A True Believer
(Matthew 27:19)
by Susan E. Todd

Here is yet another woman who is only mentioned in one verse in the Bible. Yet what she said showed great wisdom and discernment.

Let's pick up her story in verse fifteen.

(Matthew 27:15-20) Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 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. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

When we first meet Mrs. Pilot, her husband is sitting on the judgment seat. The judgment seat was the place where the judge, in this case Pilot as the governor of Judea, handed down his decisions to condemn or release a person accused of a crime. This would be equivalent today to what is called in our modern courts the judge's bench. One day we as Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. It is there that we will be judged for our "works" after salvation according to 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.

Verse nineteen says, "his wife sent unto him." Pilate was extremely busy trying the case of his life. Before him stood God in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ. He had an angry mob outside crying for blood. He had the chief priests and elders inside "persuading" him to do his duty. The last thing he needed was any unnecessary interruptions. Yet his wife appears and she lets him know that she has something very important to tell him.

Why did Pilate stop what he was doing to listen to her? Why didn't he tell her that he was very busy and he would see her at home later? What was a woman doing interfering with the affairs of the government? That would be equivalent to me standing up in church when my husband was preaching and saying, "Excuse me, dear, but you don't have all the facts on that subject. Let me give you my opinion." It just wouldn't happen. My husband wouldn't allow it to happen. Why did Pilate do it then?

Why did Pilate allow his wife to interrupt his interrogation of Christ? Surely Pilate must have considered his wife or her advice important enough for her to offer her opinion. She couldn't have been present during the interrogation of Christ or she more than likely would have been mentioned as being there.

Acts chapter 24 relates how Drusilla was present with Felix and chapter 25 tells us that Bernice was present with Agrippa when Paul was being judged by these men. Both of these men were high government officials yet their wives were by their sides during the interrogation of a prisoner. Felix, during Paul's day, was the Roman procurator of Judea, the same position Pilate held during the time of Christ. Agrippa was king of Palestine. (Unger's Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger, Copyright 1957, The Moody Press, Chicago.)

Whether Pilate's wife sent him a note or she showed up in person in his court is not clear for all the Bible says is that she "sent unto him." Maybe she was standing off in the background and sent word to him that she needed to speak to him for a moment. Whichever way it was, she got his ear and delivered those 23 important words.

What was her message and why was it so important that she deliver it to her husband at that particular moment in time? Why couldn't she wait until Pilate got home that night and they discussed the events of the day? We need to take a close look at what she said to find the answer to these questions, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."

What was her message? It was a message of salvation. There are a few things that we do know about Pilate's wife and a few things that we have to assume.

The first thing we know is that Mrs. Pilate tried to save her husband. Her first request was to Pilate. As a matter of fact it was more of a command that a request. "Have nothing to do with that just man." What was she saying?

  • Don't get involved with Him, honey.
  • He's innocent.
  • Leave Him alone.
  • You are making a mistake.
  • I don't want to see you get hurt.
  • He is who He says He is.

Mrs. Pilot tried to warn her husband. She wouldn't have done that if she didn't love him. Pilate needed someone to persuade him to do right. He was on the fence about what to do with Christ. He really didn't know what to do. He didn't see a good reason to crucify Christ but he didn't want the people to riot and turn against him and ruin his political career. His wife was the only person who could save him from himself and help him make the right decision and that is what she was trying to do.

The second thing we know is that Mrs. Pilate tried to save Christ. "Have nothing to do with that just man."

She called Jesus a "just" man. The definition of just is: true, honest, upright, righteous; living in exact conformity to the divine will; innocent, blameless, without guilt. (Noah Webster's First Edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.) That description fits Christ.

The Bible says:

In Proverbs 4:18a, "But the path of the just is as the shining light,"
In Proverbs 10:6a, "Blessings are upon the head of the just:"
In Proverbs 10:7a, "The memory of the just is blessed:"
In Proverbs 10:20a, "The tongue of the just is as choice silver:"
In Proverbs 10:31a, "The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom:"
In Proverbs 20:7a, "The just man walketh in his integrity:"
In Isaiah 26:7a, "The way of the just is uprightness:"

Jesus was all of these things and for her to recognize these qualities in Him meant she had to have real discernment about spiritual matters. You don't see spiritual things through ordinary eyes. Spiritual things can only be seen through spiritual eyes. (1 Corinthians 2:9-15). And only God, through the Holy Spirit living in us, can give us that kind of vision.

Lastly we see that Mrs. Pilot tried to save herself. Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

To suffer means to feel or bear what is painful, disagreeable or distressing either to the body or the mind. (Noah Webster's First Edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.) She was distressed due to a dream she had about Christ. What was the dream?

The Bible doesn't tell us but it disturbed her enough for her to know that Christ should not be accused, tried, punished or crucified.

Who did the dream come from? I think it would be safe to assume that it came from God. A general rule of thumb regarding dreams is that if they are good they come from God and if they are bad, or what we would call a nightmare, they come from the devil. We will accept this as far as it goes with the understanding that there are exceptions. The devil can give you a good feeling in order to deceive you. However, God never lies. I believe the dream Mrs. Pilot had came from God.

What was the meaning of the dream? The Bible says the interpretation of dreams belongs to God. (Genesis 40:8) And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

I think God was using Pilate's wife to warn her husband and to give the Jewish people one last chance to repent and accept His Son as their Saviour.

Why did God give the dream to Pilate's wife and not to Pilate? After all, Pilate was the only one, on earth, who could declare Jesus innocent, free Him and save Him from the horrible death of crucifixion. Why not go directly to the one who had the power instead of using an intermediary? (Matthew 16:15-17) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Why did God reveal the truth to Peter? Because Peter was a believer.

Was Mrs. Pilot a believer? Was she a Christian? Was she saved? I would like to think so. Maybe she was one of the army of silent believers who met in secret for fear of their lives. Do you have any idea what would have happened to her if Pilate knew that she was a follower of Christ? Do you know what would have happened to Pilate? His political career would have been over for sure. He more than likely would have been killed. I think we have already seen her love for her husband in trying to save him. Maybe God allowed her to be a secret follower and was saving her for just this moment. Maybe this was her public confession as a Christian. "Have thou nothing to do with that just man." Her words echo down through the ages. Don't crucify Him. Don't reject Him. Accept Christ. He is the Saviour. He is my Saviour. Is he yours?