Before Pilate

After a short time, Peter and another Disciple took heart, and secretly followed the guard to the house of Caiaphas the High Priest, whither Jesus was taken, and where the Scribes and others were assembled to question Him. Peter stood at the door, but the other disciple, who was known to the High Priest, went in, and presently returning, asked the woman, who kept the door, to admit Peter too. She, looking at him said, “Are you not one of the Disciples?” He said, “I am not.” So she let him in; and he stood before a fire that was there, warming himself, among the servants and officers who were crowded round it. For it was very cold.
Some of these men asked him the same question as the woman had done, and said, “Are you not one of the disciples?” He again denied it, and said, “I am not.” One of them, who was related to that man whose ear Peter had cut off with his sword, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it with an oath, and said, “I do not know the man.” Immediately the cock crew, and Jesus turning round, looked steadfastly at Peter. Then Peter remembered what He had said—that before the cock crew, he would deny Him thrice—and went out, and wept bitterly.
Among other questions that were put to Jesus, the High Priest asked Him what He had taught the people. To which He answered that He had taught them in the open day, and in the open streets, and that the priests should ask the people what they had learned of Him. One of the officers struck Jesus with his hand for this reply; and two false witnesses coming in, said they had heard Him say that He could destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days. Jesus answered little; but the Scribes and Priests agreed that He was guilty of blasphemy, and should be put to death; and they spat upon, and beat him.
When Judas Iscariot saw that His Master was indeed condemned, he was so full of horror for what he had done, that he took the Thirty Pieces of Silver back to the chief Priests, and said, “I have betrayed innocent blood! I cannot keep it!” with those words, he threw the money down upon the floor, and rushing away, wild with despair, hanged himself. The rope, being weak, broke with the weight of his body, and it fell down on the ground, after Death, all bruised and burst—a dreadful sight to see! The chief Priests, not knowing what else to do with the Thirty Pieces of Silver, bought a burying-place for strangers with it, the proper name of which was The Potters’ Field. But the people called it The Field of Blood ever afterwards.
Jesus was taken from the High Priests’ to the Judgment Hall where Pontius Pilate, the Governor, sat, to administer Justice. Pilate (who was not a Jew) said to Him, “Your own Nation, the Jews, and your own Priests have delivered you to me. What have you done?” Finding that He had done no harm, Pilate went out and told the Jews so; but they said, “He has been teaching the People what is not true and what is wrong; and he began to do so, long ago, in Galilee.” As Herod had the right to punish people who offended against the law in Galilee, Pilate said, “I find no wrong in him. Let him be taken before Herod!”
They carried Him accordingly before Herod, where he sat surrounded by his stern soldiers and men in armour. And these laughed at, Jesus, and dressed him, in mockery, in a fine robe, and sent him back to Pilate. And Pilate called the Priests and People together again, and said, “I find no wrong in this man; neither does Herod. He has done nothing to deserve death.” But they cried out, “He has, he has! Yes, yes! Let him be killed!”
Pilate was troubled in his mind to hear them so clamorous against Jesus Christ. His wife, too, had dreamed all night about it, and sent to him upon the Judgment Seat saying, “Have nothing to do with that just man!” As it was the custom of the feast of the Passover to give some prisoner his liberty, Pilate endeavoured to persuade the people to ask for the release of Jesus. But they said (being very ignorant and passionate, and being told to do so, by the Priests), “No, no, we will not have him released. Release Barabbas, and let this man be crucified!”
Barabbas was a wicked criminal, in jail for his crimes, and in danger of being put to death.
Pilate, finding the people so determined against Jesus, delivered him to the soldiers to be scourged—that is beaten. They plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and dressed Him in a purple robe, and spat upon him, and struck him with their hands, and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!”—remembering that the crowd had called him the Son of David when he entered into Jerusalem. And they ill-used him in many cruel ways; but Jesus bore it patiently, and only said, “Father! Forgive them! They know not what they do!”
Once more, Pilate brought Him out before the people, dressed in the purple robe and crown of thorns, and said, “Behold the man!” They cried out, savagely, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” So did the chief Priests and officers. “Take him and crucify him yourselves,” said Pilate. “I find no fault in him.” But they cried out, “He called himself the Son of the God; and that, by the Jewish Law is Death! And he called himself King of the Jews; and that is against the Roman Law, for we have no King but Caesar, who is the Roman Emperor. If you let him go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Crucify him! Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he could not prevail with them, however hard he tried, he called for water, and washing his hands before the crowd, said, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person.” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified; and they, shouting and gathering round Him, and treating him (who still prayed for them to God) with cruelty and insult, took Him away.

Mark Water

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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