The Dream of Pilate’s Wife

“And while he (Pilate) was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, ‘Have nothing to do with that righteous man (Christ); for the last night, I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him,’” Matthew 27:19.

I suppose I’ve never read this little account but with a bit of trembling. Here are souls in the balance. Here are Providence and Mercy teaming up to hold men back from destruction, to turn them off from the greatest crime of all times – the murder of a “righteous man,” yes, the Righteous One, the Son of God.

Dreams are such phantom-like realities. Some seem to be the product of pure chance – “the carnival of thought, a maze of mental states, a dance of disorder,” as old Spurgeon put it. Some surely are demonic, but some, like this, are from God. And while Pilate sat on the judgment seat, about to make decisions that would affect his eternal destiny and course of the whole world, Pilate’s wife slumbered on. But yet, in the back bedroom, God gave this woman a frightening dream. She awoke and rushed to her husband, and, not being able to get through the red tape, she sent him this message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man.”

What did she dream about? We don’t know exactly but yet from the pain she suffered; we can well imagine that she saw something of the realities of the world to come – when “this Man” who was so humiliated would, at last, be exalted and vindicated, when this face which was so spit upon and marred would then be the face before which heaven and earth would flee away (Rev. 20:11), when this Man who stood as a criminal before man’s judgment seat would, at last, be seated as the Judge of all the earth before whom all, especially her husband, would appear. I wonder if it was the shriek of her husband being flung into the bottomless pit that caused her to awake? Well, she was so affected that she ran to warn her loved one, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man”.

What can we learn?

First, from Pilate’s wife we who are Christians ought to be stirred to follow her example in awakening from our stupor and warning others, especially our loved ones, to flee from the wrath to come. This woman feared no embarrassment; she feared no rebuke. She had no ambiguity about her message – “have nothing to do with Him”, don’t oppose Him, get out of His way.

Second, from Pilate, we ought to learn the value of listening to reproof, especially that of the wife. How many husbands have pressed on to hell over the godly pleadings and holy example of their wives! But, also, he was afraid to stand for Christ; he was a coward to his own destruction.

Third, we learn something of God – He very mercifully sent a warning to this cowardly king, this classic humanist, just in the nick of time. Even though Pilate by his sin was unwittingly fulfilling God’s sovereign decree, yet God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that he might turn and be saved.

Fourth, we learn something of Jesus – He is indeed a righteous man, the Righteous One, righteous in His person, His paths, and precepts. He is called the King of Righteousness! He came to earth, having become a man, he “fulfilled all righteousness”; thus, all who believe in Jesus find His righteousness put to their own account, and that then is a title to heaven. So we ought to “have nothing to do” in opposing Him, but everything to do in loving Him.

(1949 - 2012)
Bob Jennings began a pastoral ministry in Kirksville, Missouri in 1978 in the church that now meets at Lake Road Chapel. In 1983 he moved to Sedalia, Missouri to pastor a small flock which God had raised up in that city (now meeting at Highway M Chapel). Bob spoke at many conferences both in the United States and Eastern Europe. He also did evangelism outreach on various university campuses over the years. The Lord blessed Bob and his wife Terri with five children. Bob is respected as a godly man by all who knew him, perhaps most by his family. You can find encouragement from his many messages online, and also from his online journal which he kept during his days with cancer. Bob fell asleep in the Lord November of 2012.