Consider first, how Pilate going out to inquire what accusation they brought against our Saviour, these children of iniquity made no scruple of laying many notorious untruths to his charge; such as raising seditions, stirring up the people to rebellion, forbidding tribute to be paid to the emperor, and treasonably giving himself out for the king of the Jews. Under all these wicked slanders, that tended to nothing less than procuring his condemnation to the worst of deaths, our Lord still showed the same peace and tranquillity of soul, and still kept silence to the great astonishment of the governor. Admirable lessons for Christians! to learn to possess their souls at least in patience,
if they cannot be wholly silent, under calumnies and detractions, and to learn that calmness and meekness will be a better proof and defence of their innocence than passion and rage, or returning injury for injury. We see here that Pilate himself, though otherwise a wicked man, was so far from interpreting our Saviour’s silence joined with that tranquillity of soul for an acknowledgment of his guilt, that he concluded it to be an argument of his innocence, and clearly perceived in the Jews’ way of acting that they were carried on by envy and passion, and not by zeal for justice; and therefore, after inquiring of our Lord concerning his being King, and understanding from him that his kingdom was not of this world, and therefore no way prejudicial to Caesar’s authority, he declared himself fully satisfied, and sought to discharge him.
Consider 2ndly, how the Jews still urging to have our Lord condemned, Pilate, to get rid of their importunity, sends him away to Herod king of Galilee, as one of his subjects, and refers his cause to him. Follow thy Saviour, O my soul, in this new stage, and admire the serenity of his countenance and the peace of his soul whilst he is hurried through the streets in the midst of an insulting mob, and loaded with reproaches and injuries. See how he is brought in bonds before that prince attended by the whole council, who there renew all their false accusations against him, whilst Herod, who is overjoyed to see him, in hopes of being eyewitness of some miracle, puts a thousand idle questions to him. But our Lord is silent still, and neither takes any notice of the falsities laid to his charge by his accusers nor seeks to gratify the vain curiosity of Herod, or to do any thing that might incline him to set him at liberty. No, my soul, thy Saviour has too great a love for thee to work a miracle to deliver himself from that death which he so gladly embraces as the only means of giving thee life. Blessed by all creatures be his goodness for ever!
Consider 3rdly, how Herod, provoked by our Lord not consenting to gratifying his inclinations of seeing a miracle, revenges himself on him by treating him with mockery and scorn, exposes him to the scoffs of all his soldiers, orders him to be clothed in contempt with a white garment, as with a fool’s coat, or as a mock king; and in this garb sends him back to Pilate, attended as before by the priests and scribes and an insulting rabble, who take fresh occasion of abusing him on account of his disgraceful habit. See here, my soul, with astonishment, the eternal Wisdom of the Father treated by the world as a fool; see the great King of Heaven and earth abused as a mock king, and an idle pretender to royalty. And learn from hence not to be solicitous about the judgment of the world, nor to repine if they charge thee with folly; for why should’st thou expect better treatment than thy Lord? O remember that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; and that what the world censures as foolishness, is indeed true wisdom. Remember that ‘Whosover will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God,’ James iv. 4.
Conclude to adhere to thy Lord, in the midst of all his reproaches and sufferings; to embrace his wisdom hidden under the fool’s coat, which the world had flung over it, and ever to acknowledge him for the true king of thy heart. O beg that his kingdom may be established there, and the reign of sin be totally abolished.
— Meditation by Bishop Challoner
(Image of Pilate courtesy of freebibleimages)