Jesus, with Pilate pointing to him, stood at the head of this stairway, in the sight of all the people as the world's scapegoat, with the sins of mankind on him, his whole form all torn and bloody, his body bent with anguish, his head crowned with thorns.
But the sight of the Victim only increased their hatred. The fires of hell's hate burned in their very souls. Demons seemed to possess them. With a hoarse shout the chief priests cried out: " Put him to death." " Crucify him." "Away with him." " Are you not content ? " said Pilate. " The punishment he has received is certainly enough to deprive him of all desire to make himself a king." But again rose that awful roar: " Crucify him," " Crucify him." " His blood be on us and on our children."
The uproar continued for a time, Pilate gave orders and the trumpet sounded for silence. Then he said: "Take him you and crucify him, for I find no cause in him." The Jews answered him : " We have a law, and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." (John xix. 7, 8.) Pilate saw that the whole Jewish people, who had come from all Judea, and from the different cities of the empire to celebrate the Passover, demanded his death. " He said he was the son of God." Pilate was troubled.
He led Jesus into a room behind the portico where he had stood speaking to the multitude, and said to Jesus: " Whence art thou ? " But Jesus kept silence. " Speakest thou not to me ? " There was no reply. " Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee ? " Jesus calmly answered : " Thou shouldst not have any power against me unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that delivered me to thee hath the greater sin." And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him." (John xix . 9, 10, 12.)
Again Claudia sent her husband the pledge to remind him of his promise. But Pilate returned a vague reply, that he would leave the case in the care of the gods. The Pharisees, Scribes and priests, having heard that Pilate's wife was trying to release Jesus, spread a report that the disciples and followers of Jesus had converted her, that if he w r as released he would join the Romans and bring about the destruction of their sacred city, and the total extermination of the Jewish race. Jesus had foretold some of these things, and it was easy to persuade the people.
Pilate was wavering. Again he addressed the multitude, saying that "He found no crime in him." But they shouted more clamorously for his death. Pilate was very perplexed. He did not know what to do. " Is it possible that he is God?" he said to himself. Pilate had the pagan ideas regarding the gods of Rome, who lived on Mt. Olympus and of Jupiter, father of the gods Taking Jesus with him, he went into the private room again, and asked him if he was a god and a king. Jesus replied that his kingdom was not of this world, telling him also of certain secret sins he had committed, asked him to re pent, and said that as the Son of man he would come on the last day to pronounce judgment on him. Frightened and angry, Pilate returned to the balcony, near the stair-way, and told the Jews that he was going to release the Prisoner. " But the Jews cried out, saying: " If thou re lease this man thou art not Caesar's friend, for whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." Some shouted to him that they would accuse him to the emperor of having disturbed the Passover. Pilate was the direct representative of the emperor, who could re move him without laying the matter before the Roman senate, and he was afraid he would lose his office.
From the whole multitude continually rose that cry: " Away with him." " Crucify him." " We have no king but Caesar." The vast crowd waved back and forth, swinging their hands, nodding their heads covered with their white turbans. The multitudes on the adjoining roofs to the north took up the shout. All Jewry united in demanding his death. There stood the real Samson, the strong man who by his death destroyed the whole Jewish people as a nation.