MEDITATION ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: Then They Began To Accuse Him, Saying: We Have Found This Man Subverting Our People, And Forbidding To Give Tribute Unto Caesar, And Saying, That He Is Christ Our King.
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Christ Accused by the Pharisees (detail)
Then they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man subverting our people, and forbidding to give tribute unto Caesar, and saying, that he is Christ our King.
They began (saith he,) as the beginning of many accusations, which should follow. (We have found) we have not heard of others, but we ourselves have seen.
Consider I. three accusations, all which depended upon one. He doth affirm (say they) that he is the Messias, & King of the Jews, promised to our fore-Fathers, and thereby draweth the people unto him, and he commanded neither to obey Caesar, nor to pay tribute unto him. Lying plainly; who knew that our Lord did shun a Kingdom, did teach obedience, did pay tribute, and did answer, that it should be paid. Hereby thou mayest learn, how envey maketh a man blind, so as he cannot perceive the ignominy & reproach that he doth unto himself. For by these words they proved themselves liars before Pilate, who could not be ignorant of Christ his answer to the Herodians. Render unto Caesar those things which are Caesars. Avoid thou therefore all perturbation of mind, which doth much hinder the seeing of the truth, & weaken thy reputation.
Consider secondly whereof Christ was accused. First that he did subvert the people. His office is to move the people, to turn them up and down to subdue the flesh, which ruled the spirit, to place poor and base Fishermen above Kings, and after his life to throw the proud rich men down into Hell, and to lift poor Lazarus to Abrahams bosom. Secondly that he forbad to give tribute unto Caesar. Our Lord doth forbid to pay tribute unto the Devil, who is called Prince of this world; and requiter no small tribute of the actions of men, whom he would have to attempt or execute nothing without some mixture of sin. Christ contrariwise commandeth to this tribute unto God & that thou shalt refer all thy actions to his glory. Thirdly that he is a King & the Messias. Thy Lord is truly a King and the Messias, who governeth and feted all his people, both with his body and holy spirit. Yield thou thyself under the government of this King, fight against his enemies and follow him thy Captain in all.