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pilatus

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									According to the canonical Christian Gospels, Pilate presided at the trial of Jesus and, despite stating that
he personally found him not guilty of a crime meriting death, handed him over to crucifixion. Pilate is thus
a pivotal character in the New Testament accounts of Jesus.

According to the New Testament, Jesus was brought to Pilate by the Sanhedrin, who had arrested Jesus
and questioned him themselves. The Sanhedrin had, according to the Gospels, only been given answers
by Jesus that they considered blasphemous pursuant to Mosaic law, which was unlikely to be deemed a
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capital offense by Pilate interpreting Roman law. The Gospel of Luke records that members of the
Sanhedrin then took Jesus before Pilate where they accused him of sedition against Rome by opposing
the payment of taxes to Caesar and calling himself a king. Fomenting tax resistance was a capital
          [21]
offense. Pilate was responsible for imperial tax collections in Judaea. Jesus had asked the tax collector
Levi, at work in his tax booth in Capernaum, to quit his post. Jesus also appears to have influenced
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Zacchaeus, "a chief tax collector" in Jericho, which is in Pilate's tax jurisdiction, to resign. Pilate's main
question to Jesus was whether he considered himself to be the King of the Jews in an attempt to assess
him as a potential political threat. Mark in theNIV translation states: "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked
Pilate. "It is as you say", Jesus replied. However, quite a number of other translations render Jesus' reply
as variations of the phrase: "Thou sayest it."(King James Version, Mark 15:2); "So you say". (Good News
Bible, Mark 15:2). Whatever degree of confirmation modern interpreters would derive from this answer of
Jesus, according to the New Testament, it was not enough for Pilate to view Jesus as a real political
threat. The chief priests began hurling accusations toward Jesus, yet he remained silent. Pilate asked him
why he did not respond to the many charges, and Jesus remained silent, so Pilate was "amazed".

Pilate appears to have been reluctant to allow the crucifixion of Jesus, finding no fault with him. According
to Matthew 27:19, even Pilate's wife spoke to him on Jesus' behalf. It was the custom of the Roman
governor to release one prisoner at Passover. Accounts in the gospels say that Pilate brought
out Barabbas, identified by Matthew as a "notorious prisoner" and by Mark as a murderer, and told the
crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus as per the custom, in the hopes of getting them to
request the release of Jesus. However, the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas and said of Jesus,
"Crucify him!" In Matthew, Pilate responds, "Why? What evil has he done?" The crowd continued
shouting, "Crucify him!"

Pilate ordered a sign posted above Jesus on the cross stating "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews"
to give public notice of the legal charge against him for his crucifixion. The chief priests protested that the
public charge on the sign should read that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Pilate refused to change
the posted charge, saying "What I have written, I have written." This may have been to emphasize
Rome's supremacy in crucifying a Jewish king; it is likely, though, that Pilate was quite irritated by the fact
that the Jewish leaders had used him as a marionette and thus compelled him to sentence Jesus to death
contrary to his own will.

The Gospel of Luke also reports that such questions were asked of Jesus; in Luke's case it being the
priests that repeatedly accused him, though Luke states that Jesus remained silent to such inquisition,
causing Pilate to hand Jesus over to the jurisdiction (Galilee) of Herod Antipas. Although initially excited
with curiosity at meeting Jesus, of whom he had heard much, Herod (according to Luke) ended up
mocking Jesus and so sent him back to Pilate. This intermediate episode with Herod is not reported by
the other Gospels, which appear to present a continuous and singular trial in front of Pilate. Luke,
however, made further reference to this involvement of Herod along with Pilate in Jesus' execution and
linked it with the prophecy about the Messianic King found in Psalm 2, as we can read in Luke's other
book, Acts 4:24–28. This explains why he counted this episode important.

Unlike the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John gives more detail about that dialogue taking place
between Jesus and Pilate. In John, Jesus seems to confirm the fact of his kingship, although immediately
explaining, that "[his] kingdom [was] not of this world"; of far greater importance for the followers of Christ
is his own definition of the goal of his ministry on earth at the time. According to Jesus, as we find it
written in John 18:37, Jesus thus describes his mission: "[I] came into the world...to bear witness to the
truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to [my] voice", to which Pilate famously replied, "What is
truth?" (John 18:38)...

Nikolai Ge, Christ and Pilate ("What is truth?"), 1890.

Whatever it be that some modern critics want to deduce from those differences, the end result was the
same for Jesus and Pilate, as it was in all the other three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). In the same
chapter of John 18 verse 38 (King James Version, compare with other versions) the conclusion Pilate
made from this interrogation: "I find in him no fault at all".

Pilate agrees to condemn Jesus to crucifixion, after the Jewish leaders explained to him that Jesus
presented a threat to Roman occupation through his claim to the throne of King David as King of Israel in
the royal line of David. The crowd in Pilate's courtyard, according to the Synoptics, had been coached by
the Pharisees and Sadducees to shout against Jesus.The Gospel of Matthew adds that before
condemning Jesus to death, Pilate washes his hands with water in front of the crowd, saying, "I am
innocent of this man's blood; you will see."

								
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