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Volume 30 - Page 124 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
This, however, did not suit the Jews, for they desired His death. The charge,
therefore, was changed from that of blasphemy, with which Pilate had nothing to do, to
treason, which immediately placed him under an obligation, as the Emperor's
representative, to re-open the trial.
Majestas was an offence against the state--corresponding to "high treason" or
"Lese-majesty" in English law--and was punishable either by interdiction from fire or
water, or by death. Under Tiberius, the Emperor living at the time of the crucifixion, the
law had become a means of oppression.
"The most trifling act of disrespect to the Emperor or even to his statue, even the sale
of his statue, or melting it down, would bring a man whenever it was so desired, under
the penal clauses of these statutes."*
With this fact in mind, one can well understand that when the Jews cried:
"If thou let this Man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend; everyone that maketh himself a
king, speaketh against Cæsar" (John 19: 12).
Pilate would hesitate. At an early hour in the morning, the Chief Priests and the
Council clamoured for an audience with the Procurator (John 18: 28), and the Saviour
was again bound and delivered to Pilate.
We now come to the Arraignment. Pilate asks the formal question, "What accusation
bring ye against this man?" (John 18: 29). The Jews at first evade the question by
"If He were not an evil doer, we should not have delivered Him up to thee"
(John 18: 30).
This however, is too vague for a Roman judge to deal with, and like Gallio, Pilate
dismisses the case with the words, "Take ye Him and judge Him according to your law".
But this did not suit the Sanhedrin, and a formal charge that would compel Pilate's
serious attention is therefore made.
"They began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow:
(1) Perverting the nation:
(2) Forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar:
(3) Saying that He Himself is Christ, a King" (Luke 23: 2).
[NOTE: * - All quotations in this article and most technical points,
unless otherwise indicated, are from the works of Septimus Buss.]