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Pontius Pilate

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Luke, chapter 3



1: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiber'i-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae'a and Trachoni'tis, and Lysa'ni-as tetrarch of Abile'ne, 


1 Timothy, chapter 6


1: Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed. 

2: Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brethren; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. 

3: If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, 

4: he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, 

5: and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 

6: There is great gain in godliness with contentment; 

7: for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; 

8: but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 

9: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 

10: For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs. 

11: But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 

12: Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

13: In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 

14: I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 

15: and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 

16: who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 

17: As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. 

18: They are to do good, to be rich in good deeds, liberal and generous, 

19: thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed. 

20: O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, 

21: for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith. Grace be with you. 

Acts, chapter 4


1: And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sad'ducees came upon them, 

2: annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 

3: And they arrested them and put them in custody until the morrow, for it was already evening. 

4: But many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 

5: On the morrow their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem, 

6: with Annas the high priest and Ca'iaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 

7: And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" 

8: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, 

9: if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a cripple, by what means this man has been healed, 

10: be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well. 

11: This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner. 

12: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." 

13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 

14: But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 

15: But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred with one another, 

16: saying, "What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is manifest to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 

17: But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any one in this name." 

18: So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 

19: But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; 

20: for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." 

21: And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for all men praised God for what had happened. 

22: For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. 

23: When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 

24: And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 

25: who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, `Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? 

26: The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed' -- 

27: for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 

28: to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place. 

29: And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness, 

30: while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus." 

31: And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. 

32: Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. 

33: And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 

34: There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold 

35: and laid it at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need. 

36: Thus Joseph who was surnamed by the apostles Barnabas (which means, Son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 

37: sold a field which belonged to him, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia
 Robert Appleton Company



After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ. As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caearea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance. 

Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened. The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrance of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke, xiii, 1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him. The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished. 

His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died. That is the last we know of Pilate from authentic sources, but legend has been busy with his name. He is said by Eusebius (H.E., ii, 7), on the authority of earlier writers, whom he does not name, to have fallen into great misfortunes under Caligula, and eventually to have committed suicide. Other details come from less respectable sources. His body, says the "Mors Pilati", was thrown into the Tiber, but the waters were so disturbed by evil spirits that the body was taken to Vienne and sunk in the Rhone, where a monument, called Pilate's tomb, is still to be seen. As the same thing occurred there, it was again removed and sunk in the lake at Lausanne. Its final disposition was in a deep and lonely mountain tarn, which, according to later tradition, was on a mountain, still called Pilatus, close to Lucerne. The real origin of this name is, however, to be sought in the cap of cloud which often covers the mountain, and serves as a barometer to the inhabitants of Lucerne. The are many other legends about Pilate in the folklore of Germany, but none of them have the slightest authority.


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