THE TRIAL – Jerusalem
Cornelius angrily shouted, “ENOUGH!” Then he and Cestus pushed and tossed those men away from him. “What is going on here?! This man was suppose to be flogged. Not maimed close to death!”
Bragga, who was in the shadows watching it all, came forward. “Cornelius… Cornelius, why are you upset? He is just another Jew. The men were just having a little fun.”
Cornelius was closely examining the crown of thorns and saw no way to just pull it off without causing more trauma.
“Well, bring the prisoner top side. The Governor is waiting,” Bragga ordered. As soldiers dragged Jesus to his feet, Cornelius was about to follow when Bragga stopped him. “You are ordered by Tribune Marcianus not to be present.”
Cornelius so wanted to be there and plead more with Governor. They instead raced to the Northwest tower where they can view the proceedings from a side narrow vertical aperture called an arrow slit. They arrived just they were bringing out Jesus and the other prisoner Barabbas. When Pilate saw Jesus’ grisly condition, he cast his eyes toward Bragga in disgust. All Bragga did was shrug.
The crowd was murmuring but Cornelius could not tell whether they were angry or not. Pilate stood and gestured to Jesus.
“You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. So, I had him flogged.”
The crowd, coaxed by the priests, were shouting back their protest. The High Priest shouted that this man declared himself king which is against Roman Law. Others chanted out that there is no other king but Caesar. Some shouted out, ‘If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.’ Some of the Jewish leadership started to threaten that the Senate will hear of this. Cornelius could tell that Pilate was wavering to their threats. He raised his hand for silence.
“It is in the tradition that a prisoner will be released on the Passover. Here is Jesus of Nazareth who you say called himself the King of the Jews. There is Barabbas, a known brigand and murderer…”
Before he could finish, the crowd started to chant, ‘crucify him and release Barabbas!’
Pilate pleaded, “But this man is with no guilt. I cannot have his blood on me.”
The priests and the crowd called out, ‘let his blood be on us… crucify him! crucify him!’
Pilate shook his head in resignation. His servant brought to him a basin and a decanter. The servant poured the water as Pilate washed his hands. He announces out to the crowd, “I wash my hands of this.” He gave orders to hand Jesus over for execution and have Barabbas released.
Cornelius softly said to Cestus, “I have made a decision… I am going to save him from the cross.”
The story continues on in my next post.
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