Jesus Condemned to Death

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
TAN BOOKS, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895



PILATE, seeing that he gains nothing by all his attempts to liberate Jesus, but that, on the
contrary, the people are being excited by the high priests to demand that He should be crucified, at last makes up his mind to pronounce sentence, and condemn Our Saviour to the death of the Cross.

1. The people desire the death of Jesus.

  The Jews are not satisfied with the scourging of Jesus, nor yet with His crowning with thorns, nor with His having been overwhelmed with disgrace and ignominy; they require nothing less than his death, and urge Pilate to have Him crucified. You also have desired His death as often as you have sinned, and the voice of your perfidious, malicious will has uttered the cry, Crucifige, against your tender Father, Saviour and God, as loudly as ever the Jews did! Oh, what ingratitude and cruelty!

  The Jews had sought for Jesus to make Him king; they had experienced the effects of His beneficence; they had received the most signal favors from His hand, both for soul and body; and now with unexampled ingratitude they demand that He should be put to death on the Cross like a malefactor, and cannot even endure the sight of His adorable Person. Hence they desire Pilate to take Him away; as though they had said, "We cannot longer endure to behold Him, so hateful and disagreeable is His presence to us!" This is always the aim of the wicked. They have no wish to know God, or to contemplate His infinite perfections, and they will not reflect upon His benefits, goodness and love for us. If they once did so, they would have no difficulty in abstaining from sin. The sight of Jesus reminded the Jews of His miracles and beneficence, and was a reproach to them for their atrocious injustice and fearful ingratitude in desiring His death. On this account they would not look at Him whose appearance aroused remorse in their hearts. You commit sin, offend God, and persecute Jesus even unto death, because you never will pause and consider how much Jesus has loved you, nor how much He has suffered for your sake. You live in forgetfulness of God, with scarcely any knowledge of Him, immersed in vanity and idle curiosity, and absolutely unmindful of your loving Benefactor and Sovereign Good; hence it follows that you feel no horror of crying out, by your hateful sins, that He must be crucified, that He must die. And what has Jesus done to deserve such treatment at your hands?

2. Pilate condemns Jesus.

   Pilate would willingly liberate Jesus, but his courage fails him. He fears to condemn Him because the thought of His evident innocence causes him to tremble. And yet when he hears the people threaten him with the anger of Caesar, Pilate betrays his conscience, and condemns the Just Man, the Holy of Holies, to death, delivering Him up into the hands of His most furious enemies! O accursed human respect! How many times have you, O Christian, put the Son of God to death in your heart by committing sin through human respect? Not to displease a friend, not to lose the favor of a person who is agreeable to you, not to be deprived of some vain transitory honor, not to lose some wretched pleasure, you have committed the monstrous evil of offending God! And yet you knew that He was your Lord, that He had a right to be obeyed and preferred by you to all things else. You knew that He commanded you to sacrifice friends and inclinations alike to His Will and law. How is it possible that you have made more account of a creature than of God, and that, through human respect and fear of men, you have renounced the friendship of God your Father? How is it possible that you can have been more afraid of displeasing men than of outraging the infinite Majesty of God by sin? Bewail your error, and hold human respect in detestation. Pilate trembles and is filled with horror when pronouncing sentence of death against the God of life; yet all his knowledge, remorse of conscience, and the evident proofs he has of the innocence of Jesus, are not sufficient to restrain him from committing so awful a crime, and he consents to the deicide. Indulge in no feelings of anger against Pilate, but rather turn them against yourself, who, in despite of the light of faith, the assistance of grace, and remorse of conscience, have sentenced Jesus Christ to death each time that you have committed mortal sin. And ought not the mere remembrance of this to cause you to die of grief?

3. Jesus Christ accepts death.

Jesus is standing in the position of a criminal: before the tribunal of Pilate, while His sentence of death is pronounced. He hears the iniquitous decree by which He is condemned to die as a malefactor upon a Cross, and, reverently bowing down His Divine head, He submissively accepts it, without making the slightest opposition. He complains not of the wrong done Him; He appeals not to the judge who is abandoning Him to the rage of His most cruel enemies; He murmurs not at the injustice of the sentence, and He utters not one word in His own defense, but willingly and joyfully accepts death, for the glory of His Father and for love of us. Do you manifest equal obedience and submission to the orders of Providence, and to the designs of God in your regard? The sacrifices the Almighty requires of you will never be so arduous as to equal the bitterness and ignominy of the sentence of death pronounced against jesus, and submitted to by Him for love of you, and to save you from eternal death. And cannot you for the love of Jesus accept that trial, or that humiliation, which is death to your self-love and pride? Oh, how great is your ingratitude toward One who has so much loved you! Jesus hears His enemies triumphing and rejoicing at His condemnation to death, and deeply as His most holy Heart grieves over their perfidious malice, yet equally, nay, even far more, does He rejoice at beholding at hand the long sighed-for moment in which He is to sacrifice His life for our salvation. O how deeply are we indebted to our dear Redeemer! How much ought we to love Him who for love of us willingly consents to die upon a Cross! O my sweet Jesus, now at least may I begin in very truth to love Thee!

The Fruit

  Human respect, and your own passions, have caused you to become so often, like the Jews, a rebel to your God. Resolve, then, to be vigilant in mortifying your passions, and in despising all human respect, when the good pleasure of God is in question. Never forget your God, the benefits you have received from His hand, His love and His sufferings. Pious thoughts such as these will prevent you from committing sin. Pay great attention to Divine inspirations, and to remorse of conscience, for they are graces by which God proposes either to save you from consenting to sin, or to raise you up if you have fallen.


   Tears shed over the Passion of Our Lord are very pleasing to Him. Blessed Johanna of the Cross, who was filled with devotion to the sufferings of Jesus, even from her mother's womb (as was evident from the fact that, while yet a babe, she refused the breast on Fridays), was one day contemplating in spirit the streams of Blood which flowed down the sacred Body of her Crucified Redeemer, and lamenting that it was not granted to her to shed at least a portion of her blood for love of Him who, for her sake, had shed every drop of His, when an Angel appeared, and bade her be comforted, for that Our Lord regarded all the tears shed over His Passion in the light of so many drops of blood.