Angry now - at his own predicament and the ever-quarrelsome Jews, Pilate moves out onto the wide balcony and the crowd begins to shout. With an abrupt gesture Pilate motions to the guards to bring Jesus forward. Because of His condition it takes perhaps forty-five seconds before Jesus positions Himself just to Pilate’s right and slightly behind him.
"Behold the man!" is Pilate’s exclamation.
And a roar, with the force of a tidal wave, assaults Pilate and Jesus, Who stands with bowed head, the meek, humble Lamb.
"I have had Him scourged to satisfy your filthy lust for blood," Pilate says with all his imperious authority.
I behold now the thousands of demons in an absolute frenzy pulling and pushing at the crowd, driving it forward. I am given to "see" that upon these poor wretches there are chains. Some are bound by their hands, others with their feet, still others with a chain around the neck, waist, heart, mind.
The Roman guards under Pilate’s command, swords drawn, shields held protectively, move against this rabble which starts forward. Human cowardice, however, holds it back.
"He is a blasphemer!" comes a cry from the crowd.
"He is liable to death!" screams another.
A chorus of "Blasphemer!" "Death to the devil’s spawn!"
And Pilate, looking at Jesus, is pensive, struggling. But now I see his own demon which sits upon his shoulder, whispering constantly in his ear. *Pilate makes a gesture as if to remove an annoying gnat and the demon merely climbs to the floor where it dances obscenely and incites his fellow demons to imitate him.
"It is the custom at this time," Pilate shouts, momentarily quieting the crowd, "for Rome to release to you a prisoner. It is your Passover. Therefore, I offer this man, who I find innocent, or Barrabas."
The demons cannot contain their movement. They yank, tug and jerk the chains around the people and their hideous howls become the cry: "Barrabas!" "Give us Barrabas!"
Pilate is momentarily stunned. These people are truly mad! He knows it, but the demon who is now back upon his shoulder ends the battle.
"So be it," Pilate wearily exclaims. To a servant he commands, "Bring basin and water."
The crowd chants "Barrabas" and "Death to the Blasphemer! Crucify this Christ, who has dared to call Himself Son of God."
The servant arrives, a young boy totally in awe of Pilate. With fastidious care Pilate holds his hands over the basin and the water is poured upon his palms and fingers. Pilate carefully wipes his hands dry upon a spotless piece of white linen.
"Then let it be as you say," he addresses the pressing crowd. "But I will have no part of this. Let His death be upon your heads."
"Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" is the response. "His blood upon us and upon our children," they respond, certain that they are exacting true justice according to the law.
"Release to them the prisoner Barrabas," commands Pilate. He turns, passes Jesus and with a wave of his hand gives the order. "This one - Crucify Him!"
Jesus is at once surrounded by Roman guards who form a phalanx around Him.
Pilate is once again sitting upon his judgment seat. He does not bother to look up as Jesus is taken out and let to the bottom of the palace. He suddenly sinks back into the chair, and upon his face there comes a deep shadow of immense remorse.
Yet, the demon who is still upon his shoulder whispers the lie, and Pilate resumes his arrogant posture; justice is done! So be it! NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part three of Lesson 13: Our Lady's Meditation on THE JUDGMENT BY PILATE