Lent Day 26: The Fourth Sunday in Lent— Jesus Before Pilate.

Jesus Before Pilate.

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Read St. John xviii.  28-40.

[28] Then they led Jesus from Caiphas to the governor’ s hall.  And it was morning; and they went not into the hall, that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch.  [29] Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man?  [30] They answered, and said to him: If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up to thee.

[31] Pilate therefore said to them: Take him you, and judge him according to your law.  The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death; [32] That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he said, signifying what death he should die.  [33] Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him: Art thou the king of the Jews?  [34] Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of me?  [35] Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thy own nation, and the chief priests, have delivered thee up to me: what hast thou done?

[36] Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence.  [37] Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.  [38] Pilate saith to him: What is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in him.  [39] But you have a custom that I should release one unto you at the pasch: will you, therefore, that I release unto you the king of the Jews?  [40] Then cried they all again, saying: Not this man, but Barabbas.  Now Barabbas was a robber.

Jesus before Pilate (Tissot)

1.  Pilate was at first inclined to look with contempt on the charge brought against Christ of setting Himself up as King of the Jews.  But he soon changed his tone.  He was astonished at Our Lord’s silence and reserve.  His calm dignity made a deep impression on him.  How few there are who imitate Christ in this!  Our babbling tongues pour forth so many foolish and ill-considered words.  Learn of Jesus the dignity of timely silence.

2.  Yet Jesus spoke when occasion required.  He said enough to Pilate to convince him not only of His innocence, but of His claim to be king.  Pilate was half-inclined to listen.  He could not help recognizing in some degree the divine beauty of the Son of God amid all His humiliations.  So the Catholic Church manifests herself to the world in a way that is sufficient to attract men of good will.  There are few who have not the chance of recognizing her claims Her beauty even in her humiliations and amid the sins of men shines forth as did the beauty of her Divine Spouse.

3.  Pilate’s long experience tells him plainly enough that the Jews are all wrong and Christ is right.  His practiced eye detects the malice of the Jews, their hatred of their Victim, their selfishness and unscrupulous cruelty.  He longs to release Christ; he knows lie ought to do so, but he fears the Jews, lest he be reported as favoring revolt.  Human respect overcomes his convictions, and he has not the courage to set Jesus free.  How fatal is cowardice in things divine!

Pilate’s wife warns him of her dream


This article, Lent Day 26: The Fourth Sunday in Lent— Jesus Before Pilate. is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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