“What charges are you bringing against this man?”
My eyes, like a double-edged sword, peel away-unsubstantiated accusations of pious Jews. I have key people, who at a price, serve as reliable informants. I was privy to the arrest and kangaroo court proceedings of this man they call Jesus.
I grow weary of Judah’s meddlesome cliques. Partners in conspiracy, they mastermind entrapment, stalk in darkness, and pounce upon prey. Hoping to avert trouble, between them and Rome, I wave complainants aside.
“Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
The sniveling, sanctimonious Jews do not relent. Summoning Jesus, I quickly surmise he is a man of character, arrested primarily due to trumped up charges.
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Calm, and collected, Jesus answers, “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?”
His eyes, filled with excruciating pain, yet peace, are riveting.
“What is it that you have done?”
He speaks of a kingdom in another place…
This man is either a lunatic, or idollic leader, who poses a threat to the Sanhedrin….
“You are a king, then!”
“You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
Who is this man?
The word truth resonates from palace ceilings, nooks, crannies, and chambers of my hardened heart. I, along with ancestors, sages of the Roman Senate, ponder unequivocal truth….
“What is truth?”
I turn away, calculating, in a sense of justice, once again, to placate his opposition.
“I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release the king of the Jews?”
“No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”
I am aghast at their resounding rejection to my offer.
In compromise, I demand flogging of Jesus. Soldiers seize the opportunity to abuse and ridicule a revolutionary. With contempt, they crown him with thorns, and drape his body in purple, befitting royalty.
Taunting him, they cry out, “Hail, king of the Jews!” As the final blow of degradation, they strike him in the face.
Arbitration comes with my job. I try again, in quail of the outcome, to end the conflict. I explain that I find no basis for a charge against this man. Jesus enters, gaunt in the garb of a king, and I gasp.
“Here is the man!”
With gnashing teeth they respond, “Crucify! Crucify!”
I refuse to do it, telling them to carry out the execution themselves. I, as ruling authority, stand on my decision. He is not guilty.
To my surprise, they claim a deeper grievance. He must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.
My knees go limp. In trepidation, I am compelled, to question Jesus once again.
“Where do you come from?”
This Jesus just stares back at me, silent, and unbending.
My voice quivers, and reaches an unnatural high pitch, as I proceed.
“Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
With authority, unflinching, Jesus answers my pointed questions.
“You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
Is there no way out?
Like a lifeless marionette, with spiteful puppeteers pulling my strings, I fight a lost cause. In my heart, I know he is innocent. Yet, as subordinate to Caesar, I fear rebellion and mass revolt. Hoping against hope, I present Jesus.
“Here is your king.”
Seething in hatred, they shout, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests close the case, with a hypocrisy pledge… “We have no king but Caesar.”
I pass final sentence, death by crucifixion. Roman soldiers, in minute detail, prepare him for execution. He will die by cruel and inhumane punishment.
I, as appointed governor, through repeated questioning of Jesus, have presided. It is ironic; I have the last word. I issue a final decree. Enemies of Jesus, followers, and passers-by, looking upon the cross, view a formal declaration of Jesus identity and role.
“JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
[Authors Note: Creative non-fiction. Based on John 18:28-19:19 NIV]
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