For the rest of the online retreat, we will focus on only one Good Friday event: Jesus before Pontius Pilate, as recounted in the Gospel according to John.
It is a lengthy account, but rich in meaning, and often because of everything else that happens on Good Friday, not given the attention it deserves.
We will spend our time unwrapping the messages it might have for us.
Read the passage slowly and prayerfully, allowing the music to pace your reading. The four parts are clearly indicated in the text, so feel free to pause after each part to recall the events and their significance.
Use your imagination to be present at the scene. Pay attention to the main characters: Jesus, Pilate, and Jesus’ accusers, the Jewish leaders.
Was there a particular line or detail in the story that struck you? Why?
Feel free to share your answer in the Leave A Reply section below.
93 replies on “STORY IN FOUR PARTS”
Pilate succumbed to the people’s wishes despite knowing it is wrong. So many times we also do this to be popular and liked by many. We forget that the only approval that really matters is the Lord’s.
The theme of doing enough but not doing what is right.
“You would have no power over me unless it have been given you from above.”
Pilate was not really aware of the “truth” that Jesus’ kingship was not in this world and He belongs to His Father in heaven. Truly, no one during that first Good Friday can save Him from being crucified, unless otherwise, the Holy Father granted the power to avert his suffering on the cross.
the part where Pilate feels afraid… tries to free Jesus because he finds him innocent…but when the people were not happy, he did not do it anyway.
I feel many people are like this. They do not stand up for what they believe is right because ‘iwas gulo’.
“Do you not know that I have the power to release you and the power to crucify you?” We are so much in love with power. It boosts our ego. I myself have that tendency to want or cling to it.
We are all like Pilate. Even if we know in our hearts what feels and seems wrong still we give in to peer pressure or to the status quo because we want to fit in. When confronted with temptation we know it will lead to sin and regret and shame yet we give in because we see everyone else is doing it. We lack conviction and self control. Our emotions can get the best of us. That’s why it is so important to pray for the Lord to strengthen and guide us. ??❤️
“When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid.”
Jesus knew Pilate had no ppwer over him as long as his power came from earthly men. Pilate had no real power to crucify or set him free bec the was a mere follower of the people’s will. He was a pleaser and was attached to his stature.
Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.
Am I of the truth?
…but my kingship is not of this world…
this, for me, means two words:
consolation & hope
Consolation (for all who are suffering in this world)
Hope (for eternal life in His everlasting Kingdom)
I came to bear witness to the truth
I am.disturbed about the pressure put on Pilate. How he caved into it to crucify a man he thought was innocent.
Many times we too are pressured to conform to what others think, to what the world says is normal, even if deep inside we think it wrong. It takes a deep strength and conviction to stand by what we know is true.
Sometime, we too, pressure others.
Lord, why did you stay silent? Couldn’t you also have given Pilate more reason to think you innocent and let you go? Why didn’t you when try?
“What is Truth?”
Oftentimes, we already see it in feont of us, but still we deny it or ignore the truth
Lord, grant me the wisdom to know the truth, and the courage to defend it.
You would have no power over unless it has been given you above
“My kingship is not of this world. You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above.”
“Everyone of the truth hears my voice…”
Lord, rule my life and be the King of my soul.
Humanity bullies the innocent. At times we are victims and at most times we are the bullies. We must stand for what is right and true. Moments that we are victims like Jesus, we should not lose hope..because of Gods promise of a Resurrection–the Heavenly Kingdom where the Spirit has eternal life–it is the most important truth.
The fact that those handing Jesus over to Pilate refused to enter the praetorium into order to not defile themselves for the Passover.
“What is truth?”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him”
Pilate was indecisive to the point of handling Jesus to death even though he knew Jesus was innocent.
Where are you from?
What is the truth?
Jesus’ response was silence.
Knowing the truth nothing but the truth one’s need not to be ashame but to be like Jesus. I am called to be firm to what I believe is correct and true.
Where was Mary during this moment?
Where were the women of Jerusalem who ministered to him before?
Where was I?
Did I fail HIm when I did not show up to protest? Did He see me cowering in fear along with the rest who also feared for their lives?
Did I fail HIM?
“What is truth?” remains unanswered.
