Trial of Jesus Christ before Pilate

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By: Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy
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The Trial of Jesus Christ before Pilate

The chief priests and Jewish elders having condemned Jesus Christ to death were not themselves able to carry out their sentence without confirmation from the ruler of the region, the Roman governor in Judea. At this time the Roman governor in Judea was Pontius Pilate.

On the occasion of the feast of Passover, Pilate was in Jerusalem and was living not far from the Temple in the Praetorium, the house of the main court, the praetor. In front of the praetor was built an open platform, which was called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew and Aramaic, Gabbatha.

Early in the morning, on Friday, the chief priests and elders of the Jews led the bound Jesus Christ to trial before Pilate, so that he could confirm the death sentence handed over to Jesus. But they themselves did not enter the Praetorium in order not to defile themselves before Passover by being in the house of a gentile.

Pilate came out to them on the Lithostrotos, “the Pavement,” and seeing the members of the Sanhedrin asked, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”

They answered, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed Him over to you.”

Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own laws.”

They said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death;” and they began to accuse the Saviour saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ the King.”

Pilate asked Jesus Christ, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus Christ answered, “You have said so” (which means, “Yes, I am King”).

When the chief priests and the elders accused the Saviour, He answered nothing. Pilate again asked Him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against You.”

But Jesus made no further answer, so Pilate wondered in amazement. Pilate entered the Praetorium again and called Jesus, asking Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

Jesus Christ answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” answered Pilate. “Your own nation and the chief priests have handed You over to me. What have You done?”

Jesus Christ answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight that I might not be handed over to the Jews, but My kingdom is not from here.”

“So You are a king?” asked Pilate.

Jesus Christ answered, “You say that I am a king. For this, I was born; and for this, I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.”

From these words Pilate recognized that before him stood a preacher of the truth, a teacher of the people, and not an agitator against the power of Rome.

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And not waiting for an answer, he went out again to the Jews on the Lithostrotos and told them, “I find no crime in this man.”

The chief priests and elders were agitated saying, “He stirs up the people teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to here.”

Pilate having heard mention of Galilee asked, “Is He in fact a Galilean?” When he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to the court of the Galilean King, Herod, who by chance was himself in Jerusalem at that time. Pilate was glad to rid himself out of this unpleasant case.

 Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 27:2,11-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-7; John 18:28-38.

(from: The Law of God
by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)