Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 129, 1897

Condemnation of Christ.



Previously unpublished.

Outside the judgment hall the multitude were heaving and pressing like the billows of the sea, some crying one thing, some another. Herod commanded silence. He wished to interrogate Christ Himself. Herod had slain the holy prophet of God, and for a time had felt the keenest remorse. But now he hoped to efface entirely from his mind the memory of that bloody head brought to him on a charger. He also desired to have his curiosity gratified, and thought that Christ would do anything he asked of Him, if he was given any prospect of release. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 1

Herod ordered that the fetters of Christ should be unloosed at the same time charging his enemies with roughly treating Him. He looked with compassion into the serene face of the world’s Redeemer, and read in it only innocence and noble purity. He as well as Pilate knew that Christ had been brought there through malice and envy. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 2

Herod questioned Christ in many words, but throughout Christ maintained a profound silence. He might have caused the heart of the king to tremble with terror; but He gave no look, no word. In reality this was the severest rebuke that Christ could have given to the wicked king. Some word of rebuke would have been considered a mercy in comparison with this utter silence. But not a word has the Majesty of heaven for him. Christ stood before the king in silence, yet in calm, dignified majesty. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 3

Then at the command of the king the decrepit and maimed were called into the presence of Christ, and He was ordered to prove His claims by demonstrating His power before them. If thou canst work miracles for other, he said, work them now for thine own good, and it will serve thee a good purpose. But Christ was as one who heard and saw not. Still Herod continued to urge Him, “Men say thou canst save the sick,” he said, “I am anxious to see that thy wide-spread fame has not been belied. Then work a miracle.” [See Luke 23:8, 9.] 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 4

Jesus did not respond. Herod felt that he was mocked, and over and over again he repeated in the ears of Christ as if to intimidate Him, the exalted position he held, and how one of the prophets like Himself had been treated at his hands. But no sign from Jesus gave evidence that He heard a word. Herod became excited, and again commanded Christ to work a miracle. Show us a sign, he said, that thou hast the power with which rumor hath accredited thee. But Jesus preserved alike His silence and His Godlike majesty. That ear that had ever been open to human woe, had no room for Herod’s words. Those eyes that had ever rested upon the penitent sinner in pitying, forgiving love, had no look to bestow upon Herod. Those lips that had uttered the most impressive truths, that had ever pled in tones of tenderest entreaty, that had been ever ready to speak pardon to the most hardened sinner, were closed to him. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 5

Herod then promised Christ if He would perform some miracle in his presence, he would release Him. Christ’s accusers had seen with their own eyes the mighty works wrought by His power. Their ears had heard Him command the grave to give up its dead. They had beheld the grave hear His voice, the dead obey His command; and fear seized His enemies lest He should work a miracle and thus defeat their purposes. The priests and rulers, in great anxiety, came with their accusations. Raising their voices they declared, He is a traitor, a blasphemer. He works His miracles through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. He claims to be the Son of God, the King of Israel. The hall was one scene of confusion, some crying one thing and some another. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 6

Herod interpreted the silence of Christ as an insult to himself, a contempt for his power. Turning to Him he said, If you will not work a miracle, if you will give no sign of your claims, I will deliver you up to the soldiers and the people. They may succeed in making you speak. If you are an imposter, death at their hands is only what you merit; if you are the Son of God, save yourself. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 7

No sooner were these words spoken, than a rush was made for Christ. Like wild beasts they darted upon their prey, and Christ was left by the wicked king to the mercies of the mob and the soldiers, who were intoxicated with fury. He was mocked and dragged this way and that, Herod joining the mob, and making suggestions how they could best humiliate the Son of God. A crown of thorns was plaited, and derisively placed upon His sacred head. At his suggestion an old kingly purple robe was brought, and put upon His noble form. Then they seated the world’s Redeemer upon a large block, mockingly terming it His throne. An old reed was placed in His hand, they mockingly bowed before Him. Coarse and satanic laughter, jeering and mocking, cursing and swearing, was heard on every side. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 8

All this mockery—this clothing with purple and crowning with thorns, this saluting and bowing in mock worship—was enacted in the presence of the priests and rulers, and gave them the highest pleasure. Occasionally some murderous hand struck the crown upon his brow, forcing the cruel thorns into His temples, and sending the blood trickling down His face and beard. And all this against a man who had been pronounced faultless. No accusation could be brought against Him. He was the victim of the malice, the envy, and jealousy of the people who had been the chosen of God. 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 9


Though he had pronounced Christ entirely innocent, Pilate decided to give Him over to the will of the infuriated mob, led by the priests who were inspired by Satan. Yet he was not willing that the responsibility of this act should rest upon his shoulders. In an imposing manner he took water, and washed his hands before the people, saying “I am innocent of the blood of this just man.” And the cry of the priests and scribes and rulers was, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” [Matthew 27:24, 25.] 12LtMs, Ms 129, 1897, par. 10