DUCCIO di Buoninsegna 
 Pilate's First Interrogation of Christ (scene 13) 

GOSPEL JN 18:33-37 
At that time: Pilate said to Jesus: Art Thou King of the Jews? Jesus answered: Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of Me? Pilate answered: Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee up to me: what hast Thou done? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him: Art Thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a King. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice.

Meditation of the examination of Pilate

Then Pilate went again into the Palace, and called Jesus, and Jesus stood before the President. And Pilate asked him: art thou King of the Jews? Jesus answered: doest thou speak this of thy self, or have others told it thee of me? Pilate answered: am I a Jew? Thy people, and thy Priests have delivered thee to me, what hast thou done? 

Consider first Pilate dealt with Christ, not afore the multitude, but privately in his house, of whom (saith St. Chrysostome) he had conceived a great opinion. Thou in like manner, if thou wilt deal with Christ, avoid company & much business; enter into the chamber of thy heart, that thou mayest more clearly hear our Lord speaking. 

Consider secondly that the Lord of all creatures standeth as guilty before the Gentile President, to whom he must render account of his life. Live thou so, that thou needst not blush to render an account of all the actions before any man. 

Consider 3. the question of Pilate. (art thou King of the Jews?) That is to say, can it be, that thou being so poor and miserable and so many ways afflicted, canst call thy self King of the Jews? Answer thou for thy Lord, yea certainly, he is King of the Jews, whom the true Jews do acknowledge, that is such as know and confess their sins. For they will obey this King, that being brought out of sin, and delivered out of the hand of their enemies, they may serve him. Admire thou this King, whose beauty consisteth not in gold and precious stones, & outward ornaments; but in contempt, disgrace, and external ignominy. For these things have both made Christ famous through the whole world, and also have beautified thy soul. 

Consider fourthly, the answer of Christ, the sense whereof is this, did you ever see, or hear anything of me, whereby I might be suspected to seek for a Kingdom? This question signifieth the absurdity of the accusation. Ponder here with thyself, whether thou dost know thy Lord Christ, that is, whether thou doest feel Christ reigning in thy mind; or else whether thou art a Christian without any outward sweetness. 

Consider fifthly the proud answer of Pilate, disdaining, and taking it in evil part, that a guilty person durst ask him a question. He excuseth himself with ignorance of the Jews Causes: I know not (saith he) what your Nation dreameth of the coming of a Messias. Thou canst not plead ignorance in Gods cause to whom Christ hath made manifest even the secrets of God. And if ignorance did not profit Pilate, how can it profit any Christian, to whom God hath given so great knowledge? 

Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616 


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