LETTER OF LENTULUS
This document was found in a private library in England approximately in 1865.
Contents of a letter sent by Publius Lentulus, Governor of Judea, to the Roman Emperor Tiberius:
“To His Majesty and to the Honoured Senate of Rome: Greetings from the Senate Lentulus, Governor of Judea!
“I have learned what you desired to know and am now telling you by this letter. Living here is a man who enjoys a great reputation as a God-fearing person and whose name is Jesus Christ. People call Him Prophet of the Truth, but His Disciples hold that He is the Son of God.–that is to say, the Son of Him who created the heaven and earth and all that has ever existed, exists, and will still exist in all eternity. In Connection with Him, O Emperor, there have been rumors every day of miracles performed by the said Jesus Christ. By a single word He heals the sick and raises the dead.
“He is of medium height and of astonishing beauty. His glance is majestic and inspires a feeling of reverence, love, and fear in all those who look upon Him. His hair has the color of ripe pistachios–that is, reddish, falls tresses upon His shoulders, and parts in two in the middle of the head in the Nazarene manner. His forehead is high and expresses innocence and calm. In His rosy-colored face neither a spot nor a wrinkle appears. His nose and His mouth give rise to no criticism, and His dense beard is similar to His hair–long, and parted in two in the middle.
“His look is imposing and serene. He possesses sparkling eyes. The light shining forth from his face is like sunshine, so that it is impossible for anyone to behold Him too long. This radiance arouses fear, but as soon as He starts teaching and advising, He does it with so much sorrow that He evokes love and veneration among His listeners. It has been said that He never laughs, but that His eyes are always tearful. His hands are externally beautiful. When He speaks He is most pleasant. He very seldom contacts high society. As regards His teachings, by them He attracts all Jerusalem. He masters perfectly every science, without having studied even one of them. He walks bare-footed and bare-headed. Everywhere it is said, until now, such a man has never been seen in these places.
“Many Jews believe Him to be God, others denounce Him as acting against Your Majesty’s laws. I am very much upset and alarmed because of the grudging Hebrews. That man has never caused any harm to a single person. Should Your Majesty desire to talk with Him, as you recently wrote to me, than inform me to talk with Him, as you recently wrote me, then inform me of this and I shell send Him to you immediately, as I am ready to execute obediently and obsequiously whatever order Your Majesty will give me.
“Written in the Jerusalem District, the 9th day of the 10th month. Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant, “
(ss) PUBLIUS LENTULUS. “Governor of Judea.”
THE ROMAN GOVERNOR OF JUDEA, PILATE'S REPORT TO THE EMPEROR TIBERIUS
“Greetings My Noble Lord!
The events causing the riot in Jerusalem, which occurred in connection with the death of Jesus of Nazareth, and those events which occurred in my province some days before this, were of such charter that I feel compelled to give you a detailed report. For I should not be surprised if, in the course of time and in accordance with current rumors that in the last days the gods have ceased to be propitious to our petitions, the fate of our nation be entirely changed. I, for my part am ready to say: Cursed be the day on which I succeeded Valerius Gracius in the administration of Judea!
“On my arrival in Jerusalem I took over, within my competence, the courts of justice. Once I ordered a large dinner - party to be prepared, to which I invited the Tetrarch of Galilee, together with the High Priest and his subordinate officials.
At the appointed hour nobody appeared. This was an affront to the honor of my person. Some days later the High Priest came to me and excused himself. The manner in which he dressed and behaved were insolent. He said his religion forbade him and his subordinate to sit at ones and the same table with Roman and to feast with them to participate in drinking orgies. I thought it advisable to accept this excuse, but at the same time I become conscious of a submissiveness expressed towards victors, and it showed me clearly that of all conquered towns only Jerusalem was difficult to administrate. These people were so stirred up that I lived in an everlasting fear that a revolution might break out any moment.
