JERUSALEM, APRIL 7, 30 AD
Jesus, escorted by temple guards, appeared before Pontius Pilate shortly after six this morning. Over fifty accusers were present, including the Sanhedrist court (composed mostly of Sadducee members), Judas Iscariot, and Caiaphas. Annas was not in the party. John Zebedee, a close associate and apostle was also present. Pilate asked the accusers for a recitation of charges, but a spokesman replied: “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered him up to you.” The Jewish leaders conceded that they could not put a man to death under Roman law. Pilate then refused to sentence Jesus to death without a trial, and without a recitation of charges. At this point Pilate was handed the list of three specific charges against Jesus:
1. Perverting our nation and stirring up our people to rebellion.
2. Forbidding the people to pay tribute to Caesar.
3. Calling himself the king of the Jews and teaching the founding of a new kingdom.
Jesus remained silent. He would not answer the accusations—even when Pilate bade him to do so. Pilate regarded Jesus silently for a time. Jesus looked down at his accusers with an expression of genuine pity and sorrowful affection. Pilate then took Jesus inside the building for a private examination. He permitted John Zebedee, an apostle of Jesus, to accompany him.
Pilate questions Jesus
Reports indicate that Pilate asked Jesus many questions, but remained perplexed as to the disposition of the case. Pilate began his examination by assuring Jesus that he did not believe the sedition charge. He then asked about the second charge: “Did you ever teach that tribute should be refused Caesar?” Jesus indicated John, and said: “Ask him or any person who has heard my teaching.” Pilate then asked John about the charge, and John replied that Jesus and his apostles had paid taxes both to Caesar and the temple. Pilate nodded and told John not to reveal that he had discussed this with him.
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
Pilate then addressed the third charge: “Are you the king of the Jews, and do you have plans to set up a new kingdom?” Jesus replied:
“Do you not perceive that my kingdom is not of this world? ... I am such a king, and my kingdom is the family of the faith sons of my Father who is in heaven. For this purpose was I born into this world, even that I should show my Father to all men and bear witness to the truth of God. And even now do I declare to you that every one who loves the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said: “Truth? what is truth— who knows?” Pilate then went back to the chief priests and accusers of Jesus, and said: “I do not think he is guilty. He should be set free.” The Sanhedrin officials reacted violently. One declared: “This man stirs up the people, beginning in Galilee and continuing throughout all Judea. He is a mischief-maker and an evildoer. You will regret it if you let this wicked man go free.”
Jesus is sent to Herod for examination
Pilate then said to his guards: “This man is a Galilean. Herod is here for Passover; take him to Herod and let him examine Jesus. Report his findings to me.” Pilate was heard to say: “Jesus is a harmless visionary, an innocent fanatic.”
Jesus turned to John and said: “John, you can do no more for me. Go to my mother and bring her here to see me before I die.” John left with obvious reluctance.
(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)