Meditation Of The First Accusation Of Our Lord Before Pilate III
Pilate's Dispute with the High Priest
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 1. 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 commands 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 envy 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 both 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 turn them up and down to subdue the flesh, which ruled the spirit, unto the spirit, to place poor and base Fisher-men above Kings, and after his life to throw the proud rich men down into Hell, and to lift poor Lazarus unto 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 requireth no small tribute of the actions of men, whom he would have to attempt or execute nothing without some mixture of sin. Christ contrawise commanded to this tribute unto God & that thou shalt refer all thy actions to his glory. Thirdly that he is King & the Messias. Thy Lord is truly a King and the Messias, who governeth and feedeth 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 things.