“To subdue such an uproar I had no more than one Centurion and a handful of men. I wanted the support of the Governor of Syria, who told me that he himself had hardly enough troops for the protection of his own province. The indomitable desire to conquer, that is to say, to enlarge the empire more than our means for protection permits, inspires fear that it may become the cause of the destruction of our beneficent government. Along the many affairs which come before me, there was one case awoke my interest to the highest degree. It seems, in Galilee there had appeared a young man who preaches to people if high and low standing another law in God’s name, praising Him. At the beginning, I feared that He might be an unlawful agitator who would rouse the people against the Romans, but soon my apprehensions were dispersed. Jesus of Nazareth spoke as any Roman would have spoken, and not as a Jew.
One day I walked round a place called Siloah and there I noticed a rather large crowd and, amidst, against a tree, stood a young man who, with clearness and serenity, preached to the people. I was told He was Jesus. It was indeed He whom I was very impatient to see. There was a great difference between Him and His audience. His golden shining hair and beard gave Him a heavenly appearance. He was said to be in His thirtieth year. In all my life I have never seen such a sweet and clear look. What a contrast between him and His audience, with their black beards and obdurate faces!
I did not want to disturb Him by my presence, so I contained on my way. but I gave my secretary a hint to join the crowd and to listen to what He was saying. I have a secretary named Manlius. He proved to be a great-grandson of the chief of Intelligence Department who hid in Etruia in expectation of Catalina. Manlius is of a old Judaic family, and therefore speaks Hebrew language perfectly. He is extremely devoted to me and deserves every confidence.
“When I came back to the law court I found Manius there, and he reported to me the speech he had heard Jesus deliver at Siloah. During my life I have never read in books or in the Philosophers anything which could be compared to the preaching of Jesus. One of the rebellious Hebrews, of whom there are many in Jerusalem. asked Him: ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor?’
“Jesus answered him: ‘Render to Caesar that which is Caesars and unto God that which is Gods.’ Owing to this wisdom, I left the Nazarene free, for I could have arrested Him and sent Him to you, but this would have been against the law, the observance if which has distinguished the Roman.
“This man has been neither a rebel nor an agitator, and although He might not have been aware of it, I tried to give Him my protection. He was free to work, to speak, and to arrange gatherings, preach to the people and to select disciples, as long as He did not offend Praetorian regulations. The gods protect us, if that which so far is only an assumption. Should become true! I say, should it ever happen that the religion of our ancestors were substituted by the religion of Jesus, such a change night come into force by the noble tolerance shown on the part of Rome. In such circumstance I, an insignificant, unfortunate man, would have become an instrument of what the Christians call Providence and of that by which this fate and destiny might come down upon us. However, this unlimited freedom given to Jesus aroused a deadly rage in the Hebrews; not among their poor, but among the rich and powerful, and in this respect Jesus was extremely and opuses to the latter, so that was a good reason for me not to trouble the Nazarenes freedom.
“He said to the Pharisees and scribes: “You are malicious by birth; you are like unto white sepulchers. On another occasion He became angry with them because of their exasperating fasting and opulent gifts they received from the rich, and told them, before God, one mite from the poor widow was more appreciated than their expensive gifts.
“Every day complaints made by the Jews in their insolence, have been received in the law-court. I was warned that a disaster would befall this man.
“This would not be the first case that Jerusalem stoned to death those who stood up as their prophets, and should the Praetor refuse to sanction this matter, then they would send the complaint to Caesar.
“My steps have been confirmed by the Senate, and I was promised military support after the end of the Parthian war. Then I decided I should take some steps to establish order in the town and to avoid any consequences in the Praetor district. “
I wrote to Jesus and invited Him to an interview with me in the law-court, and He came. As you know, in my views there flows a mixture of Spanish and Roman blood which does not know fear nor is wont to be spiritually disconcerted. I was walking in the court when the Nazarene appeared and, when my eyes met His, I felt as if an iron hand had fixed my feet to the ground; and although the Nazarene was calm and serene like an innocent child, I trembled like a delinquent. When He came nearer to me, He said: Behold, here I am!
