United against Jesus

Apart from the cold calculation with which men responded to the holiest Being that ever walked on earth, what is most disquieting about the whole account of the end is the sudden unanimousness of Jesus’ enemies, diabolical antithesis of the peace and harmony of God’s kingdom. Pharisee and Sadducee are inherent foes, who spontaneously oppose each other on every issue. Yet on this they join hands. . . . Pharisees and Romans are cleft by an implacable hatred. For the defenders of heaven’s sacred cause, the conquerors are the enemies of God and his Chosen People: idolators, blasphemers, untouchables. In their eyes the emperor, who claims divine dignity, is the embodiment of all abomination and sacrilege; yet during the trial they do not hesitate to remind Pilate of his duties to Caesar, and to use the Roman law for their own ends. To this hour, Pilate and Herod have been enemies: Pilate is hated as the representative of the power that has crushed Herod’s sovereignty; Herod is for Pilate just another little oriental despot-troublemaker. Yet the Procurator eagerly seizes the opportunity to make a polite gesture. The intention is recognized and appreciated, and in the diplomatic exchange that takes place over the blood of Christ, the two become friends.

It is frightening to witness this hate-torn world suddenly united for one brief hour, against Jesus.