Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea
Day Five (Continues)
The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
Pilate was a native of Seville, one of the larger cities in Spain, wherein all of the inhabitants enjoyed the coveted privileges and rights of Roman citizens. History tells us that he was a vile traitor to the cause of the Spaniards; that when Spain fell to the greatly superior Roman warriors, his father served as a famous general on the side of the Romans. Shortly thereafter, he courted and married a woman by the name of Claudia, whose mother was the daughter of Augustus Caesar. That Pilate's mother-in-law, Julia, had theretofore intermarried with several men before taking on Tiberius Caesar; and therefore, Pilate was found to have married the step-granddaughter of the Roman Emperor. Later, because of this marriage, he was appointed procurator, or Governor, of Judea, by the then Emperor, Tiberius Caesar.
Pilate was a man of extreme violence, who frequently delighted in causing much ill-treatment and murder to many of the Jews within his jurisdiction. It is recorded that he alone was responsible for the cruel execution of hundreds of innocent Jews. Being the Governor of Judea, he had full jurisdiction over civil, criminal and military matters within his domain; and was answerable only to the Emperor for the welfare and general behavior of the Jews located within Judea.
While he had no interest in nor love for the Jews, he feared the ever-present possibility that some of them might, with justification, report him to his political benefactor, the Emperor, and be able to obtain his removal from that high office. Many of his predecessors had been removed, summarily, for slight causes. So he kept his ear to the ground in order to detect any rumblings or outbursts of dissention over the way he conducted the affairs of State.
Once, when he had been warned that a group of Jewish citizens had planned to confer with him, making some kind of complaint over harsh treatment accorded them by him, he deliberately had a band of his soldiers to conceal large knives under their garments; and when the helpless group came within reach, he gave the arranged signal, and they were brutally cut to death!
While Jesus was a Jew, Pilate had no reason to entertain malice toward Him. He just did not like any Jew. But, during the second "trial" of Christ, before Pilate, the Governor showed no evidence of enmity. On the contrary, he tried four separate times to release the Master by insisting that he had found Him guilty of no wrongdoing. The authors of the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, place a sense of mercy into the heart of Pilate, revealing his temporary unwillingness to have any part of the crucifixion. Still, we cannot overlook the important observation that Pilate, when courage and honor and bravery was at stake, showed the pallid flag of fear by vacillating and finally giving in to the demands of the mob that the Christ be surrendered to them for crucifixion.
Yes, when time came for Pilate to assume an important role in the most powerful drama in all the world, he revealed his craven cowardice. He had, indeed, the great fault of playing to the demands of the mob, and sacrificing his self respect and power of office, through fear of retaliation. He lost control of his merciful impulses when threats to report him to the Emperor were imminent. He didn't have the moral courage to stand his ground!
We learn that, according to popular legend, the Emperor became greatly alarmed over witnessing the complete darkness which enveloped the Roman world at the moment of the crucifixion of Christ; and that he then ordered Pilate to proceed to Rome and give explanation for his conduct toward Jesus, and, as a result of this investigation, he was condemned to die as a vile murderer of innocent blood. The sting of blame, and the penalty for playing the role of a coward, cost Pilate not only his high office, but also his life!