“For some time I remained rooted to the spot, and with veneration and fear I glanced at the figure of this supernatural man, whose form was unknown to the majority of our artists who have worked out the form and figure of so many gods. and heroes.
“Jesus, I said to Him at last, and for three successive years I gave you great freedom to speak, and I do not know whether you have read of Socrates or Plato, but I can tell you that in your preaching, so great a modesty comes to light that it will raise you above all these Philosophers. The Emperor heard of you and I, his obedient representative in this district, am extremely glad that he granted you this freedom, of which you have availed yourself, and which you so well deserve. However. I cannot hide from you that your preaching has provoked great and mighty enemies as far as you are concerned. This is not to be wondered at; Docrates had his adversaries, and fell a victim to their fury. Your opponents, without any doubt, are prejudiced against you because of your prophecies, and against me because I granted you freedom. I shall tell you, they accuse me of maintaining close ties with you in order to deprive the Hebrews even of those scanty powers they retain from the Romans. Thus, my request–I do not say my will–aims at the following; in the future you should deliberately avoid offending your proud adversaries, so that they may arouse the rabble against you, nor force me to apply the power of the law.”
“The Nazarene replied quietly: “O prince of this world, your words do not come from real wisdom. Say to the storm: “Stop amidst the mountains, for otherwise you will uproot the woods in the plain.” The storm will reply to you” “I shall continue to obey the laws of the Creator.” God alone knows where the storm goes.
“Verily, I say to you, He continued with emotion, as soon as the roses of Sharon come into flower, the blood of the Righteous will be shed.
I said to Him: “Because of your wisdom you are dearer to me than all these rebellious and bombastic Pharisees who abuse the liberty granted to them by the Roman they conspire against the Emperor and keep us in perfect fear–these dangerous rebels. They are not aware that the wolves in them. My law-court has been instructed for your safety.
“Shaking His head in sadness and with a divine grateful smile, Jesus replied: “When that day shall arrived, there will be no escape for the Son of Man, even under the earth. The dwelling of the Righteous is to be found there, He said, and pointed with the finger to the heaven. What been written in the books of the Prophets must be fulfilled.”
“Young man I answered Him feebly, you force me to change my request into an order. The welfare of the province, entrusted to me, requires it. You must show more restraint in your preaching. Do not harm others; this I order you. May heaven guide you! Go in peace.
“O prince of the world, but to bring peace, and love and goodwill to all people. I was born on the self-same day that the Emperor gave peace to the Roman world. Persecution does not come from me; I expect it from others. and I meet it with resignation under the will of my Father who showed me the path. Therefore, let your worldly wisdom stay within its limits. It is not your power to arrest the sacrifice at the step of the altar of redemption.
“After these words, like a bright cloud, He went away behind the Praetorian precincts. At last, Jesus enemies applied to Herod, who at this time ruled in Galilee. to deal with the Nazarene. If Herod had followed his own inclination in this connection, he would have immediately ordered Jesus to die. But although he was proud to have been entrusted with the government of his country, he nevertheless feared the Senate and would not decide on such an action, which might have destroyed his influence before the Senate.
Once Herod came to me in the Praetorian Office; and when, after some unimportant conversation, he rose to take leave, he asked me what I thought of Jesus of Nazareth. I replied that in my opinion Jesus was a great philosopher, such as great nations often produce. And as to His teachings, they have in no case been dangerous, and represent no heresy whatsoever; so Rome was inclined to concede Him every freedom and, by His deeds. He showed Himself worthy. Herod smiled ironically, greeted me with affected distinction, and went away.” “The great holiday of the Hebrews came nearer, and the religious leaders planned to use this opportunity and the peoples excitement which always occurs at the Passover holiday. The town was overcrowded with restive people who demanded the death of the Nazarene.
