Summary: A view of the last week of Jesus life through the eyes of Pontius Pilate.
It was the time of the Passover. Typically the Passover was a busy time in Jerusalem. For this reason, Pilate planned to spend several weeks in Jerusalem at this time of year. This year, Procula, his wife, wished to make the trip also, but Pilate refused her. "It’s too risky" he said, "The city is seething with unrest about this Messiah?"
Several days later, after a period of indirect persuasion, Pilate changed his mind and took her with him to Jerusalem. Procula was delighted with this eventual decision, because she herself was intrigued by this man Jesus. Everyone was talking about Him - maybe SHE could even meet him.
Finally when they reached the summit of the last ridge before Jerusalem they saw over in the distance, to the East, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, a crowd which appeared to be waving branches of some kind. It wasn’t clear what was happening, but Pilate and Procula were determined that they would find out exactly what was going on as soon as possible.
It finally made sense to them, later that evening they found out it was in honour of a man, the prophet Jesus, who had now come out of hiding. They were concerned about the potentially serious political overtones, but they were reassured by a roman tribune that this prophet Jesus was not politically motivated in the slightest, and that these swarms of pilgrims completely misunderstood him.
In this parade, Jesus’ vehicle was not a golden chariot as would be expected of a leader; rather it was a jogging old donkey. When Jesus reached Jerusalem He made no speeches or proclamations. He simply got off the donkey, walked over to the temple, and enjoyed the view across the Kidron Valley. After this he returned to Bethany with his disciples for the evening meal. Pilate was baffled. Pilate spent quite a while pondering the events of the afternoon. He was concerned for Jesus; he could see that this man Jesus was really getting himself into a double-bind. No matter what course of action he chose to take he would find himself in trouble with someone, it seemed like there were many in power wanting to see the end of him. If on the one hand Jesus entered the political arena, Rome would interfere, yet on the other hand, if held his strictly religious orientation, he would be in trouble with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Pilate could see no way out for the man.
The next day, Monday, Pilate started assigning quotas for the annual tribute to Rome when Zacchaeus the tax collector arrived and announced "Noble prefect, in going over my accounts, I find that I made an error of $50,000 in last years tribute."
"Zacchaeus!" Pilate sniffed, "Securing a tax rebate from the imperial treasury is impossible."
"No, no your Excellency. I OWE the treasury $50,000. And here it is." Zacchaeus’ eyes were blazing happily.
Pilate’s jaw sagged. "What’s come over you, Zacchaeus? You usually battle me down to the last cent."
"Last Thursday, while I was up a tree in Jericho, the prophet…" He stopped abruptly, then laughed, "Oh ... nothing, gentlemen. Now Excellency, how much did you say poor Jericho will have to ’contribute’ this year?"
Later when the conferences had finished the tribune of Jerusalem arrived to see Pilate with a report that he thought the governor may be interested in.
"Just an hour ago we heard a commotion in the temple area. I took a squad of men up to the outer courts, but by then it was too late. ...The prophet Jesus had a whip in his hands and was using it to drive all the animals out of the temple." The tribune looked at Pilate and began to smile. Pilate was eager to hear more. "Did Jesus give any explanation for this ... unusual conduct?" he probed.
"Yes, it was most interesting. He said, ’My Father’s house is for PRAYER. You have made it a den of robbers!’ he was not a happy man. He sent the money changers tables flying; it was quite a sight to see them chasing their money!"
"Tell me more!" Pilate begged.
"He simply purged the place of commercialism. If you’ll pardon my opinion, sir, I think: he had the right idea. The temple was getting to look like a Persian market."
"I dare say, or a zoo." Pilate responded. "But Tribune didn’t you or your men try to interfere?"
"Well no sir. I didn’t want to infringe on the authority of the temple guard.
"Why didn’t they act?"
"They wouldn’t have dared arrest Jesus at that time and place. He’s too popular with the pilgrims." The tribune explained.
Pilate rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Suppose there were no crowds and no temple guard. Then would you have tried to stop the prophet?"