The Greatest Trial in History. Vol. 5, No. 16

Today, there’s a trial before a Roman Judge named Pontius Pilate. It could be recalled that Palestine was conquered by the Romans in the year 63BC. From that time on, every Power was reserved to the Romans. The young man called Lucius Pontius Pilate distinguished himself in the German army, and so, he was honored by Emperor Tiberias to report as governor in Jerusalem. Little did he know that great trial was awaiting. He was hated by the people for so many reasons. Among them are, people experienced difficulties because he was representing totalitarian powers, he stole some temple treasury fund to build palace and threatened to kill thousands of them when they protested.
This particular morning, before 4 and 6am, a prisoner was brought before him, our divine Lord, since he has the power to send him to death. Pilate stepped out of the balcony of his mansion, and as a lawyer, he called for the accusations, pointing to the prisoner, he said “what charge do you bring against this man?” They mentioned three charges, that he was perverting the nation, refusing to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is a king. But these are false charges. He was not perverting the nations, he was only opening their eyes to the light of God. He was not refusing to give tribute to Caesar, rather he said render onto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Pilate was afraid that as a king, he could be a rival, and he called him inside to ask him, “are you a king?” If he were a king, this was treason and Pilate has handled 52 cases of treason. So Pilate was concerned whether or not Caesar has a rival. Our Blessed Lord answered him, my kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my disciple would have fought for me. In other words, he was saying to Pilate, do not be afraid, I’m not an enemy of Caesar, I’m not a king that was elected by the subjects, rather I am a king who elects his own subjects. My kingdom is spiritual, that’s why I asked Peter to put back his sword last night. Pilate was satisfied that he was not a rival and therefore no charge against him. Since he is a spiritual king, Pilate asked again “has thou a kingdom?” Our Blessed Lord answered “I said I am, for this I was born, for this I came into the world, that I might give testimony of the truth”. Pilate who was best taught in a school of philosophy that was not certain of truth, shouted at him “Truth, what is truth?” and then turned his back on him.
Pilate however, walked out and said to the accusers, I found no cause to condemn this man. The charge of insurrection was renewed when they said, we have found this man insighting insurrection beginning from Galilee. When Pilate, a cheap politician, heard Galilee, he shifted the responsibility out of the jurisdiction of his court. He sent him back to the place of his origin, where Herod is the Roman representative. Herod was very glad to see him. He is the son of Herod the great, who tried to kill him when he was two years of age but succeeded in slaughtering all the young male boys of Bethlehem. Herod who stole his brother’s wife. Herod who yearned to the demands of a dancing girl and took the head of John the Baptist. But our Lord refused to speak to Herod because for our Lord, religion was a subject for discussion and not a subject for unwise decision as he would decide for John’s head. Therefore, Herod put him in a white robe and sent him back to Pilate. Pilate again spoke to the people. Since I have examined this man and the charges you have brought against him, I find him not guilty. Then, he remembers that today, he releases a prisoner before the feast of passover. He thinks of a prisoner whose name was Barabbas. He asked them to choose between Barabbas and Christ, vice and virtue. Pilate could hardly believe his ears as they called for the release of Barabbas. He said to the crowd, I will chastise Christ for I find no guilt against him. Our Blessed Lord was then brought out by the soldiers and was cruelly tormented, mocked, crowned with thorns and blindfolded. And then challenged to identify who strike him if he were a prophet. When he was brought back, Pilate now tried one last time to get him released. He shouted “Ecce Homo ” Behold the man. Not just the man, behold humanity. All suffering humanity was in him. God in man. But the crowd insisted on his condemnation. When Pilate gave him a totalitarian speech “do you know that I have the power to condemn you?” Our Lord replied, “you would not have the power if it were not given you from above. I give it to you execute it” immediately Pilate requested for water before the multitude, washed his hands and shouted, “behold I am innocent, innocent of the blood of this man!”. When he was sent to the Cross, the worst thing that evil could do was to kill good news. And having killed good news on a day like this, it was defeated three days later by the glorious resurrection. He gave to the earth, the only serious wound that he ever received, the scar of an open sepulchre as he rose in the form of a glorified human nature.
Supposed he was just a man, supposed there was no resurrection, what answer could we have to the question of how can God look down on all the suffering of this world and not do something for it. How can he be passive in the face of all these evils. How can he allow innocent and goodness to go down to earth as the end of all suffering? Where is the good news of God, where is his understanding? These might have been the unresolved puzzles of humanity if there had not been the resurrection. Giving the resurrection, no longer can we say that God does not know what it means to suffer, no one can become despondent on a bed of pain any longer for death has been conquered. For days of catastrophe and crisis as we have today, we need a religion that was born in defeat, a religion that has its origin from catastrophe, and that is ours. And so, we shall never be without hope, we shall never perish, for we have already won!

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