December 7th – The Judge on Trial

Today can you stand a quip to begin with? Here goes …
At the Olympic games a T.V. reporter focused on an athlete and asked “Are you a Pole vaulter?”, and the man replied “Nein, I’m a German, and how did you know my name?”
Well, I think it’s funny: but it only goes to show, you have to be careful when you’re questioning people you don’t know.
Perhaps the Roman centurion could have been forgiven for thinking the man he’d just arrested as a trouble maker, in the centre of a mob in the Temple area, was a wild-eyed religious fanatic. It was, he was shocked to discover, an educated Roman citizen (whom he had no right to put in handcuffs), a man the world would know through all history afterwards, as “St. Paul”.
But perhaps the greatest of all misunderstood interviews took place between the Roman Procurator of the entire Roman Province. He was the illustrious Pontius Pilate, who interrogated a peasant prisoner dragged before him as a dangerous reactionary leader.
“They tell me you claim to be some sort of King of the Jews. Are you?”
“Is that your question, or is that from one of my accusers?” asked the prisoner.
“I’m not a Jew” snapped the Governor. “It’s your own people who accuse you. Now, what have you done?”
“I’m not a king, like this world understands the word. If I were, there would be a battle raging now about my arrest.”
Pilate said “So you are a king then, of some sort?”
“I was born to reign and to speak and live the truth” he said.
“What, the truth?” scoffed Pilate, “What is the truth?”
After all, that was and is the fundamental question of all learning, knowledge and all philosophy – the mystery of all mysteries – “What is real?” But the crowd had Pilate where they wanted him, so he ordered the prisoner to be flogged, which by Roman standards usually settled the matter by wiping out the prisoner, in flaying the flesh from his back. At any rate, Pilate was in the mob’s power, but he couldn’t help being amazed and impressed. “Behold, the man”, he said of Jesus, who was led out after being tortured. It was the only real man Pilate had ever seen, or for that matter would ever see. Was Pilate’s wife more aware than he? This is from Matthew 27 v. 19
While Pilate ws sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
If you are interested as to how Governor Pilate came to be in the power of the Jewish leaders, I’ll tell you tomorrow. It’s quite a story!

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