A Disturbing Dream
It is only in Matthew’s gospel that we encounter her. But through the centuries, many have found her story quite intriguing.
We’re talking about the wife of Pontius Pilate. Only one short verse is devoted to her story. Jesus has been arrested, and then handed over to the civil authorities. Pilate, the Roman governor, finds himself in a no-win situation. It appears he would just as soon set Jesus free, but he perceives that the crowd is out for blood.
And then his wife brings a message to him. She boldly pronounces Jesus “not guilty,” and advises her husband not to have anything to do with him. “I have suffered a great deal in a dream today because of him,” she says. Pilate disregards her advice, and he yields to the crowds who yell “Crucify.”
But what became of his wife? Some early Christian traditions suggest that this dream was not an isolated incident, and that she eventually converted and became a believer. Some Orthodox traditions even recognize her as a saint – with the name of Procla or Claudia.
Whether legendary or factual, the story of St. Procla can teach us much. Though this dream caused her great suffering, and could not avert the suffering of our Savior, it may well have led to her greatest joy. Something within her was ready to receive the message that others could not have begun to perceive.
Her story causes me to want to pay more attention to the messages I might otherwise ignore.
Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see. Open my heart, Lord, that I may receive the direction you would have for me, even if it might first seem unpleasant. Amen.
Robert Stutes is pastor of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Virginia.
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