Condemnation of Jesus:
Worst travesty of justice ever
“I have examined him here in your presence, and I have not found him
guilty of any of the crimes you accuse him of. Nor did Herod find him
guilty, because he sent him back to us. There is nothing this man has
done to deserve death. I will have him whipped, then and let him go.”
(Luke 23: 14 - 16) The words of Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor,
emphasize the innocence of Jesus Christ who was condemned to a merciless
death. Although Pontius Pilate knew full well that Jesus was meek like a
lamb he was pressurized by the people.
was a ruler who loved his position and he also wanted to please his
people even without maintaining law and order. If he were a good
governor of good governance the judgment would have been quite
different. He knew that pleasing his people was the easiest way to
remain in power and to enjoy its benefits. That is why he says ‘I will
have him whipped.’ If Jesus were not guilty why did Pilate whip him?
Leaders like Pilate were ready to do any dirty thing to make the
subjects happy because they knew that the happiness of the people would
let them assure of their status.
Not only Pilate but also the people who brought Jesus before Pilate
knew that Jesus was innocent. They were the people whose sicknesses were
They were the people who saw His miracles. They were the people whose
hunger was satisfied. Pilate was not with them when Jesus was walking
all over Judea. Pilate never came to Jesus to get himself cured but
still he knew Jesus was not guilty. If Pilate knew that Jesus was not
guilty why not those people whom Jesus lived with? Was it the lopsided
ingratitude of human nature of people that blindfolded them before the
Pilate had the power to set Jesus Christ free but he was frightened
of his subjects’ political upheaval and as a result he would risk his
position. For him, position and power were more important than anything
else. Yet Pilate whose conscience was pricked by this unjust verdict
made another attempt to save Jesus.
At each Passover Feast (Easter) Pilate had to set free one prisoner
for them. He brought Barabbas who had been put in prison for a riot that
had taken place in the city and for murder. Pilate invited the people to
choose either Jesus or Barabbas. The chief priests and the elders
persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus
put to death. So the whole crowd cried out “Kill Jesus! Set Barabbas
free for us!”
Many people including those that shouted for the release of Barabbas
welcomed Jesus to the temple like a king the previous Sunday. It was
just a matter of time and after five days, people branded Jesus a
criminal. Weren’t these the people who saw what exactly Jesus was doing
during three years, walking all over the country? Weren’t there Jesus’
disciples and friends who could shout “Jesus” or “Set Jesus free.”? If
we were there among the crowd what would be our reaction, our shouting?
Pilate who wanted to set Jesus free questioned the crowd again and
again “What crime has he committed? I cannot find anything he has done
to deserve death!” Pilate who was frightened of the crowd granted the
He passed the sentence on Jesus that the people were asking for and
set free the man they wanted. Pilate who was a typical political leader
who did not want to burn his fingers unnecessarily, washed his hands in
front of the crowd and said, “I am not responsible for the death of this
man! This is your doing!”
They wanted Barabbas, the criminal, set free. Was Jesus who made the
people happy in life, worse than Barabbas? Or did the ungrateful nature
of people instigate them to do so? Were they misled by the political and
religious hierarchy? Why didn’t the political and religious hierarchy
lead the people to respect and accept good motives? Killing on the cross
was the most rigorous punishment during Jesus’ time. Only the notorious
criminals were crucified.
Why did people want Jesus to be crucified? Why did people want Jesus
to suffer and die like a criminal? Was it the sinfulness that
blindfolded them or their political shortsightedness that deviated them
from the truth? Was this culture of passing wrong judgments and claiming
the lives of innocent over or are they still common in our society?
History repeats itself. We were not there among the crowd to save Jesus.
If we were there we the loving faithful would have saved Jesus and the
history would have been changed.
When injustice takes place before our eyes even today what do we do?
When innocent people like Jesus are given a wrong verdict what do we do?
We become deaf, dumb and blind because we do not want to risk ourselves
and they are not our family either. We are politically, socially and
religiously blindfolded and we are not prepared to bear witness to the
truth. In such instances we too wash our hands like Pilate.
Have you ever thought that Jesus is still suffering and dying on the
cross? Do you know that Jesus is misjudged and given the wrong judgment
even today? Jesus will suffer and die until the end of the human race on
Jesus the Son of Man came to the earth in the form of a human once
and He will not come again in the same form of man. But in people who
have been created in the image of God, Jesus is suffering because of
When we rash judge others, we judge Jesus. We have no right to judge
anyone. Judgment is not ours. Though we like passing judgments, we do
not like to be judged. When we pass the wrong judgment on our neighbour,
we always judge Jesus who suffer in them
We are not murderers. We know the danger of killing others but we
create situations in life where others cannot survive.
Our thoughts, words and actions could weave the noose for others to
hang. If we examine ourselves we have killed Jesus over and over again.
Therefore, we naturally fall into to the category of people who
screamed, “Kill Jesus! Set Barabbas free for us!”
Certain circumstances in life pave the way for us to be Pilate who
was frightened of passing the correct judgment due to political reasons
and again we play the role of the public who denied what we saw and
experienced before our social and religious and political norms. Our
conscience fails before our political, social and religious beliefs and
We forget always that our conscience is the presence of God in us and
He speaks to us through our conscience. When the conscience is dead, we
become walking dead bodies. Death of our conscience is the root cause of
any form of social evil in any society. Today unlike any other day in
history Jesus invites us to bear witness to the truth and become His
disciples who became martyrs for being truthful in life. “Does a man
gain anything if, he wins the whole world but loses his life? of course
not!” (Mark 8:36)