Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on April 20, 1973 · Page 13
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 13

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Friday, April 20, 1973
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Page 13
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14 GREELEY (C«to.) TRIBUNE Fri., April it, Ml The judge of Jesus--IV The trial of Jesus of Nazareth Editor's Note: This is the fourth Instalment of a five-part Easier scries about Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who judged Jesus. In this episode, the biblical account is projected against the historical background of Pilate's typically manipulative methods. By CKOHGK W. CORNELL Al Religion Writer From his elevated, portable, seat, the "sella," Pontius Pilate looked down on the manacled prisoner and intoned, "Are you Ihe king of the Jews?" It was Ihe formal opening of a Roman Irial in which the suspect was asked lo plead to the charge against him. In this case, Jesus of Nazareth was accused of "crimen laesae majeslatis,". injury to Ihe majesty of the Roman em- of the near-by Temple's Saddu- peror by illegally claiming to cean officialdom controlled by Rome, must have merely clogged !he eight-foot gateway, a knot of sensation-seekers egged on to shout for a hanging. "We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Cae- DRY CLEANING SPECIALS WITH THIS COUPON 8 POUNDS ·1.95 SUITS CLEANED AND PRESSED be king in territory of the empire. It was high treason. "You have said so," he replied, a common Hebrew circumlocution that may be either noncommittal or imply acknowledgement. Thus, in about 29 A.D., began sar, and saying that he himself a judicial proceeding of im- is Christ, a king," inciters of measurable consequences. It the group said. "He stirs up the has stirred emotions and con- people." Pilate leaned back with satisfaction. The high priest, Caiaphas, installed by Rome as Iroversy ever since. No trial in history has left so large an impact on human consciousness. It is the stark monument to serviceable to its rule, obvious- the memory of Pilate, deputy ly had done his job of making it of the emperor Tiberius, gov- appear the natives wanted a erner of of the imperial prov- conviction, that they even re- ince of Judea, empowered with the "iu gladdi," the right of the sword to hold the Jews in subjugation. specled Caesar, despite the actual Jewish loathing for Roman rule. It was a splendid ploy, Pilate 1.10 TRI WEST NORGE VILLAGE 1009 25th Ave. 352-9864 Address Labels for electrostatic and xerographic sheet copier machines John Doe 1303 8th ave. Greeley Colo. 8063! Save Tedious Typing of Mailing Lists Just type a master guide to run with the labels made for your machine. Free Parking "Everything for the Office" 1303 Eighth Avenue Free Parking That he set forth the specific realized, and also mutually allegation at the outset in- self-protective both for dicales his prior familiarity Caiaphas and Pilate, especially with the case and reasons for after that rebuke the governor acting on it. had received from Tiberius for But the biblical accounts also being too arbitrarily roughshod, depict a raucous "multitude" This subtler technique should clamoring for execution while a mollify the emperor, seemingly prudent governor The governor smoothed the hesitates to order it, an impres- purple hem of his toga, gazing sion easily contrived with his indifferently at the prisoner. Temple collaborators, and of "Have you no answer to make? which the accounts give evi- See how many charges they dence. bring against you." The man "The chief priests stirred up didn't reply, the crowd," Mark reports. Pilate pursed his lips, They "persuaded the multi- vaguely puzzled. Usually these tude," John writes. culprits scream out their in- Such a maneuver squares nocence, but this was a cool with the designing, yet severe one. To provide further sem- and domineering character of blance of his own impartiality, Pilate displayed in other events Pilate dangled the idea of holi- of his administration, along day amnesty -for one prisoner, with his habitual manipulations saying: lo curry favor with the emper- "Whom do you want nie lo or in pursuit of advancement, release for you, Bar-rabas, or Biblical scholars also point Jesus who is called the out that the gospels were com- Christ?" The jails bulged with piled in a subsequent period rebels and bandits, but special when Christianity was illegal, pains had been taken to trap under persecution by the em- this one on trial, and the by- pire, and to avoid fanning the slanders, by the biblical record, flames of peril, the writers were officially coached in their would tend to mitigate the Ro- answer, man prefect's role. "Bar-rabas," they shot back. In any case, the undefined That should clinch it, Pilate as"multitude" could have been sumed, definitely making it only a tiny handful of Jerusa- look as if the vox populi dis- lem's festival-swollen popu- owned this dangerously cryptic lation -- more than a million Jesus, although actually the according to ancient historian common Jews so adored him Josephus -- and even the small that his arrest had to be in se- pro-Roman claque on hand re- cret. mained outside the walled court That popular affection, shown area. by pressing throngs from the "They themselves did not en- moment Jesus entered the city, ler the praetorium," John's also had caused Pilate and his gospel says, referring to the en- cohorts to set the trial just closed, tesselated pavement after daybreak before the pub where Pilate held court. The lie was aware of it. heathen Roman compound was "It was early," John writes considered defiling to Jews. so early that the entire affai Those present, idlers and oth- - which included a delaying er factotums under influences march across town to let Henx We Wish To Take This Opportunity To Thank The People Of Greeley And Weld County for making the Grand Opening of our new store a tremendous success! The following is a list of the winners of our drawing held Saturday night, April 7th. VERTICAL UPRIGHT STEREO VELVET SOFA ELECTRONIC OVEN ELECTRIC BLANKET POSTURPEDIC MATTRESS AND BOX SPRING Lucille Schommer 4208 10th St. Greeley, Colorado 352-9356 Neil Foreman 2040 4th Ave. Greeley, Colorado 356-4316 Cherlyn Smith 1701 3rd Avenue Greeley, Colorado 356-4964 Heyman Fink, Jr. 140 23rd Ave. No. 20 Greeley, Colorado 353-9206 MADE TO MEASURE DRAPERIES 3-SPEED BIKE TIRES (4) GLASS TRACK TWIN GUARD 30 PC. 