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Further to Dr Andrew Kania's article, "The tunnel vision of Pontius Pilate" (May AD2000), let us not overlook the Roman Governor's most important question.
Under Roman Law the Jewish people retained the right to stone to death a Jew deemed guilty of a capital offence under Jewish Law. Indeed, Jesus expected to die a Prophet's Death by stoning within the walls of Jerusalem (Luke 13:33).
But his worst enemies were determined to have him crucified outside the walls of the Holy City. Firstly they presented Jesus to Pilate as a "political agitator" (Luke 23:14). But the Governor could see in Jesus no threat to the Roman Empire.
Moving on, even the servant girls in Jerusalem knew that Jesus and his closest followers came from Galilee, a truth that Peter denied three times (Matthew 26:69-75). But Pilate was moved to probe more deeply. "Where do you come from?" he asked. But Jesus gave no answer (John 19:9).
Likewise, the Nazarenes all knew that Jesus was Mary's son. "But you," Jesus asked his disciples, "who do you say I am?" Moved from within by the Holy Spirit, Simon exclaimed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" (Matthew 16:16). Thereupon Jesus named and appointed him "Cephas" which was Aramaic for "Rock" (Petra in Greek; "Peter" in English) - the Rock on which he would build his Church (16:18).
We too are invited to probe more deeply into ourselves to discover and know that the living Jesus is really present within us (2 Cor.13:5). Indeed, as John Paul II affirmed in the first words of his first Encyclical Redemptor Hominis (The Redeemer of Man, 1979), Jesus Christ is also the centre of the universe and of its history. He is drawing the basic stuff or substance of all things to himself in the wake of his ascension from the beginning to the end of time. And He is saving all, except those human beings endowed with free will who choose to be lost (Jn.17:12)!
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 22 No 5 (June 2009), p. 16
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