“My spies reported to me that the High Priest and the Pharisees spent the treasure of the temple for the bribery of the people. The danger grew every hour. One of the Roman centurions was insulted, so I requested the Prefect of Syria to send me directly one hundred infantry and as many cavalry, but he refused to send me these troops. Thus amidst this town about to revolt, I found myself in a position where I had only a handful of soldiers at my disposal, same of them of the old guard, and had no power to suppress the rebellion, but was forced to bring Him forth. The rebels laid hand on Jesus and in addition, feeling that they had of their leaders so that, on principle, I would agree with them in this matter, they all continually shouted: Crucify Him!
“Three parties were united against Jesus: Herod’s followers, the Sadducees and Pharisees. The Sadducees were prompted by two reasons: they hated Jesus and wanted to free themselves from the Roman pressure. They could not forget my entering the holy city with flags bearing the portrait of the Roman Emperor, although, in this case, I made a great mistake unknowingly, which, however, in their eyes, did not diminish this profanation. The second reason was the dissatisfaction they bore in their hearts because I decreed that a part of the treasure belonging to the temple should be used for the creation of public works. Owing to this regulation they were full of anger”.
“The Pharisees were openly Jesus adversaries, and paid but little attention to our government. They were forced during three and a half years to swallow those bitter pills which the Nazarene flung in their faces whenever He met them in public; and, being so extremely weak and cowardly they did not find courage enough to take measures as might have been desirable. They were only too glad to join the Herodians and Sadducees. Beside these three parties, I had also to struggle against the troubled population, which was always ready to make common cause in these rebellions, and to exploit such implications as arise similar misunderstanding.”
“Under these circumstances Jesus was brought before the High Priest and sentenced to death. The High Priest Caiaphas subserviently carried out that humiliating act. He sent the prisoner to me that I might pronounce the sentence on Him. But I replied that I, in my view of the facts that Jesus was born in Galilee, He fell under the jurisdiction of Herod, and I ordered Jesus to be brought before him. This cunning tetrarch, with pretended submissiveness, declared that, out of respect towards me, he placed the fate of this man in my hands, and this he let me know through the Caesarian soldiers. Instantaneously my palace took the appearance of a besieged town. Every moment the number of the rebels increased. Jerusalem was crowded with a population which had gathered from the Nazarene mountains. It was reported that all Judea had come together in Jerusalem. I had taken as wife a girl from Gali. She had the gift of second sight. With tears in her eyes she fell at my feet and said: “Take care and do not touch that man! He is a saint. Last night I saw Him in my dreams. He walked on the waters. He flew on wings of the wind. He spoke to the storm and to the fish in the sea; and all listened to Him. Further, I saw the creek of the Hedron Hill running by, filled with blood. The statues of the Emperor have been besmeared with stains from Golgotha. The curtains in the Temple have been torn in two; the sun became dark as if it were in mourning. O Pilate, great mishap is awaiting you, unless you listen to your wife. The Roman Senate is cursed. Fear the Forces of heaven.”
“At this time the marble steps nearly collapsed under the load of the crowd, and the Nazarene had again been brought to me. I was just about to go to the law-court accompanied by my guard. In a severe tone I asked the people what they were wanting.
“The death of the Nazarene!” was the answer.
“For what crime?”
“He has blasphemed God and predicted the destruction of the Temple. He calls Himself the Son of God, Messiah, and King of the Jews.”
“I replied: “The Roman law does not punish such offenses with death”.
“Crucify Him! Crucify Him! thundered again the voice of the furious crowd. The clamor of the mad people shook the palace to its very foundation. Amid this indescribable uproar there was only one man calm and undisturbed. It was Jesus of Nazareth.
“After some fruitless attempts to save Him from the fury of His fiendish exasperated foes. I restored to another measure, by which, as it seemed to me, I might have been able to save His life. I ordered Him to be flogged and, using a basin, I washed my hands before the crowd, thus showing my disagreement with this deed. But in vain. These wretched people could not be satisfied, otherwise, and I had to allow them to deprive Him of His life.”
