THE TWENTY-SECOND DAY OF LENT
Pilate had an inscription written and placed on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jewish people read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jerusalem said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” – John 19:19-22
I think Pontius Pilate was quite intentional about that sign he had the soldiers to nail to Jesus’ cross. Some offer with optimism that Pilate was so impressed with Christ that he recognized Christ’s nobility. But I think with a high degree confidence that Pilate was saying to both the Jewish leaders and the Jewish people of Palestine … “If you are thinking any thoughts of reestablishing the Davidic Kingdom … well, this is what I do to would-be kings!”
This is the way of authoritarian rulers with military might at their command … they proclaim edicts that no one dare question. Pilate’s proclamation turned the tables on the treachery of the Sanhedrin. They desired also to be done with this would-be messiah, but not to have the Davidic tradition to be intimidated out of existence.
In Roman Justice, the justice was defined by the mortally flawed Emperor and his quislings; however, in the “Justice Christianus“, the justice is defined by the perfectly formed moral sense of the Divine. And to add … the supposed justice of that time’s Sanhedrin … was but a tool to achieve their treacherous ends.
Justice, the purest form of Justice, comes not by way of the edicts of kings nor by the pragmatic politics of the powerful, but rather by the exaltation of moral principles found in the highest perfection of the Divine. This is why … even autocratic kings, despotic dictators, and even the majorities of democracies are held accountable for the quality of justice they administer.
In Christ, we live by a justice that is established in Higher Places even when it is conflicts with the justice in lower places.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz