Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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Pilate's Palace


 gave access to Pilate's palace led to an open terrace from which the Governor listened to the plaintiffs, who sat opposite on the stone benches next the entrance to the forum. By speaking in a loud voice from the terrace, one could easily be heard in the forum.

Back of Pilate's palace rose still higher terraces with gardens and summerhouses. By these gardens, the palace was connected with the dwelling of Pilate's wife, whose name was Claudia Procla. A moat sep­arated these buildings from the mountain on which the Temple was built.2

Adjoining the eastern side of Pilate's palace was that council house or judgment hall of Herod the Elder, in whose inner court many innocent children were once upon a time murdered. Its appearance was now somewhat changed, owing to the addition of new buildings; the entrance was from the eastern side, although there was still one from Pilate's hall.

Four streets ran hither from the eastern section of the city, three toward Pilate's palace and the forum; the fourth passed the northern side of the latter toward the gate that led to Bethsur. Near this gate and on this street stood the beautiful house owned by Lazarus in Jerusalem, and not far from it a dwelling belonging to Martha.

Of these four streets, the one that was nearest to the Temple extended from the sheep gate. On enter­ing the latter, one found on his right the Probatica, or pool in which the sheep were washed. It was built so close to the wall that the arches above it were constructed in that same wall. It had a drain out­side the wall down into the Valley of Josaphat, on which account this place, just before the gate, was marshy. Some buildings surrounded the pool. The Paschal lambs were, before being taken to the Tem­ple, washed here for the first time; but at the Pool

2. Perhaps a moat of the citadel of Antonia.


Life of Jesus Christ

 of Bethsaida, south of the Temple, they afterward received a more solemn purification. In the second street stood a house and courtyard that once belonged to Mary's mother, St. Anne. She and her family used to put up there with their cattle for sacrifice when they went to Jerusalem for the festival days. In this house also, if I remember rightly, Joseph and Mary's wedding was celebrated.

The forum, as I have said, stood higher than the surrounding streets, through which ran gutters down to the sheep pool. On Mount Sion, opposite the ancient citadel of David, stood a similar forum; to the south­east and in its vicinity lay the Coenaculum; and to the north were the judgment halls of Annas and Caiaphas. The citadel of David was now a deserted, dilapidated fortress full of empty courts, stables, and chambers, which were hired as resting places to car­avans and travelers with their beasts of burden. This building had already long lain deserted. Even at the birth of Christ, I saw it in its present condi­tion. The retinue of the Three Holy Kings with its numerous beasts of burden put up at it.

25. Jesus Before Pilate

According to our reckoning of time, it was about six in the morning when the procession of the High Priests and Pharisees, with the frightfully maltreated Saviour, reached the palace of Pilate. Between the large square and the entrance into the praetorium were seats on either side of the road where Annas, Caiaphas, and the members of the Council that had accompanied them placed themselves. Jesus, however, still bound by cords, was dragged forward by the exe­cutioners to the foot of the steps that led up to Pilate's judgment seat. At the moment of their arrival, Pilate was reclining on a kind of easy chair upon the pro­jecting terrace. A small, three-legged table was stand­ing by him, upon which lay the insignia of his office

Jesus Before Pilate


 and some other things, which I do not now recall. Officers and soldiers surrounded him, and they too wore badges indicative of Roman dominion. The High Priests and Jews kept far from the tribunal because, according to their Law, to approach it would have defiled them. They would not step over a certain boundary line.

When Pilate saw the mob hurrying forward with great tumult and clamor, and the maltreated Jesus led to the foot of his steps, he arose and addressed them with a scornful air. His manner was something like that of a haughty French marshal treating with the deputies of a poor little city. "What have you come about so early? Why have you handled the poor Man so roughly? You began early to flay Him, to slaughter Him." But they cried out to the execu­tioners: "Onward with Him into the judgment hall!" Then turning to Pilate, they said: "Listen to our accusation against this malefactor. We cannot, for fear of defilement, enter the judgment hall."

Scarcely had this outcry died away when a tall, powerful, venerable-looking man from the crowd, pressing behind in the forum, cried out: "True, indeed, ye dare not enter that judgment hall, for it has been consecrated with innocent blood! Only He dares enter! Only He among all the Jews is pure as the Innocents!" After uttering these words with great emotion, he disappeared in the crowd. His name was Zadoch, He was a wealthy man and a cousin of the husband of Seraphia, who was afterward called Veron­ica. Two of his little boys had, at Herod's command, been slaughtered among the innocent children in the court of the judgment hall. Since that time he had entirely withdrawn from the world and, like an Essen­ian, lived with his wife in continency. He had once seen Jesus at Lazarus' and listened to His teaching. At this moment, in which he beheld the innocent Jesus dragged in so pitiable a manner up the steps, the painful recollection of his murdered babes tore


Life of Jesus Christ

 his heart, and he uttered that cry as a testimony to the Lord's innocence. The enemies of Jesus were, however, too urgent in their demands and too exas­perated at Pilate's manner toward them and their own humbled position before him, to pay particular attention to the cry.

Jesus was dragged by the executioners up the lofty flight of marble steps and placed in the rear of the terrace, from which Pilate could speak with His accusers below. When Pilate beheld before him Jesus, of whom he had heard so many reports, so shock­ingly abused and disfigured, and still with that dig­nity of bearing which no ill-treatment could change, his loathing contempt for the Jewish priests and Council increased. These latter had sent word to him at an early hour that they were going to hand over to him Jesus of Nazareth, who was guilty of death, that he might pronounce sentence upon Him. Pilate, however, let them see that he was not going to con­demn Him without some well-proved accusation. In an imperious and scornful manner, therefore, he ad­dressed the High Priests: "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" To which they answered angrily: "If we did not know Him to be a malefactor, we should not have delivered Him to you." "Take Him," replied Pilate, "and judge Him according to your Law." "Thou knowest," they retorted, "that it is not lawful for us to condemn any man to death."

The enemies of Jesus were full of rage and fury. Their whole desire seemed to be to put an end to Him before the legal festival, that they might then slaughter the Paschal lamb. For this end they wished to proceed in the most violent hurry. They knew not that He was the true Paschal Lamb, He whom they themselves had dragged before the tribunal of an idolatrous judge, over whose threshold they did not dare to pass for fear of defiling themselves and thus being unable to eat the typical Paschal lamb.

As the Governor summoned them to bring for­ward

Three Charges


 their accusations, this they now proceeded to do. They laid three principal charges against Him, for each of which they produced ten witnesses. They worded them in such a way that Jesus might be made to appear as an offender against the Emperor, and Pilate be forced to condemn Him. It was only in cases pertaining to the laws of religion and the Temple that they had a right to take things into their own hands. The first charge they alleged was: "Jesus is a seducer of the people, a disturber of the peace, an agitator," and then they brought forth some witnesses to substantiate the charge. Next they said: "He goes about holding great meetings, breaking the Sabbath, and healing on the Sabbath." Here Pilate interrupted them scornfully: "It is easily seen that none of you were sick, else you would not be scan­dalized at healing on the Sabbath." They continued: "He seduces the people by horrible teaching, for He says that to have eternal life, they must eat His Flesh and Blood." Pilate was provoked at the furi­ous hate with which they uttered this charge. He glanced at his officers and with a smile said sharply to the Jews: "It would almost appear that you your­selves are following His teaching and are aiming at eternal life, since you, too, seem so desirous of eat­ing His Flesh and His Blood."

Their second accusation was: "Jesus stirs up the people not to pay tribute to the Emperor." Here Pilate interrupted them angrily. As one whose office it was to know about such things, he retorted with empha­sis: "That is a great lie! I know better than that!" Then the Jews shouted out their third accusation: "Let it be so! This Man of low, obscure, and doubt­ful origin, puts Himself at the head of a large par­ty and cries woe to Jerusalem. He scatters also among the people parables of double meaning of a king who is preparing a wedding feast for his son. The peo­ple gathered in great crowds around Him on a moun­tain, and once they wanted to make Him king; but


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 it was sooner than He wished, and so He hid Him­self. During the last few days He came forward more boldly. He made a tumultuous entrance into Jerusalem, causing regal honors to be shown Him while the people, by His orders, cried: 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be the reign of our Father David which is now come!' Besides this, He teaches that He is the Christ, the Anointed of the Lord, the Messiah, the promised King of the Jews, and allows Himself so to be called." This third charge, like the two preceding, was supported by ten witnesses.

At the word that Jesus caused Himself to be called the Christ, the King of the Jews, Pilate became some­what thoughtful. He went from the open terrace into the adjoining apartment, casting as he passed Him a scrutinizing glance upon Jesus, and ordered the guard to bring the Lord into the judgment chamber.

Pilate was a fickle, weak-minded, superstitious pagan. He had all kinds of dark forebodings con­cerning the sons of his gods who had lived upon earth, and he was not ignorant of the fact that the Jewish Prophets had long ago foretold One who was to be the Anointed of God, a Redeemer, a Deliverer, a King, and that many of the Jews were looking for His coming. He knew also that Kings from the East had come to Herod the Elder, inquiring after a new­born King, that they might honor Him; and that after this many children were put to death at Herod's order. He knew indeed the traditions relating to a Messiah, a King of the Jews; but zealous idolater that he was, he put no faith in them, he could not fancy what kind of a king was meant. Most likely he thought with the liberal-minded Jews and Hero­dians of his day, who dreamed but of a powerful, victorious ruler. So the accusation that Jesus, stand­ing before him so poor, so miserable, so disfigured, should give Himself out for that Anointed of the Lord, for that King, appeared to him truly ridicu­lous. But because the enemies of Jesus had brought

The Anointed of the Lord


 forward the charge as injurious to the rights of the Emperor, Pilate caused the Saviour to be conducted to his presence for an examination.

Pilate regarded Jesus with astonishment as he addressed Him: "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" And Jesus made answer: "Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it thee of Me?" Pilate, a little offended that Jesus should esteem him so fool­ish as, of his own accord, to ask so poor and miser­able a creature whether he was a king, answered evasively something to this effect: "Am I a Jew, that I should know about things so nonsensical? Thy peo­ple and their priests have delivered Thee to me for condemnation as one deserving of death. Tell me, what hast Thou done?" Jesus answered solemnly: "My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, I should certainly have servants who would combat for Me, that I should not be deliv­ered to the Jews. But My Kingdom is not here below." Pilate heard these earnest words of Jesus with a kind of shudder, and said to Him thoughtfully: "Art Thou then indeed a king?" And Jesus answered: "As thou sayest! Yes, I am the King. I was born, and I came into this world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth, heareth My voice." Pilate cast a glance on Him and, rising, said: "Truth! What is truth?" Some other words were then ex­changed, whose purport I do not now remember.

Pilate went out again to the terrace. He could not comprehend Jesus, but he knew this much about Him, that He was not a king who would prove mis­chievous to the Emperor, and that He laid no claim to any kingdom of this world. As to a kingdom belong­ing to another world, the Emperor troubled himself little about that. Pilate therefore called down from the terrace to the High Priests below: "I find no kind of crime in this Man!"

Thereupon the enemies of Jesus were seized with new fury. They launched out into a torrent of


Life of Jesus Christ

 accusations against Him, while Jesus stood in silence praying for the poor creatures. Pilate turned to Him and asked: "Hast Thou nothing to say to all these charges?" But Jesus answered not a word. Pilate regarded Him in amazement as he said: "I see plainly that they are acting falsely against Thee!" (He used some expression for the word lie that I cannot remem­ber). But the accusers, whose rage was on the increase, cried out:"What! Thou findest no guilt in Him? Is it no crime to stir up the people? He has spread His doctrine throughout the whole country, from Galilee up to these parts."

When Pilate caught the word Galilee, he reflected a moment and then called down: "Is this Man from Galilee a subject of Herod?" The accusers answered: "Yes. His parents once lived in Nazareth, and now His own dwelling is near Capharnaum." Pilate then said: "Since He is a Galilean and subject to Herod, take Him to Herod. He is here for the feast, and can judge Him at once." He then caused Jesus to be taken from the judgment chamber and led down again to His enemies, while at the same time he sent an offi­cer to inform Herod that one of his subjects, a Galilean, Jesus of Nazareth, was being brought to him to be judged. Pilate was rejoiced to be able in this way to escape passing sentence on Jesus, for the whole affair made him feel uncomfortable. At the same time, he had a motive of policy in showing this act of courtesy to Herod, between whom and himself there was an estrangement, for he knew that Herod was very desirous of seeing Jesus.

Jesus' enemies were in the highest degree exas­perated at being thus dismissed before the popu­lace, at being thus obliged to lead Jesus away to another tribunal; consequently, they vented their rage upon Him. With renewed fury they surrounded Him, bound Him anew and, along with the clamoring sol­diers, drove Him in furious haste with cuffs and blows across the crowded forum and through the

The Holy Way of the Cross


 street that led to the palace of Herod not far off. Some Roman soldiers accompanied them.

Claudia Procla, the lawful wife of Pilate, had while Pilate was treating with the Jews sent a servant to tell her husband that she was very anxious to speak with him. As Jesus was now being led to Herod, she stood concealed upon an elevated balcony, and with deep anxiety and trouble of mind watched Him being led across the forum.

26. Origin of the Devotion of the "Holy Way of the Cross"

The Blessed Virgin, standing with Magdalen and John in a corner of the forum hall, had with unspeak­able pain beheld the whole of the dreadful scene just described, had heard the clamorous shouts and cries. And now when Jesus was taken to Herod, she begged to be conducted by John and Magdalen back over the whole way of suffering trodden by her Divine Son since His arrest the preceding evening. They went over the whole route—to the judgment hall of Caiaphas, to the palace of Annas, and thence through Ophel to Gethsemani on Mount Olivet. On many places where Jesus had suffered outrage and injury, they paused in heartfelt grief and compassion, and wherever He had fallen to the ground the Blessed Mother fell on her knees and kissed the earth. Mag­dalen wrung her hands, while John in tears assisted the afflicted Mother to rise, and led her on further. This was the origin of that devotion of the Church, the Holy Way of the Cross, the origin of that sym­pathetic meditation upon the bitter Passion of our Divine Redeemer even before it was fully accom­plished by Him. Even then, when Jesus was travers­ing that most painful way of suffering, did His pure and immaculate Mother, in her undying, holy love, seek to share the inward and outward pains of her Son and her God, venerate and weep over His foot­steps


Life of Jesus Christ

 as He went to die for us, and offer all to the Heavenly Father for the salvation of the world.

Thus, at every step of the Blessed Redeemer, did she gather1 the infinite merits that He acquired for us, and lay them up in her most holy and compas­sionate heart, that unique and venerable treasury of all the gifts of salvation, out of which and through which, according to the eternal degree of the triune God, every fruit and effect of the mystery of Redemp­tion perfected in the fullness of time should be bestowed upon fallen man. From the most pure blood of this most holy heart was formed by the Holy Ghost that Body which today was, from a thousand wounds, pouring forth Its precious Blood as the price of our Redemption. For nine months had Jesus dwelt under that heart full of grace. As a virgin inviolate had Mary brought Him forth, cared for Him, watched over Him, and nourished Him at her breast, in order to give Him over today for us to the most cruel death on the tree of the Cross. Just as the Eternal Father spared not His Only-Begotten Son, but delivered Him up for us, so the Blessed Mother, the Mother of God, spared not the Blessed Fruit of her womb, but consented that He, as the true Paschal Lamb, should be sacrificed for us upon the Cross. And so Mary is, in her Son and next to Him, the concurrent cause of our salva­tion, our Redemptrix, our Mediatrix and powerful Advocate with God, the Mother of grace and of mercy.

All the just of olden times from our penitent first parents down to the last soul that had entered into Abraham's bosom, lamented, prayed, and offered sac­rifice on this day in the holy heart of the Divine Mother, the Queen of Patriarchs and Prophets. So too, till the end of time, will it belong only to a child­like love for Mary to practice the devotion of the Holy Way of the Cross, a devotion originated by her and by her bequeathed to the Church. By this devo­tion

1. Words of the editor.

Magdalen's Grief


 so rich in blessings, so pleasing to God, will the soul advance in faith and in love to the Most Holy Redeemer. It is an extremely significant fact, though unfortunately one too little appreciated, that wher­ever the love of Mary grows cold and devotion to the mysteries of the Rosary becomes extinct, there too dies out the devotion of the Holy Way of the Cross—yes, even faith in the infinite value of the Precious Blood is lost.)

Magdalen in her grief was like an insane person. Immeasurable as her love was her repentance. When, in her love, she longed to pour out her soul at the feet of Jesus, as once the precious balm upon His head, full of horror she descried between her and the Redeemer the abyss of her crimes; then was the pain of repentance in all its bitterness renewed in her heart. When, in her gratitude, she longed to send up like a cloud of incense her thanksgiving for for­giveness received, she saw Him, full of pains and torments, led to death. With unspeakable grief, she comprehended that Jesus was undergoing all this on account of her sins, which He had taken upon Himself in order to atone for them with His own Blood. This thought plunged her deeper and deeper into an abyss of repentant sorrow. Her soul was, as it were, dissolved in gratitude and love, in sorrow and bitterness, in sadness and lamentation, for she saw and felt the ingratitude, the capital crime of her nation, in delivering its Saviour to the ignomin­ious death of the cross. All this was expressed in her whole appearance, in her words and gestures.

John suffered and loved not less than Magdalen, but the untroubled innocence of his pure heart lent a higher degree of peace to his soul.

27. Pilate and His Wife

While Jesus was being taken to Herod and while He was enduring mockery at his tribunal, I saw


Life of Jesus Christ

 Pilate going to his wife, Claudia Procla. They met at a summerhouse in a terraced garden behind Pilate's palace. Claudia was trembling and agitated. She was a tall, fine-looking woman, though rather pale. She wore a veil that fell gracefully in the back, but without concealing her hair, which was wound round her head and adorned with ornaments. She wore earrings and necklace, and her long, plaited robe was fastened on her bosom by a clasp. She con­versed long with Pilate and conjured him by all that was sacred to him not to injure Jesus, the Prophet, the Holy of Holies, and then she related some things from the dreams, or visions, which she had had of Jesus the night before.

I remember that she saw the Annunciation to Mary, the Birth of Christ, the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Kings, the Prophecies of Simeon and Anna, the Flight into Egypt, the Massacre of the Holy Inno­cents, the Temptation in the Desert, and other scenes from the holy life of Jesus. She saw Him always environed with light, while the malice and wicked­ness of His enemies appeared under the most ter­rible pictures. She saw the sanctity and anguish of His Mother and His own infinite sufferings under symbols of unchanging love and patience. She endured unspeakable anguish and sadness, for these visions, besides being something very unusual for her, were irresistibly impressive and convincing. Some of them, as for instance, the Massacre of the Innocents and Simeon's Prophecy in the Temple, she beheld as taking place even in the neighborhood of her own house.

When next morning, alarmed by the uproar of the tumultuous mob, she looked out upon the forum, she recognized in the Lord the One shown her in vision the night before. She saw Him now the object of all kinds of abuse and ill-treatment, while being led by His enemies across the forum to Herod. In terrible anguish, she sent at once for Pilate to whom, fright­ened

Claudia Procla


 and anxious, she related the visions she had seen in her dreams as far as she could make her­self understood. She entreated and implored, and clung to Pilate in the most touching manner.

Pilate was greatly astonished, and somewhat trou­bled at what she related. He compared it with all that he had heard of Jesus, with the fury of the Jews, with Jesus' silence, and with His dignified and wonderful answers to all the questions he had put to Him. He wavered uneasily in his own mind, but soon yielded to his wife's representations and said: "I have already declared that I find no guilt in Jesus. I shall not condemn Him, for I know the utter wicked­ness of the Jews." He spoke at length of Jesus' bear­ing toward himself, quieted his wife's fears, and even went so far as to give her a pledge of assurance that he would not condemn Him. I do not remember what kind of a jewel, whether a ring or a seal, Pilate gave as a sign of his promise. With this understanding they parted.

I saw Pilate as a crack-brained, covetous, proud, vacillating man, with a great fund of meanness in his character. He was deterred by no high fear of God from working out his own ends, could give him­self to the meanest actions, and at the same time practiced the lowest, the most dastardly kind of superstitious idolatry and divination when he found himself in any difficulty. So now, off he hurried to his gods, before whom in a retired apartment of his house he burned incense and demanded of them all kinds of signs. He afterward watched the sacred chickens eating, and Satan whispered to him some­times one thing, sometimes another. At one time he thought that Jesus ought to be released as innocent; again, he feared that his own gods would take vengeance on him if he saved the life of a man who exercised so singular an influence upon him that he believed him some kind of demigod, for Jesus might do much harm to his divinities. "Perhaps," thought


Life of Jesus Christ

 he, "He is indeed a kind of Jewish god. There are so many Prophecies that point to a King of the Jews who shall conquer all things. Kings from the star worshippers of the East have already been here seek­ing such a king in this country. He might, perhaps, elevate Himself above my gods and my Emperor, and so I should have much to answer for, if He does not die. Perhaps His death would be a triumph for my gods." Then came before him the remembrance of the wonderful dreams of his wife, who had never seen Jesus, and this remembrance weighed heavily in favor of Jesus' release in the wavering scales held by Pilate. It looked now as if he were resolved to release Him. He wanted to be just, but he attained not his aim for the same reason that he had not waited for an answer from Jesus to his own ques­tion, "What is truth?"

28. Jesus Before Herod

On the forum and in the streets through which Jesus was led to Herod, a constantly increasing crowd was gathered, composed of the inhabitants from the neighboring places and the whole country around, come up for the feast. The most hostile Pharisees in the whole land had taken their places with their own people in order to stir up the fickle mob against Jesus. Before the Roman guardhouse near Pilate's palace, the Roman soldiers were drawn up in strong numbers, and many other important points of the city were occupied by them.

Herod's palace was situated in the new city to the north of the forum, not far from that of Pilate. An escort of Roman soldiers from the country between Switzerland and Italy joined the procession. Jesus' enemies were greatly enraged at this going back­ward and forward, and they ceased not to insult Him and encourage the executioners to drag Him and push Him about. Pilate's messenger had announced

Jesus Before Herod


 the coming procession, consequently Herod was awaiting it. He was seated in a large hall on a cush­ioned throne, surrounded by courtiers and soldiers. The High Priests went in through the colonnade and ranged on either side, while Jesus stood in the entrance. Herod was very much flattered that Pilate had openly, before the High Priests, accorded to him the right of judgment upon a Galilean; so he put on a very arrogant air and made a great show of busi­ness. He was well-pleased also at seeing Jesus before him in so sorry a plight, since He had always dis­dained to appear in his presence. John had spoken of Jesus in terms so solemn, and he had heard so much of Him from his spies and tale-bearers, that Herod was exceedingly curious about Him. He was in an extraordinarily good humor at the thought of being able to institute, before his courtiers and the High Priests, a grand judicial inquiry concerning Jesus, in which he might show off his knowledge before both parties. He had also been informed that Pilate could find no guilt in Jesus, and that was to his cringing mind a hint that he was to treat the accusers with some reserve, a proceeding that only increased their fury. As soon as they entered his presence, they began to vociferate their complaints. Herod however looked inquisitively at Jesus, and when he saw Him so miserable, so ill-treated, His garments bespattered with filth, His hair torn and disheveled, His face covered with blood and dirt, a feeling of loathsome compassion stole over the effem­inate, voluptuous king. He uttered God's name (it was something like "Jehovah"), turned his face away with an air of disgust and said to the priests: "Take Him away! Clean Him! How could you bring before my eyes so unclean, so maltreated a creature!" At these words the servants led Jesus into the vestibule, brought a basin of water and an old rag with which they removed some of the dirt, ill-treating Him all the while. Their rough manner of acting opened the


Life of Jesus Christ

 wounds on His disfigured face. Herod meantime reproached the priests with their brutality. He appeared to wish to imitate Pilate's manner of act­ing toward them, for he said: "It is very evident that He has fallen into the hands of butchers. You are beginning your work today before the time." The High Priests replied only by vehemently alleging their complaints and accusations. When Jesus was again led in, Herod, who wanted to play the agree­able toward Him, ordered a glass of wine to be brought to Him that He might regain a little strength. But Jesus shook His head, and would not accept the drink.

Herod was very affable to Jesus; he even flattered Him and repeated all that he knew of Him. At first he asked Him several questions, and wanted to see a sign from Him. But Jesus answered not a sylla­ble, and quietly kept His eyes cast down. Herod became very much vexed and ashamed before those present. Wishing, however, to conceal his embarrass­ment, he poured forth a torrent of questions and empty words, "I am very sorry," he said, "to see Thee so gravely accused. I have heard many things of Thee. Dost Thou know that Thou didst offend me in Tirzah when, without my permission, Thou didst release the prisoners whom I had confined there? But perhaps Thy intentions were good. Thou hast now been deliv­ered to me by the Roman Governor that I may judge Thee. What sayest Thou to all these charges? Thou art silent? They have often told me of Thy great wis­dom in speaking and teaching—I should like to hear Thee refute Thy accusers. What sayest Thou? Is it true that Thou art the King of the Jews? Art Thou the Son of God? Who art Thou? I hear that Thou hast performed great miracles. Prove it to me by giv­ing me some sign. It belongs to me to release Thee. Is it true that Thou hast given sight to men born blind? Didst Thou raise Lazarus from the dead? Didst Thou feed several thousand people with a few loaves?

Herod's Torrent of Questions and Empty Words


 Why dost Thou not answer! I conjure Thee to per­form one of Thy miracles! It will be to Thy own advan­tage." But Jesus was silent. Herod, with increasing volubility, went on: "Who art Thou? What is the mat­ter with Thee? Who has given Thee power? Why canst Thou no longer exercise it? Art Thou He of whose birth things so extraordinary are told? Once some kings came from the East to my father, to inquire after a newborn King of the Jews, to whom they wanted to do homage. Now, they say that this Child is no other than Thyself. Is this true? Didst Thou escape the death which at that time fell upon so many children? How did that happen? Why didst Thou remain so long in retirement? Or do they relate those events of Thee only in order to make Thee a king? Answer me! What kind of a king art Thou? Truly, I see nothing royal about Thee! They have, as I have heard, celebrated for Thee lately a triumphant procession, to the Temple. What does that mean? Speak! How comes it that such popularity ends in this way?" To all these questions Herod received no answer from Jesus. It was revealed to me that Jesus would not speak with Him because, by his adulter­ous connection with Herodias and the murder of the Baptist, Herod was under excommunication.

Annas and Caiaphas took advantage of Herod's displeasure at Jesus' silence in order to renew their charges. Among others, they brought forward the fol­lowing: Jesus had called Herod a fox, and for a long time He had been laboring to overthrow his whole family; He wanted to establish a new religion, and He had already eaten the Passover yesterday. This last accusation had been lodged with Caiaphas at the time of Judas' treason, but some of Jesus' friends had brought forth writings to show that that was allowed under certain circumstances.

Herod, although greatly vexed at Jesus' silence, did not permit himself to lose sight of his political ends. He did not wish to condemn Jesus, partly


Life of Jesus Christ

 because of his own secret fear of Him and the remorse he felt for John's murder, and partly again because the High Priests were odious to him, because they would never palliate his adultery and on account of it had excluded him from the sacrifices. But the chief reason for Herod's not condemning Jesus was that he would not pass sentence on One whom Pilate had declared to be without guilt. He had political views also in thus acting; he wanted to show Pilate an act of courtesy in presence of the High Priests. He ended by overwhelming Jesus with words of scorn and con­tempt, and said to his servants and bodyguard (of whom there were about two hundred in his palace): "Take this fool away, and show the honor due to so ridiculous a king. He is more fool than malefactor!"

The Saviour was now led out into a large court and treated with unspeakable outrage and mockery. The court was surrounded by the wings of the palace, and Herod, standing on a flat roof, gazed for a con­siderable time upon the ill-treatment offered to Jesus. Annas and Caiaphas were at his back, try­ing by all means in their power to induce him to pass sentence upon Jesus. Herod, however, would not yield. He replied in a tone loud enough to be heard by the Roman soldiers: "It would be for me the greatest sin, did I condemn Him." He meant probably the greatest sin against Pilate's decision, who had been so gracious as to send Jesus to him.

When the High Priests and enemies of Jesus saw that Herod would in no way comply with their wishes, they dispatched some of their number with money to Acre, a section of the city where at present many Pharisees were stopping. The messengers were directed to summon them to be in attendance at once with all their people in the vicinity of Pilate's palace. A large sum of money was put into the hands of these Pharisees for distribution among the people as bribes, that with furious and vehement clamoring they might demand Jesus' death. Other

Soldiers Mistreat Jesus


 messengers were sent to spread among the people threats of God's vengeance if they did not insist upon the death of the blasphemer. They gave out the report also that if Jesus were not put to death, He would go over to the Romans, that this was what He meant by the Kingdom of which He had so con­stantly spoken. Then, indeed, would the Jews be utterly ruined. On other sides, they spread the report that Herod had condemned Jesus, but that the people must express their will on the subject; that His followers were to be feared, for if Jesus were freed in any way, the feast would be altogether upset, and then would the Romans and His follow­ers unite in taking vengeance. Thus were scattered abroad confused and alarming rumors in order to rouse and exasperate the populace. At the same time, Jesus' enemies caused money to be distributed among Herod's soldiers, that they might grossly maltreat Jesus, yes, even hasten His death, for they would rather see Him die in that way than live to be freed by Pilate's sentence.

From this insolent, godless rabble, Our Lord had to suffer the most shameful mockery, the most bar­barous ill-treatment. When they led Him out into the court, a soldier brought from the lodge at the gate a large white sack in which cotton had been packed. They cut a hole in the bottom of the sack and, amid shouts of derisive laughter from all pre­sent, threw it over Jesus' head. It hung in wide folds over His feet. Another soldier laid a red rag like a collar around His neck. And now they bowed before Him, pushed Him here and there, insulted Him, spat upon Him, struck Him in the face because He had refused to answer their king, and rendered Him a thousand acts of mock homage. They threw filth upon Him, pulled Him about as if He were dancing, forced Him in the wide, trailing mantle of derision to fall to the earth, and dragged Him through a gutter which ran around the court the whole length of the


Life of Jesus Christ

 buildings, so that His sacred head struck against the pillars and stones at the corners. Then they jerked Him to His feet and set up fresh shouting, began new outrages. Among the two hundred sol­diers and servants of Herod's court were people from regions most widely separated, and every wicked miscreant in that crowd wanted, by some special, infamous act toward Jesus, to do honor to himself and his province. They carried on their brutality with violent haste and mocking shouts. Those that had received money from the Pharisees took advan­tage of the confusion to strike the sacred head of Jesus with their clubs. He looked at them with com­passion, sighed and groaned from pain. But they, in whining voices, mocked His moaning, and at every fresh outrage broke out into derisive shouts of laughter. There was not one to pity Jesus. I saw the blood running down from His head in the most pitiable manner, and three times did I see Him sink to the earth under the blows from their clubs. At the same time, I saw weeping angels hovering over Him, anointing His head. It was made known to me that these blows would have proved fatal, were it not for the divine assistance. The Philistines who, in the racecourse at Gaza, hunted blind Samson to death, were not so violent and cruel as these wretches.

But time pressed. The High Priests must soon appear in the Temple and, as they had received the assurance that all their instructions would be attended to, they made one more effort to obtain Jesus' condemnation from Herod. But he was deaf to their prayers. He still turned his thoughts toward Pilate alone, to whom he now sent back Jesus in His garment of derision.

29. Jesus Taken From Herod to Pilate

With renewed irritation, the High Priests and the enemies of Jesus made their way back with Him

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

This document is: ACE_4_0181

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