French painter Gustave Dore (1832-1883) depicts the Dream of Pilate's wife with beautiful, haunting images. Notice Jesus in the painting with the halo around his head. But then look at the many other people, perhaps some of them martyrs for their faith (said one art critic I read), but all … judging from the way Gustave Dore paints them … seem clearly to understand the gravity of the message given to Pilate's wife by the angel.
The angel is speaking directly into the ear of Pilate's wife. There is no escaping what it is the angel wants her to know about Jesus.
Whatever the interepretation intended by the artist and whatever the actual nightmare was, we know that Pilate literally was sitting on the judment seat hearing the case concerning Jesus when his wife sent him this message:
Earlier in Matthew 27, we read that Pilate, the Roman governor, had just directly asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
Jesus replied, "You have said it."
Indeed, for Pilate, for his wife, and for us now centuries and centuries later …
Who is this man?
Who is this God?
Following are some questions coming to mind early in this Holy Week as I ponder Jesus' inexorable march toward the cross…
* If he is not flesh, who spat on the ground and made clay? And if he is not God, who, using that clay, gave sight to the blind man?
* If he is not flesh, who wept at Lazarus' grave? And if he is not God, who commanded Lazarus to come forth from the grave four days after he was dead?
* If he is not flesh, whom did the Roman soldiers and Temple guards arrest in the garden? And if he is not God, who cast them to the ground with the words: I am he?
* If he is not flesh, who was judged before Pilate? And if he is not God, who frightened Pilate's wife in a dream?