I was strucked by the accusation of the leaders of the jews and the people. I couldn’t imagine the feeling when they’re the one pushing to crucify Jesus. Punishing an innocent person. And the idea of pilate transfering the responsibility of his decision if he will crucify Jesus or not to the people…
It was really unfair for Jesus to be crucified and put to death by His people but He accepted it whole-heartedly.
“Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice”
It is sad that many of us know the truth but refuses to hear Jesus voice…. Like Pilate we let ourselves be influenced by what the world says even if we know it is not the truth.
“He who has delivered me to you has the greater sin.”
Pilate was about to do the “right” thing — release Jesus as justice would have called it, seeing that He committed no crime — but his fear of being judged by the Jews as “someone against Caesar” took the better of him.
Like Pilate, there are so many times when I had the capacity and prompting to do the right thing, yet I fail to do so for the fear of being judged and feeling left out. It’s a constant struggle.
“With great powers, comes great responsibility”.
Then he handed him over to be crucified.
How many times have we passed on the problem??? To this that we are innocent of crime just because it was not our fault in the first place? How many times have we been accessory to crimes?
Do you not know that I have the power to release or crucify you.. And Jesus answered you have that power because it was given to you from above… Jesus knew very well that He could have really stopped His crucifixion but He did not do it because He knew he had yo pay ransom for our sins!
You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and power to crucify you? Jusus answered him, You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above.
This passage only shows that Jesus has a full confidence and determine to accomplish his mission even if he has an oppurtunity to defend himself. He knows that it is the will of the God Father that Jesus is now subject to Pilate.
“You have no power over me unless it had been given you from above” this line struck me because I feel this applies to all leaders or people with power. The acknowledgement that power comes from above with make leaders humble and accountable.
Jesus peaceful and centered in the assurance of who he is.
Pilate weak and confused.
The Jews rooted their evil intent toward Jesus.
May God our Father strengthen me to withstand my trials with grace and dignity and may the Holy Spirit console me and inspire me to Love Jesus in my heart and in others always.
I was struck by the hypocrisy of those who handed Jesus over to Pilate. They did not enter the praetorium in order to keep clean. Yet, their hearts were full of evil. I remember how it is in the corporate world, when those who wish to keep themselves in power would resort to laws/company policies and technicalities to eliminate those they view as a threat.
I was also struck by Pilate’s fear. I interpreted it as him realizing he was also going to be used as a pawn or a tool by Jesus’ enemies. He knew Jesus was innocent, yet in the end, he did nothing. In a way, he was also bullied into doing what was against his conscience.
Because Pilate is weak and scared that if he did follow the voice of the people clamoring that He is the Son of God and the King of the Jews, to crucify him, he will be in deep trouble with Caesar … Jesus death has to happen to fulfill the scripture .. otherwise we will not have this faith that there is GOD.
it was the scenario wherein the religious leaders avoided to step inside the praetorium in order not to be considered unclean for the upcoming Passover, that caught my attention… they observe the rubrics of their faith, however they are already committing a much unclean action by putting an innocent, blameless Jesus to death. this same actions of showing outward actions, rubrics of our faith, yet filled of defilement, even unbelief and doubt inside, which is also happening in me…
Pilate was not able to do what was the most right and just thing to do. The external pressure from the crowd but mostly the inner fear of the consequences was too much for him to bear. He clamped down on his impartial judgement of Jesus’ innocence and shut down that door of compassion in his heart.
How often have I found myself in that same situation? Too often, I reckon.
“Then he handed him over to them to be crucified”
This resonated with me. It is hard to be and do good. I am often judgmental and reject others in the little things.
I think I have not done any grand major sins and have deluded myself that hey maybe I am not sinful.
But I am now very much aware of the hurtful things I have done to others and myself – and those I think are other forms of sins too.
“My kingship is not of this world.”
These are powerful words to hold on to amidst the sad realities of our world now. . . when we sometimes feel God’s indifference amidst attacks on the Catholic Church by our leaders.
The jews were so concerned about being defiled and unable to eat the passover meal. They did not realize that they themselves have defiled themselves with their evil intent. This is where the law and the what is in your heart differs.
When Jesus says ‘my kingship is not of this world’, he reminds us that we aren’t supposed to measure his kingship using the usual specifications.
We should, however, make his kingship of this world, by living our lives as he suggested: filled with compassion and love, guardians of the truth.
No reply from Jesus to Pilate’s query on where is he from. Maybe, to Jesus, it was an irrelevant question. Or maybe, Jesus was just waiting for Pilate’s self-disclosure of his insecuruty.
