The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
"You are right in not entering the Pretorium. For it has been sanctified by the blood of the Innocents. There is but one Person who has the right to enter, for he alone is pure as the Innocents massacred there." (Cath. Emmerich, p, 184)
He had met Jesus at Lazarus' house, had heard him preach, and, as far as we know, he had become a convert, and he took this way of protesting against the treatment inflicted on Jesus, and of relieving his feelings regarding his murdered children.
The guards now drag Jesus up the stairs at the head of the street now called the Via Dolorosa, leading from the west towards the east, up into the Forum, and there the Lord God stands on the Lithostrotos, " the paved square."
Pilate, who had been conferring with the Jews, now turns to the Prisoner. The governor had seen the barbarous treatment they had inflicted on the Accused, us they were dragging him up the street now called the Via Dolorosa, "The Sorrowful Way," and the great Stairway, and he is astonished at his calm dignity. He tells them that he has no intention of condemning him to death without solid proofs of the charges.
We are interested in all the details of that famous trial. Every word and incident attracts our attention, and we supplement the Gospel account by the following record, which has come down from the earliest ages and has been quoted by many of the great Fathers of the Church and writers who lived soon after Christ. We give the account for what it is worth. (Gospel of Nicodemus, p. 1 ; Acts of Pilate, First Greek Form) It begins as follows:
"I, Ananias, of the propretor's body guard, being learned in the law, knowing our Lord Jesus Christ by faith, and counted worthy of holy baptism, searching also the memorials written at that time of what was done in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the Jews had laid up in Hebrew, and by the favor of God I have translated them into Greek for the information of all who call on the name of our Master Jesus Christ, in the seventeenth year of the reign of our lord Flavius Theodosius, in the sixth of Flavius Valentianan, in the ninth indiction."
Flavius Theodosius, mentioned here, was a famous Roman general under the emperor Valentinian, son of Count Gratian, born at Cibalae Pannonia A.D. 331. The emperor sent Theodosius in 367 to the defense of England from the invading barbarians. Later at the head of the Roman army he subdued the rebel Egyptians, Kumidia, etc. He was beheaded at Carthage in 376. From him descended many Roman emperors. According to statements of this converted Jew, Ananias, the latter gathered up the records of the trial written in Hebrew and kept in Pilate's archives. Now in his words let us continue the account. (Chapter 1.)
"Having called a council, the high priest and Scribes, Annas and Caiphas, and Semes, and Dathaes, and Gamaliel, Judas, Levi and Nephthalim, Alexander and Jairus. (There is much variation in the names in the MSS.) and the rest of the Jews came to Pilate, accusing Jesus about many things, saying:
"We know this man to be the son of Joseph the carpenter, born of Mary, and he says he is the Son of God, and moreover he profanes the Sabbath, and wishes to do away with the law of our fathers.'
"Pilate says : 'And what are the things which he does to show that he wishes to do away with it ?'
" The Jews say : ' We have a law not to cure anyone on the Sabbath, but this man has on the Sabbath cured the lame, and the crooked, the withered, the blind, and the paralytic, the dumb and the demoniac, by evil practices.' (Lactantius iv, 17)
Pilate says to them : 'What evil practices ?' They say to him : 'He is a magician, and by Beelzebub, (Lord of the Fly) prince of the demons, he casts out the demons, and all are subject to him.'
"Pilate says to them: 'This is not casting out demons by an unclean spirit, but by the god Esculapius.' 1
"Pilate then said to them: 'Take him you, and judge him according to your law.' The Jews therefore said to him, 'It is not lawful for us to put any one to death.' That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he said signifying what death he should die.' (John xviii. 30-32.) And they began to accuse him, saying: 'We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king.' (Luke xxiii, 2.)
"The Jews say to Pilate : 'We entreat your highness that he stand at thy tribunal and be heard.' And Pilate having called them says: ' Tell me how I, being a pro curator, can try a king.' They say to him: (Mentioned in Acts iv. 6) We do not say that he is a king, but he himself says that he is.' And Pilate having called a runner says to him : 'Let Jesus be brought in with respect.'
"And the runner going out adored him, and took his own cloak into his hand, and spread it on the ground, and says to him: * My Lord, walk on this and come in, for the procurator calls thee.' And the Jews seeing what the runner had done cried out against Pilate, saying:
" 'Why hast thou ordered him to come in by a runner, and not by a crier? For surely the runner when he saw him adored him, and spread his garment on the ground, and made him walk like a king.' Pilate says to the runner: 'Why hast thou done this, and spread thy cloak on the earth, and made Jesus walk on it ? ' 'My Lord Procurator, when thou didst send me to Alexander,' I saw him sitting on an ass, and the sons of the Hebrews held branches in their hands and shouted. And others spread their garments under him, saying : 'Save now, thou who art in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'
"The Jews cry out to the runner: 'The sons of the Hebrews shouted in Hebrew, whence then hast thou the Greek ?'
"I asked one of the Jews and said : 'What are they shouting in Hebrew ? ' and he interpreted it for me.
"Pilate says to them: 'And what did they say in Hebrew ?'
"The Jews say to him: 'Hosanna, membrome baruch amma Adonai."
" 'And this Hosanna, etc., how is it interpreted ?'
" 'O Lord, save me. O Lord, give good success. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' (Psalm cxvii. 25. 2)
"' If you bear witness to the words spoken by the chil dren, in what has the runner done wrong ?' And they were silent. And the procurator says to the runner. 'Go out and bring him in, in any way thou wilt.' And the runner going out did in the same manner as before, and he says to Jesus: ' My Lord, come in. The procurator calls for thee.' (Gospel of Nicodemus, Acts of Pilate, Cap. i.)
The account says that when Jesus went in, the standard-bearers bent the flags towards him to do him honor, at which the Jews protested. The leaders of the Jews had expected to have the Victim judged and condemned be fore the morning sacrifices at nine o'clock, which they wished to attend; but time was being lost, and they were furious at the delay. They wanted to make Pilate believe that Jesus was the leader of a rebellion and a conspiracy against the Roman emperor. As they could only judge in religious matters, they had consulted and conspired among themselves that this was to be the chief charge against the Prisoner.
They brought forward ten witnesses to prove the three principal accusations! When they accused him of curing diseases on the Sabbath, Pilate in a jeering tone interrupted them.
"It is very evident that none of you were sick, or you would not have complained of being cured on the Sabbath.'
"' He seduces the people,' 'He wants to be a king.' 'He teaches the most disgusting doctrines.' 'He even says that no one can attain eternal life unless he eats his flesh and drinks his blood.'
" You most certainly wish to follow his doctrines and to attain eternal life, for you are thirsting for both his body and blood."
1 Esculapius was the fabled god of medicine, a pupil of Chiron in Greece, to whom temples were built and to them resorted the sick to be treated by the priests called Asclepiadae, and the patients cured placed in the temple votive tablets having inscribed the disease and remedies taken.