the context of submission (a submitted wife is not cut off from God, subservient to her husband).
Perhaps it was to show how rulers can be blinded, even when directly confronted with the truth and from a credible source?
Perhaps it was to show that the truth of the allegations against Jesus was known and clear – even to those who would otherwise have no way of knowing? These allegations were not something in which people could agree to disagree.
Perhaps it was to show more of Pilate’s character and inner turmoil? Our God is a personal God – He knows our hearts, He cares about our innermost thoughts. This story captures God’s interest by adding to Pilate’s character.
Perhaps it was to give an example of how wives are to relate to husbands? Wives are not to keep their perceptions, insights, or concerns to themselves, but are to raise them — offer them — to their husbands at the right time (imagine if she had waited until that evening to say anything). Perhaps she was afraid of what Pilate might do to her – he was known to be a brutal ruler? And she was challenging him while a riot was happening in front of them. But – like a daughter of Sarah – she did what was right without fear of what her husband might do.
Perhaps it was to show that God will use wives to spiritually perceive things in their husbands’ work that they don’t see? In my limited experience, I often have witnessed pastors’ wives sense, discern, and perceive things in ministry that their husbands did not see. This reminds me of Miriam – and how God set her up to be the prophet for Israel, discerning and perceiving things of Him and declaring them to the nation.
I don’t know the answer, but I am interested in reflecting on this more – do any of you readers have any thoughts?