MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST: Jesus Answered, Thou Couldest Have No Power Against Me, Except It Were Given Thee From Above. Wherefore He, Which Hath Delivered Me To Thee, Hath The Greater Sin ~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Pilate's Second Interrogation of Christ (scene 15)
Jesus answered, thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above. Wherefore he, which hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin.
Consider first, that by these words Christ abated the pride of Pilate, teaching him, that he had of himself no power, but that, which was either given him form above by Caesar, whose Vicegerent he was (as St. Augustine interpreteth this place,) or granted him from God in Heaven, without whose special permission no man could do any thing against Christ the Son of God. Pilate received this power with the enemies of our Lord, when he gave them licence in the garden to rage against him, by these words: This is your hour, and the power of darkness. And although it was necessary to have a more peculiar permission to rage against Christ, then against any other Christian. Yet thou mayest learn truly with Saint Cyprian, that the Devil can do nothing against man, except God permit him.
Consider secondly, (he which delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin) to wit, then if he had offered any other man to be out to death by thee: or greater sin then thou; partly because thou maist be much moved thereunto by reason of thy authority, and by the people, and the chief men, whereas he did it of himself by private hate, and feted malice; partly because thou knows not the dignity of my person, and office, which the Jews must needs know by the prophecies of the Prophets, having seen so many miracles, which could not happen, but by the Messias, so as they had no excuse of their sin. Thou seest first that all sins are not alike (as some men fain) but that those sins are more grievous, which come of deliberate malice, then those which are committed through weakness or ignorance: and they sin more which mock and persecute the godly, then they which deride wicked men: and they offend more which induce men to sin. then they which are induced; for the sin of such redoundeth also to the inducers. Secondly, thou earnest to abstain from all sins, but especially from those which are committed against God; as Heretics, blasphemy, perjury, irrision and profanation of holy and divine things. For although in the blind judgement of men (which think nothing to be a fault, but that, which tendeth to the hurt of our neighbor) those things seem small: yet God will revenge more sharply the wrong done unto himself, then to any other creature. Admire thou the bounty of Christ, who so lovingly taught the wicked Judge: & pray him, that he will never give thee liberty to sin.