“More than once during our civic riots I was witness of popular paroxysms; whatever I had seen, nothing was to be compared with what I saw here. Certainly, it can be said that in this case all evil-doers from the lowest ranks had gathered in Jerusalem. The crowd seemed to walk not on their feet, but as if carried by the wind, howling like the waves of the agitated sea! The whole indomitable sea of heads stretched from the gates of the Practoriun to Mount Zion; such shouting and whistling as had never been heard in Roman history. The day grew dusky, similar to that on which the Emperor Julius the Great died, an event which also took place in the middle of the month of march. I, the governor of the revolting province, stood leaning against a column of my palace and reflected upon the terrible step these evil men who dragged the innocent Nazarene to the place of execution were taking. Jerusalem was evacuated; its whole population went along the death-road leading to that dreadful Golgotha. A feeling of pity and profound sadness grieved my heart. A guard went away to accompany the horsemen, and the centurion, displaying the appearance of a tottering power, took care to maintain order. Lonely, I remained behind, thinking that that which had happened was controlled more by divine than human forces. Suddenly, a loud, heart-breaking outcry was to be heard coming from Golgotha, revealing such an agony as no human ear had ever heard. Dark clouds descended and covered the wing of the Temple and, stretching over the town, covered it like a shroud. So terrible were these phenomena in the heavens as well as on earth, that Dionysius Areopagita exclaimed; Either the creator of nature is suffering or the universe perishes.”
“In the first hour of the night I put on a coat and went, in the direction of Golgotha, on foot into the town, deeply excited and upset, feeling concerned and disappointed many were terror-stricken and tormented by what they had seen. I also noticed among the ranks of my soldiers, some passing by in sadness; and the ensign-bearer had hidden his head in the flag as a sign of morning. I heard another soldier grumbling to strangers and overheard my name, but I could not understand. Here and there groups of men and women who had climbed up to Golgotha stood motionless, as if they expected another wonder of nature to happen.”
“I returned to the Practorium, overwhelmed and tortured by my thoughts. Alone the steps, drops of blood the Nazarene had spilt were to be seen. A little later an old man, together with a group of weeping women, came to see me. The women remained at the gate, and the man threw himself at my feet and wept bitterly. Oh, what a distressing and lamentable spectacle it was to see the old man cry! He answered: I am Joseph of Arimatha; I have come to ask your permission for the burial of Jesus of Nazareth.” I replied: “Your petition shall be granted.” Whereupon I ordered Manlius to take soldiers with him and see that the burial was not interfered with. The next day passed without any event. His disciples announced in the whole province that, according to His prediction, Jesus was resurrected from the dead.”
“There remained for me only the duty of informing my Emperor of this loathful happening. In this same night which followed that unexpected catastrophe I started to write down this report, and in the morning the sound of bugles, paying the air of Diana, coming from the direction of Calvary reached my ear. Looking towards the Caesarian gate. I saw a column of troops approaching, and heard the sound of trumpets playing the march of the Emperor.”
“It was the promised reinforcement, consisting of two thousand able troops, who, in order to speed up their arrival had marched the whole night.
“Fate has been decided, I exclaimed wring my hands. So that this great injustice could be done, and yesterday’s uproar pass unsubdued, the detachment of soldiers came only today. Oh, terrible destiny, how do you deride the fate of mortals! How rightly shouted the Nazarene on the cross: “It is fulfilled!” These are the contents of my report! I remain, Your Majestys humble and obedient Governor, Pontius Pilate.
“Written in Jerusalem this twenty-eight day of march (the 4147th year, according to the Hebrew reckoning, 4037th year according to English reckoning, since the creation of the world.”
