JESUS IS CONDEMNED BY PILATE.
Behold, at last, how Pilate, after having so often declared the innocence of Jesus, declares it now anew, and protesting that he is innocent of the Blood of that Just Man: I am innocent of the blood of this just man (Matt. xxvii. 24), and after all this pronounces the sentence and condemns Him to death. Oh, what injustice –such as the world has never seen! At the very time that the judge declares the accused One to be innocent, he condemns Him. Ah, my Jesus, Thou dost not deserve death; but it is I that deserve it. Since, then, it is Thy will to make satisfaction for me, it is not Pilate, but Thy Father Himself Who justly condemns Thee to pay the penalty that was my due. I love Thee, O Eternal Father, Who dost condemn Thine innocent Son in order to liberate me who am the guilty one. I love Thee, O Eternal Son, Who dost accept of the death which I, a sinner, have deserved.
Pilate, after having pronounced sentence upon Jesus, delivers Him over to the hands of the Jews, to the end that they may do with Him whatsoever they please: He delivered Jesus up to their will. (Luke xxiii. 25). Such truly is the course of things when an innocent one is condemned. There are no limits set for the punishment, but he is left in the hands of his enemies, that they may make him suffer and die according to their own pleasure. Poor Jews! You then imprecated chastisement upon yourselves in saying: His blood be upon us, and upon our children. (Matt. xxvii. 25); and the chastisement has come: you now endure, you miserable men, and will endure, even to the end of the world, the penalty of that innocent Blood. Do Thou, O my Jesus, have mercy upon me, who by my sins have also been the cause of Thy death. But I do not wish to be obstinate, and like the Jews; I wish to bewail the evil treatment that I have given Thee, and I wish always to love Thee–always, always, always!
Behold, the unjust sentence of death upon a Cross is proclaimed in the presence of the condemned Lord. He listens to it; and, all submissive to the will of the Father, He obediently and humbly accepts it: He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, and that the death of the cross. (Phil. ii. 8). Pilate says on earth, “Let Jesus die”; and the Eternal Father, in like manner, says from Heaven, “Let My Son die”; and the Son Himself makes answer: “Behold! I obey; I accept of death, and death upon a Cross.” O my beloved Redeemer, Thou dost accept of the death that was my due. Blessed for evermore be Thy mercy: I return Thee my most grateful thanks for it. But since Thou Who art innocent dost accept of the death of the Cross for me, I, who am a sinner, accept of that death which Thou dost destine to be mine, together with all the pains that shall accompany it; and, from this time forth, I unite it to Thy death, and offer it up to Thy Eternal Father. Thou hast died for love of me, and I wish to die for love of Thee. Ah, by the merits of Thy holy death, make me die in Thy grace, and burning with holy love for Thee. Mary, my hope, be mindful of me.