MEDITATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION: Of The First Accusation Of Our Lord Before Pilate II

DUCCIO di Buoninsegna 
Christ Accused by the Pharisees (sene 12) 
1308-11

Then Pilate went forth unto them, & said, what accusation do you bring against this man? They answered him if he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him to thee: Then said Pilate to them, take ye him and according to your Law judge him. The Jews said to him: It is not lawful for us to kill any man: that the speech of Jesus might be fulfilled, signifying what death he should die.

Consider 1. The humanity of Pilate, who might have interpreted their refusing to come into his house as to an unclean person, as a contempt of him; yet he yield to their religion, being better then thou & many other Christians who being contemned, yield contempt again, & by no entreaty will yield  in any point or title of honor.

Consider 2. The proud answer of the Jews, by which they abused the outward face of Religion to the death of an innocent. We (say they) being Priests, making conscience to break the least commandments of the law, would never have delivered this man unto you, expect for many causes he had been most worthy of death. So great was the innocency of our Lord, that without compulsion they would not have come to accuse him.

Consider thirdly Pilates answer, more wise then the answer of the Priests: For many times secular men have more goodness then Priests. The Gentile seemed to be not a little offended, that he should be required to put him to death without hearing or convicting him, as if he should say, If your Law permit this, yet the Law of the Romans doth not. But the Jews had no consideration of this just scandal: whom thou doest imitate, so oft as thou doest give cause of scandal, whom, thou doest imitate, so oft as thou givest cause of scandal of reproach to the weak, or to Heretics. Remember the word of our Lord: It is better that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and he thrown into the bottom of the Sea, then one of those little ones should be scandalized.

Consider fourthly the other answer of the Jews, saying: it is not lawful for us to kill any man; that is to say, upon the Cross. For they stoned Stephen, and they prepared to stone the Adulteress. For our Lord must be put to death, not with stones, hut upon the Cross, and not by the Jews, but by the Gentiles, which is shown by that which followeth, that the speech of Jesus might be fulfilled, who had foretold them both. Give thanks therefore unto thy Lord, that he passed from the Jews to the Gentiles, and pray that he when by the hands of the Gentiles would undergo the Cross, & suffer death, will accept for thee the unbloody sacrifice, which in remembrance of his Passion is offered in the Church of the Gentiles world without end.

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