I don't know what I was trying to accomplish, when I sent Jesus out to the crowd. He was still wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe the soldiers had put on him. They meant it to make fun of him. May I thought when the people saw him, they would feel sorry for him, think that he had bee punished enough. He had leaned his lesson. But that's not what happened. Instead, they were like people who had tasted blood, and who wanted more. "Crucify him! Crucify him!" they shouted. Everything I did just made it worse. And honestly, for one of the first times in my life, I was afraid.
I am in charge here. My job is to keep the peace -- the Roman peace. And I am good at it. I'm good at it because I don't let personal feelings introduce on my judgments. I can't afford to feel sorry for any prisoner that comes to me. I can't afford to second-guess my decisions. I need to act decisively, without emotion, on the basis of what is right for the Roman Empire. I also need to act justly -- at least based on how the Roman Empire determines justice. So I didn't feel sorry for the prisoner that day. I don't feel sorry for anyone. That's not the reason I wanted to let Jesus go. I did not find a case against him. That's what I said. There really wasn't a case against him.
"Here is the man," I said to them, without passion. And everyone started shouting. I stayed calm, though, and explained to them that there was no reason for the Roman Empire to kill him. He told me, "My kingdom is not of this world." So he was no threat to me. Then why did he make me feel afraid? That's what I felt when I saw him -- fear. But he didn't fear me. He stood right in front of me -- and I have the power to light him go or to order him crucified -- he stood right in front of me and said I wouldn't have any power over him unless Someone Else hadn't given me permission. He didn't recognize my power. You can't keep the peace with people like him around -- people who recognize a higher power than the Emperor.
They were right. He had to die. He was dangerous. But still -- I was afraid. I tried to release him. I wanted him to go away. But that's not what they wanted. And that's not what he wanted either. He didn't want me to release him. What he really wanted was for me to look at him -- really look at him -- and know that he was a king -- with a power greater than my own.
I tried to get him to go away. But he will never go away. I don't feel sorry for him. I'm still afraid of him.