From the above quoted report of Pilate to the Emperor Tiberius, it appears that Pilate arrived in Jerusalem in his capacity of governor not long before Jesus commenced His mission of activity, and that Jesus and his prophecies exerted great influence upon him. The very fact Jesus paid a visit to Pilate proves that Christ did not share with the Jews the dwellings of pagans, etc. Furthermore, it becomes clear that Pilate and the authorities had a knowledge of Jesus teaching, but undertook no step to prohibit it so long as the Jews, the Herodian followers, and the Sadducees did not have Him arrested and did not force the governor to sentence Him. The Jews allegation that Jesus taught the people not to pay taxes to the Emperor has been proved unjustified by Pilates report. The fact that Pilate submitted to the pressure of the Jews to sentence Jesus to death without having found Him guilty shows how unsteady and hopeless human justice is.
As far as Christ’s trial, his dispatch to Herod, and the latter’s reconciliation with Pilate are concerned, Pilate’s letter confirms in detail, all the statements of the Gospels.
In one point only Pilate’s report to the Emperor is deficient, namely, the text of Jesus death sentence. This unique document we shall quote in the following pages. As far as can be surmised, the reason for this omission may be found in the fear that the Emperor Tiberius should find Pilate guilty of an injustice. Therefore, Pilate tried to save Tiberius to understand that he did nothing further than confirm the sentence pronounce don Jesus by the Sanhedrin. However, the Emperor understood from Pilate’s report that the action of the latter was not right, and for this reason, together with other complaints against him, Pilate was displaced and imprisoned. Due to the course of these events, Pilate later committed suicide. So Judas, Pilate, and with especially severity Jerusalem, have all received their punishment.
Herod, here referred to, appears as the son of Jerod the Great, who, after Jesus birth, had ordered the massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem. He was a good friends of the Pharisees and had, in Jerusalem, a large political party called Herodeans. He beheaded John the Baptist, slew James and his brother John, and also intended to murder Peter. However Gods fury reached Herod-Gods angel struck him and he died, eaten by worms, at the very moment when he intended to take over into his royal power other provinces. Note how God does not leave unpunished the oppressors who persecute His children. He has said: “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”
THE DEATH SENTENCE OF CHRIST
This is the complete context of Jesus Christ’s death sentence, which was found by chance in the town of Amafli, in Italy, in 1509. It was written on red stone in Hebrew, and was carefully preserved in an iron box which was placed in another box of marble.
It was published for the first time in Constantinople in 1851: then, when Jeremiah was Patriarch, he published it in his book of Greek idioms. This document was translated from Greek into other European languages, and now-herewith- into the English language:-
“In the seventeenth year of the government of the invincible monarch, the Caesar and Roman Emperor Tiberius, 201 years after the Olympiads; in the beginning of the five thousandth year after the creation, in the 4147th year according to the Hebrew calendar, and 4037th year, according to the English reckoning, and 784 years since the foundation of Rome, 580 years since the liberation from Egyptian slavery: At the time of the great men of the Roman nation : Lucius, Suetonius, and Marcellinus, and the administrator Hilaretes Palister, at the time of the Governor-General over Judea, Comus Flavius, and at the time of the Governor of Jerusalem, the mighty and great prince Pontius Pilatus, and at the time of the procurator over Galilee, Herodes Anitpater, and at the time of the great Archpriests Ananias and Caiaphas, Aliasus and Mailus, the elder of the Temple Raban, and Amabelus, at the times of great judges in the town town of Jesruslem: Simbinakasas, Pompilius, Rufus, and the municipal commander Joctenus:
“I, Pontius Pilatus, procurator of the Roman Emperor, in the hall of the great princes, do pronounce and confirm the sentence of death on the cross to be inflicted on the man called by the people Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, a rebel against Moses Laws and against His Majesty the Roman Emperor Tiberius. I decide and order his death by crucifixion, together with others, in the manner applied to those people who are sentenced to death on the cross to be influenced on the man called by the people Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, a rebel against Moses Laws and against His Majesty to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. I decide and order his death by crucifixion, together with others, in the manner applied to those people who are sentenced to death, be they of rich or poor standing, because he continuously caused uproar by his detrimental behavior in Judas ; further, he called himself the Son of God, and King of Jerusalem, and threatened the Holy Temple and Jerusalem with destruction ; he refused to pay taxes to the Emperor and ventured to enter Jerusalem with leaves of date-palms and a retinue of people, like a king who enters Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
“I order my first centurion, Conutus Cornelius, to keep him bound in public in the Jerusalem district and to seize what is his : to coat him with a purple cloak and put a crown of thorns upon his head, and to force him to carry the cross of his own shoulders, so that he be an example to others and especially conspirators.