When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”. No answer is given and Pilate faces the crowd to say he does not find any crime. This part struck me most as it tells me that we often know the truth and yet choose what is convenient. Pilate knows that Jesus did not commit any crime but, in the end, had him crucified to satisfy the chief priests and retain his power.
You have no power over me unless it was given from above…
It’s amazing how Jesus has managed to remain calm and composed amidst the interrogation and false accusation… or how submissive he was to the Will of God even though He first asked if the cup of suffering could pass him. His praying at the Garden of Gethsemane truly strengthened Him.
“It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” Yet, they were looking for a way to “lawfully” kill Jesus.
How many times this has played out in our lives. How we look for ways to circumvent the law of God, how we look for someone else to blame except for ourselves, how we don’t stand up for what is right, but instead feel relieved that we are not the victims.
“Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice”. That explains why in our country, you see a lot of people “deaf to God’s messages”. They are too wrapped up in all their lies that “mob rule” is the norm nowadays with everyone too scared to speak the truth or stand up against falsehoods and evil deeds. Wish we could all be brave like Jesus was rather than being cowards like Pilate
So often in my life I feel like Pilate, I believe in Jesus my savior and I want to hold on to his Word every moment of every day, but when I go out to the world (work, socials, family), worldly concerns take hold of my whole being. Then at night, I go back to Jesus realizing the error of my ways during the day and resolve to do better. Then the next day the cycle just continues 🙁
Pilate was a very powerful bystander in a bullying situation.
Why is it possible that there is so much hate in the world that it seems easy to destroy a life? There is so much judgment and criticism even if one does not know the whole story. Why does being hateful seem easier and more tempting to be than to choose to be kind?
Because the Devil makes you do it and if you continue to do it day after day .. then he becomes a knowledge that satan is picking up strength .. so we need to be strong in our faith, to do good and what is right and follow the teachings of CHRIST, that is the only way to defeat ( satan- in small letters) .. he needs to be squash .. Let us all be prayerful / simply follow the 10 commandments …
“My kingship is not of this world”
Not then, not now.
“If my kingship were of this world , my servants would fight…”
What about now ? Do we fight for Him? And how?
What strike me most is how extraordinarily calm Jesus was in all of this chaos, and how the Jew religious elders points to Pilate to do the dirty work on their behalf.
When Jesus answered to Pilate after he told Jesus that he had the power to release him, but Jesus answered you would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above. He could’ve pleaded his case to Pilate but instead He let the Lord’s will be done. Complete surrender to His will because only God truly has the power over anyone.
The Jews said,”We have no king but Caesar! “. They wanted so much to kill Jesus that they betrayed their religious and political loyalty. They hated the Romans because they were not God’s chosen people (therefore unclean and undeserving) and resent them for being pagans ruling over them, and yet they wanted to take their side in order to use them to get rid of Jesus. The Jews’ hatred and jealousy for Jesus made them forget who they were. When we are angry with someone and say or do something that is hurting him or her, we forget God’s love for us and who we are: Christ’s followers and God’s children.
“What is truth?”
Indeed, whenever we are confused, when we don’t know the Truth, we fail to make wise and good decisions.
Every time you are in doubt to make a decision, pray that GOD will help you discern what it is you need to do and HE will guide you make the right one .
Jesus said, “for this I come to the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth, hears my voice.”
“Every one who is of the truth, hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?”
Pilate was stalling and he was afraid. I don’t know why. Maybe he saw through Jesus’ divinity.
“Everyone who is of the truth, hears my voice.”
Pilate knew that Christ was innocent and had attempted to release him for he found him guiltless, but let himself be influenced by the high priests. I think this is something that happens to us one too many times. We allow the drowning of our own truths, the truth that comes from the Most High because of what society tells us on who we should be or what we should do.
I was like Pilate many times in life choosing the safe way out to protect myself and my interests; choosing the easiest way out, the least time consuming so that I can preoccupy myself only with the things I enjoy doing; to maximize the use of MY personal time.
I was like the crowd at times favoring the popular position even if it was not the TRUTH and afraid to be the lone dissenter. I justify my lack of action by convincing myself that I cannot do much because I am alone, a minority, a single voice. I make decisions based on logic- a violation of the law deserves punishment. I do not decide based on what my heart feels and based on what Jesus would do.
