Pilate walked to his judgement seat located outside of the Praetorium. He didn’t hide his agitation at having to wake so early. His wife Claudia was still deep in sleep as he met with the religious leaders about a prisoner who had been arrested the night before. It was this sort of nonsense that required his presence in Jerusalem during the Passover celebration. He would much rather be at his peaceful seaside estate instead of the city packed with noise, dust and bleating animals, but when caravans of Jews arrived for the annual feast, they brought with them the potential of disputes and riots. It was his job as the Roman governor of Judea to ensure that order was maintained.
The prisoner was named Jesus and was accused of the heresy of calling himself King. He had dealt with others in the past bold enough to flirt with the crime of treason. It was always interesting to meet them. Usually they were arrogant and possessed a certain charisma that was interesting to observe. He had heard much about this man and was impressed by the abundant crowds he gathered as followers.
As the guards brought him in, Pilot studied Jesus with interest. He seemed meek and unambitious; not at all what he expected. Pilot began his questioning and was surprised at the prisoner’s stubborn responses. After several attempts to show this quiet man the grave danger his words would cause him, Pilot threw his hands up in exasperation. Pilot knew his type; he had dealt with madmen before.
Pilot tried several times to dismiss the case altogether, but the crowd continued to accuse Jesus. The prisoner seemed to genuinely believe the foolishness he proclaimed, but he was no political threat. As was the custom, he could offer the crowd the release of one prisoner. He would give them a choice between this troublesome Jew or the dangerous murderer Barabbas. The matter would be put to rest.
Just then a guard handed him a note from Claudia which read:
Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.
Pilate rubbed his temple and recalled the many dreams Claudia had. Her visions were always accurate. Impeccable timing, he thought to himself annoyed by her interruption.
His plan of having the crowd set Jesus free rather than Barabbas backfired. To Pilot’s surprise, the crowd was asking for the release of Barabbas. Pilot could see that the masses were growing unstable, but for the sake of Claudia, he made one final attempt to help Jesus. He surprised himself with this effort as he was usually a decisive ruler who didn’t hesitate to execute a troublemaker to keep the peace.
“What shall I do, then with Jesus who is called Christ.” he asked the crowd as if he were asking what to do with a surplus of wine that would seem a shame to waste. They furiously yelled “Crucify Him!”
The response surprised him. It was no longer safe to drag this matter on. His people had spoken and he needed to restore order. As a final dramatic gesture he took water and made a great show of washing his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood” he announced with a roll of his eyes. “It is is your responsibility.”
They answered, “It is on the blood of our children.”
Maniacs!, he thought. The crowd was blood thirsty for this man called Jesus and as far as he was concerned they could have him.
“Release Barabbas and take this man away to be flogged then crucified with the other prisoners.” he said to the nearest soldier as casually as if he were instructing him to saddle his horse. He ambled away hoping they would be wise enough to clear the crucifixion site by Sabbath the next day. The crowds came for a feast not a funeral.
With the day’s business over, Pilot headed back to his room where he still had to confront Claudia. He knew she would natter on about her dream, but he was also surefooted about the demands of being governor to a people with heightened resolve.
Besides, he thought, how long will anyone remember the name of that man called Jesus?
A fictional account based on the following Gospels: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 18
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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