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Cooperating Temple officials such as Caiaphas, owing their positions to Pilate, evidently had rounded up employes and loiterers to stage the early- morning calls for conviction before ordinary worshippers arrived in the area. Tradition locates the praeto- rium at the Tower of Antonia, adjacent to the Temple. That Pilate himself would be waiting at such an early hour to pass judgment on the case strongly demonstrates his engineering of it. Also, the Temple priests would hardly have been there on their busiest Passover day except under compulsion. It was Pilate's timetable. "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" he put the question, knowing the answer before it came back. "Let him be crucified." As the heartless game continued, a clerical "apparitore" of the court handed Pilate a note. "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream." It came from his wife, Procula. The governor scowled, annoyed at her introspective nature, investing mere dreams with the ominous reality of revelations. She had a perverse religious streak, even considering the Jewish idea of one divinity more sensible than Rome's multiplicity of gods. Pilate had no use for either, except for the professional expedience of burning incense to Tiberius. Then he recalled how Calpurnia, wife of Julius Caesar, warned him because of a dream not to go to the forum on the day of his assassination. Discomfited, Pilate stood up and headed into his adjacent office, signalling the guards to bring the prisoner. There in the privacy of his curtained chamber, behind the "velum" door hanging, he gave play to momentary curiosity. "What have you done?" Jesus, eyeing him levelly despite his bruises and a sleepless night of interrogation, said, "My kingship is not of this world. If my kingship were of (his world, my servants would fight." This nettled Pilate, and he re- 'sumed his condescending tone, "So you are a king?" Irony flickered in Jesus' .gaze. "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Iruth." Pilate arched his brows, snorting, "What is truth?" The interview was over. He snapped his "vitus" staff on the table and directed the guards to scourge the prisoner. In the Roman "flagellatio," condemned prisoners were flogged with a whip tipped with bone and metal before crucifixion. The troops took their time it it; and afterward draped Jean with a scarlet sagam, a woven crown of thorns and put t reed in his hand for a mock : scepter. "Hail, King of the Jews! they taunted, laughing. The outcome was settled, but Pilate allowed some final touches to the act after the lac erated prisoner was shoved back in front of the tribunal. "Here is the man," the governor said cynically of the weakened, bleeding Jesus. "I find no crime.in him." The troopers chuckled. The crowd reacted with mechanical deference to Rome. "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar." It was a line fit for Tiberius himself. Pilate, jealous of his acceptance into the emperor's intimate circle of official friends as "amici Caesaris," retaliated by goading his trained seals, "Shall I crucify your King?" "Crucify him! ... We have no king but Caesar." It was utterly absurd, but neatly managed politics. The Jews hated Roman domination, regarded the empire as licentious, sensualist, tyrannical, abhorred its state gods, plotted against its tax tribute, mounted unceasing revolts against it, hurled their daily maledictions whenever they passed the Roman garrison of Antonia. ' No place on earth was Ihe empire so implacably despised. "To the Jews all things are profane that we hold dear," wrote the ancienl Roman historian Tacitus. Their revered Torah, in Deuteronomy 17:15, decreed: "You must not put a foreigner over you." To them Ihis was holy ground, God's ground, and Rome's alien rule polluted it. However, Pilate needed his outward show of support to condemn Jesus, who gripped Ihe hearts and hopes of so many ordinary Jews, and the governor had the power to line up his chorus. Pilate, savoring his supremacy over the situation, offered a final bit of theatrics. Taking a bowl of water, he rinsed his hands in it, saying, "I am innocent of this, man's blood." But in the end only he could render the verdict. He could have acquitted Jesus, and by Ihe record it was never his nature to accede to popular demands. But in this case he needed a pretense of it. Now, after the spectacle, he OUt the Official qul cauwun poenae jW»c«. upecifying the convicted man» offense and reason for hn punishment. · ' The inscription read, "me King of the Jews.'Mn Roman eyes, as Pilate judged it, Jesus Ihreatened the mightiand suzerainty of Caesar, an aspiring "king" in treason to the; empire. He stirred so much life in : the poor, so much courage in 'the persecuted, so much health and gladness in Ihe ordinary people of the land that he was deemed unsafe to the masters of the world. . The chief priests'complained, "Do not write 'The King of Ihe .lews,' but 'This man said, I am King of Ihe Jews.'" Pilate snappqd, "What I have, written, I have written." , He pointed his "vitus" staff at the prisoner, and with military crispness, gave Ihe order, lo the execution delail. "Cruc-! ify him," ' Tomorrow; The Governor's. Afternoon. , In 1492 Christopher Columbus reportedly discovered West Indies natives wearing popcorn' decorations like corsages. 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