I was not like Jesus many times. I chose to sidestep the TRUTH for many personal and often self-serving reasons. I’m so afraid to step out of my comfort zone.
…Jesus, I’m so sorry. I will do better next time. Give me the grace to be more like you…
God stood by His word of dying for us.He was given the option but chose to stay.the same thing with the pilate,He chose to do what was expected of him.Not what he would have thought was right.
Both sides claim to (the Jewish officials and Pilate) “wash their hands” off the matter;
For the Jews, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death,” cited in John 18:31
For Pilate, “Take him yourselves and crucify him…” cited in John 19:6
No party wanted to claim responsibility for Jesus’ death. I can relate, all of us can relate to an extent in our own lives.
It is difficult to stand alone against a crowd even if you speak the truth. There are times I’d rather be silent than speak like the mob who knows nothing of the truth. It is painful but I don’t always have the courage. I choose my battles. I choose the ones that I can win. Sad but true. I guess this is my agony that I feel I may not fully understand the agony of the Lord. But I can understand what agony, rejection and humiliation means.
Jesus sets an example of standing up to one’s principles no matter how unpopular it may be. As others have said, it is so easy to bend to the will of others. Pilate could have freed Jesus by standing up to the crowd. Jesus could have helped Pilate release Him by denying the charges. Yet Jesus kept to his position.
Lord, give me the strength to be more faithful to your teachings. And, to live & act to those teachings even it is not the popular view.
I’m struck by the Jewish Leaders “conviction” to make Jesus suffer and lead Him to His death, but wanted “someone” else to do the dirty job (Pilate) of pronouncing Jesus’ death sentence. They needed a scapegoat.
But we also find Pilate terrified by the turn of events. He too would like to give a wise and just decision but he was afraid of the people around Him yet He was fearful of sentencing an “innocent man” to die.
I also find myself in these situations where choosing between a popular-comfortable demand and a just cause (though unpopular and inconvenient). At times, I’m more inclined to side with convenience; which turns out to be an unwise choice.
I’m equally struck with Jesus’ responses to Pilate. He does not answer the questions directly but would make Pilate and His listeners “think through”. For one who is so used to “direct responses”, Jesus’ answers come up as annoying and “beating around the bush”. But if we come to think of His answers on a more reflective level, his responses provoked us to probe deeper. Jesus makes us read between the lines and his answers even “disarms” us.
Besides, when God answers us, He doesn’t give us easy answers to deal with… God makes us wonder and “walks through our own questions with more questions” since he wants us to delve and confront the deeper questions of Life than what is superficial, evident, and obvious.
“I find no crime in Him.” And yet Pilate did not stand by Jesus. How often do we find ourselves in Pilate’s shoes. There are instances when we know the right thing to do but we get swayed by what other people say and think is right. Jesus stands alone. As do people who stand by what they believe is right despite the popular opinion. But what is the truth? “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
I’m like Pilate. I too have people I lead. But sometimes my moral decisions are based on the majority and not what is suppose to be spiritually correct
“You say that I am king. For this I was born and got this I came into this world”…..gives my humanity a touch of divinity or royalty because a King not of this world has come to join me. It gives a feeling that I am loved.
The Jews said to Pilate “It is not lawful for us to put a man to death.” But they also claimed “We have a law and by that law, he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” I wonder about this (confusing) state of legal affairs among the Jews at the time. Jesus’s descent into humanity was at such a time and such a state of legal affairs. The more I appreciate the plan of divine emptying and humility – from a state of divine cosmic and spiritual orderliness to a state of imperfect justice.
I am like the Jews when I pass judgment on people based on my personal biases. When I don’t seek the truth for myself, but rather seek out those who have the same biases and opinions to strengthen my belief that I am right.
I am like Pilate when I do not do the right thing even when I know it, out of fear of what others will think of me.
I have the same weaknesses. I pray that the Lord will help me to be more loving, generous and forgiving, as well as to give me strength and courage to do the right things even if they are not what the majority would do.
Pilate wanted Jesus to be acquitted so he repeatedly dodged making a decision until the people brought out the name “Caesar”. He was convinced of Jesus’ innocence but failed to make stand on his belief because of worldly concerns.
In many ways, I find myself like Pilate.