Accordingly I order that Jesus Christ, together with two other brigands from the region of Imborel, now called Andronymos, shall be taken to be crucified before the people on the place chosen for criminals, and called Calvary. He who will be crucified and brought to death, shall remain on the cross as a warning and example for the people and all criminals and robbers. And to head there shall be fixed a table on which his to be written in three languages:
ISUS ALUN OMLIS IODAM – In Hebrew.
IESOUS O NAZARENOS BASILEUS IOUDAION – in Greek
JESUS NAZARENUS REX JUDAEORUM – in Latin.
“I order that none of my officials, of whatever rank and standing, shall delay the performance of his duty to the last, and interfere with the execution of Him who has deliberately deserted the Jewish faith, but that every one shall accurately carry out my orders, infallibly given in accordance with the laws and regulations of Rome.
“Witnesses of this sentence were : On the part of the Israelites : Ruan, Daniel, Rambinal, Ioakin, Banikan, Rotin, Itovel, and Perikolan. On the part of the Roman Rulers in the country : Lucius, Sicelius, and Maxiklius. From the High Priests : Ruan, Jodus, and Bukasalis. Chief of the prosecutor’s office for the Hebrews: Butan.
“Jerusalem, 27th March, 4l47th year, according to Hebrew reckoning, 4037th year, according to English reckoning, after the creation.”
From the Holy Scriptures report we find the statement, uttered with utmost discretion, that “Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.” But from the reports made by Pilate it is possible to perceive his hypocritical cruelty and intolerance. He tried to reconcile lawlessness with righteousness, and evil with truth. He, perhaps, had not wanted to expose himself before Christ’s disciples, and, perhaps, before his wife, who highly sympathized with Christ, and whose dream was not only an actual prophetic prediction of what would happen to those who took part in the trial, but also to those in our days, who act as the Hebrews who feigned to defend and to protect the Roman rulers, but in reality were only great traitors.
The report of the Bible also tells us of the inscription, and of the inquest made by Ananias and Caiaphas at Herod’s place, and by Pilate in the courts. But we see from the existing document that this justice did not decide the case on its merits. Pilate declared “I find no fault in this man”; with what justification then did he order Jesus to be beaten? What Roman laws had provided that an innocent man should be scourged?
Now, of all accusations brought against Jesus, not a single one could have been proved and documented, for Pilate himself, by using the words: “He is innocent,” and confirming this statement by the washing of his hands, substantiated Jesus innocence. So, by virtue of which Roman law did he order the innocent prisoner to be scourged and crucified? However, truth will break through always and triumph.
We may profit greatly by a study of the proceedings, trial and death-sentence of Jesus Christ, in which the Roman courts themselves committed the greatest wrong. Herein the judges of our days might find a warning not to do the same injustice, nor to be partial, but to judge according to divine right. It is only natural and absolutely advisable that the judges of to-day should read the Holy Books, i.e., the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The secular tribunals should not be competent to resolve purely religious matters, nor to sentence whosoever does not believe what the majority believes, or what the official religion prescribes. According to what history shows us, the ruling religion has not always had pure truth as a foundation, and in all times it was subject to errors. The Hebrews, for instance, maintained that they had every right of religious liberty. This spiritual blindness led them to their terrible crime, exacting the sentence and murder of Christ, who was the incarnation of right and truth. So great was their blindness that it has obscured their minds to the present day. These catastrophes serve as a terrible warning for all people, but especially for religious leaders and judges.