What struck me (or have always struck me) the most was Jesus’ silence and humility amidst the humiliation and torture he got. He is the Son of God but he allowed himself to be treated that way. He could easily wipe those people out with a snap.of a finger but he chose not to do anything and just accept every blow, every pain…Everytime I complain about my personal suffering, i always think of Jesus…his simple life and his suffering …this is how i should also live my life, i should persist ’til the end so i can receive my real reward in heaven.
While I was reading the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, my eyes happened to stray to the other portion of John’s Gospel where he recounted the prayer of Jesus to his Father. My eyes fell upon John 17: 24, “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they may also be with me…” Jesus considers me as a gift by His Father and He values me so much that He wishes that I may always be where He is. I was overcome by a deep sense of confusion and shame. Me, a gift to the Lord?? He does not deserve someone like me who has failed him repeatedly, utterly. Why would He see me as gift? Why does He value me so much? Tears of shame welled out of my eyes. I was sobbing because Jesus deserves someone better. Lord, I am very, very sorry. There have been so many times when my humanity proves to be too much for me to carry. Forgive me!
I find myself in the person of Pilate who plays safe or compromises truth or doing the right thing to avoid personal inconvenience.
Dear Jesus, please forgive me and give me the grace to be like you, to remain faithful to God in the midst of inconvenience and persecution. Make me your living presence in my world today. Amen.
It’s trivial that Jesus’ accusers said in the beginning that it’s not lawful for them to put anyone to death, but ended up dictating Pilate to crucify Him because in their law, He ought to die because He has made Himself the Son of God.
Clearly, they were going against the law that they were afraid to break. They needed someone to be responsible of Jesus’ death, and in this case, it was Pilate.
Even if Pilate did not find any crime in Jesus (he stated this for a number of times), he ended up doing what the Jews wanted. He was afraid not to be labeled as Caesar’s friend because only Caesar should be the King of their time, not any other man who proclaims to have a kingdom not of this world.
Indeed, they who delivered Him to Pilate had the greater sin.
The same is true for us. It’s easier to pass on the responsibility to other people. We don’t like to be hassled in any way. When there is trouble or confict, we avoid it. The other is always to be blamed, when in reality, we are also guilty. We like to come clean, perfect and blameless, even if deep down our hearts, our intentions are impure and cause other people harm.
You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above
I am called to be another Christ, who has taught the world to love one another. How am I going to teach? Jesus said not by word but by deeds. This word is challenging me.
What has happened is central to my faith. I embrace Christ’s suffering, knowing that he went through it for me, for each and every one of us.
My kingship is not of this world. You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above. The first would have satisfied Pilate if he listened with his heart, that He did not a have a desire to be a king of this world. The second, the truth cannot be toppled by worldly authority.
What has happened is central to our faith. I am embrace Christ’s suffering, knowing that he went through it for each and every one of us.
One must have one’s own conviction and belief and not succumb to mob rule. It’s not about making popular decisions but doing what one believes to be right even if unpopular.
What is truth? If a man, according to Nietzsche, may skin himself seventy times seven, he still cannot say that he has reached his true self. Truth has become multivariegated, multilayered that it is impossible to plumb the depths of debris to grasp at truth. What then?
Only with God’s grace can we empty ourselves of these layers of lies and artificialities. This is my prayer this Good Friday. Lord, what are these that I should empty myself of. Entitlements? Materialism? Egoism? How do I begin? Teach me, Lord, how to go about emptying myself so that I may find the Truth, that is You. Amen.
Pilate was torn between doing the right thing which would cost his political career and the wrong which would earn him political points. I find myself in the same dilemma for most of the time but experience would tell me that there is more cost to doing the wrong.
Jesus kept silent and did not do much to convince those who have judged him before hand. I think this is the best way. There is nothing one can say or do that would change how others have prejudged you.
It is all too easy to give in to the mob. As seen then. As seen now.
What struck me was Pilate’s repeated statements that he Foundation nothing wrong in Jesus. However, this was NOT enough for him to do more to save Him.
I see this also in my life. To recognize right and wrong yet not do enough to do the correct thing. And the analogy goes further, that not doing the right thing has severe effects.
Even if Pilate knew the right thing to do, he did what is popular to the people. If we allow our leaders to do the same, it can spell destruction.
“What is truth?”
Like Pilate, we don’t see it even if its in front of us because of our “position and power, of call of convenience. Like the Jewish leaders, we reject, resent and abandon it out of fear, envy and pride.