Pilate enjoyed the early tranquil mornings in his library before the house and the city woke up. It was the quietest part of his day. The beauty of the room never ceased to amaze him. The stone and marble work, not to mention the luxurious and colorful fabrics used in his library could only be outdone by the beauty King Herod had put into the Temple he named after himself. He enjoyed the views from his sanctuary that overlooked the garden. The beauty of this garden was rare to see in these parts of the world, but he wanted it’s peacefulness and beauty for his wife.
The solitude he enjoyed here allowed him to keep his sanity while governing this hostile region, though tensions have certainly escalated even further in the past few weeks. He’d been so busy with the leaders of the Sanhedrin, that he didn’t have time to look into matters of of the said, Son of God, Jesus. The leaders were very angry and stirring up all manner of trouble among the Jewish people and Herod was proving to be little help. They were on the verge of being violently angry with him for the inscription, “Jesus The Nazarene, The King of the Jews,” that he wrote and had placed on the cross over Jesus, written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The hostility seemed to stem from the acrostics, that the title represented. It apparently meant the name of their God and this outraged them, but what he had written would stand.1 As if this were not bad enough, they were also enraged because in their minds he had failed to supply enough guards to prevent what they knew would happen, the stealing of the body of Jesus by his followers. He further complicated the situation by failing to immediately seek out and arrest all his followers for theft. But, how could he? What proof was there? The questionable testimony of the guards? Though he would not say it publicly, he could tell they had been bought out and were lying. Those eyes had seen something not of this world.
As he ponder the events of the past few weeks and braced himself against the thoughts of what would happen in the days to come, his son, Pilo, burst in the door and ran over to him. Had this not been his son that at one time couldn’t run due to a crippled foot? Was Claudia telling the truth when she claimed that his foot had been miraculously healed some time ago by this man Jesus? Why didn’t his son just admit that he had met him? Why all the secrecy? He dared not inquire too much, because the less he knew of the happenings, the better. His loyalty to the Empire was already under suspicion by the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. The religious leaders are already wary of him for not being more for them and disgusted that he had washed his hands of what they felt was a traitor to them and the Roman Empire, but all truth be told, they didn’t care about any loyalties to the Roman Empire, unless it could somehow serve them well. So, if all this healing business was true, it could put his family at great risk. Yes, better to leave the whole matter alone, though it has been hard to explain how he can all of a sudden run like any boy his age, perhaps even faster, but that may just be the pride of of a father talking.
“Pilo, my son! Good morning.” he said with a smile. His only son always brought him great joy and he would do anything to protect him. “What news do you bring me this morning of your findings?” Pilate was hopeful that his son had grown bored and forgot to investigate, and yet, he knew better. There was also a hope that since little has been seen of Jesus’ followers, his son has not been exposed to too much information.
“Father!” Pilo shouted as he ran to his father. He admired his father. He wanted to be strong and brave just like his father when he grew up.
“You must tell me of all your adventures.”
“Well, father, I’ve not seen or heard much, but I will tell you what little I have found out.” This news brought a bit of joy to Pilate. What his son doesn’t know will benefit him greatly and even spare his life.
“I was in the marketplace one day and overheard a small group of people whispering. They were very careful and looked a bit nervous. Curious what they were doing, I snuck behind a booth and listened quietly, careful to not breath too heavy, so they wouldn’t find me.”
His own curiosity peaked at the possibility of such secrecy, Pilate asked his son to continue.
Pilo began in a hushed tone, as if someone might over him or as if he were vividly recalling the secrecy and seriousness of the conversation he overheard, he began, “There was one man that did most of the talking, I believe I heard one of the other two call him Peter, but I cannot be sure, because he said it so fast and with great excitement. This man, Peter, was also very excited to talk to these people. He said that Jesus had been raised from the dead and confirmed by his own eyes and the eyes of another man, John, I believe was his name. His words were, “It is true, brothers and sisters, the tomb is empty, John and I saw it with our own eyes!”
“At this time my curiosity almost got the best of me, father, as I wanted to jump out and ask him all sorts of questions, but I remembered I promised you that I would be careful and I feared they would recognize me and run. I wanted to hear more, so I sat as quiet as I could and leaned in as much as possible without giving myself away. I didn’t want to miss a word.”
“What else did they say, Pilo?” Pilate was almost beside himself to hear there was a declared eye witness of the empty tomb. What did this man know and who was he?
“Peter seemed so excited telling the story that he was nearly out of breath with each sentence. As he told the story, I could feel my heart pounding harder and faster in my chest. Father, I was sure they would soon be able to hear it beating too. I was getting nervous and so excited at the same time. I did my best to remain in hiding, because I needed to hear more. I couldn’t help myself, why did I need to hear more? Why did I need to know he was alive? Peter then said almost above the needed whisper, “We must be careful, because the Jewish leaders are seeking our lives. We will need to be careful how we share this, but we must share this news. Jesus, the Son of our living God, the God of our forefathers, our Savior and Redeemer LIVES! The tomb is empty and we have seen him. Thomas even touched him. We saw him eat. He is not just spirit, but in flesh as well. Salvation has come to all through Jesus and now, we can take heart because He has conquered death too!’ I was clearly confused. How is this possible? Surely he is lying! Or was he? He didn’t seem like a liar and he spoke as if he had really seen all he said!”
Pilate was fighting both excitement and fear inside. What were the implications of what his son was telling him? He wanted desperately to hear more, but knew that he needed to stop this conversation now, for their own safety. “Son, I need you to stop. I know you cannot understand and I see your excitement, but we don’t know if this man is telling the truth. There is great danger right now concerning this man. I really had hoped things would quiet down by now, but they seem to only be escalating and become more dangerous for anyone who is affiliated with this Jesus. While I am intrigued, as you are, we must be sensible about all this. Are we willing to put our lives at risk with the Roman Empire for what is more than likely a lie?”
“But father! This can’t be a lie! It seemed so real. You should have heard this man, Peter, talking, you would also believe…”
“Enough!” Pilate shouted. He saw as his son looked shocked and hurt. He’d not raised his voice at his son enough times to even recall, but this was his life at stake and he had to protect him. “We will not make another mention of this, do you understand? You will not talk of this and you must not pursue this any further! Do you understand?” He asked more calmly.
“I cannot say that I understand father. I’m confused. How can we know the truth, if we fail to seek it out? How can we be good me if we deny what we know to be true?”
“What do we actually know to be true son? Did we see it for ourselves? No. We must keep our loyalties with our Empire, with our ruler. To do otherwise means death for us. Forgive me, I know you can’t understand, but you must try. Now, promise me that you will forget all about this matter.”
“I…I…pro…mise.” Pilo said as he watched his father staring hard at him. Pilo was being filled with a mixture of frustration, confusion over his father’s reaction, disappointment and an overwhelming sense of passion for the truth. He was sure he’d never mention to his father again, but to never seek out the truth was not a promise he felt he’d be able to keep and he hoped that his father would desire the truth so much when he discovered it, that his father would forgive him.
“Good. Thank you.” Pilate said as he began to feel the first signs of a wedge coming between him and his son. He loved his son so deeply and knew that Pilo just wouldn’t understand. If word of this gets out, he would be executed for treason, if the Jewish religious leaders didn’t bring his death about first. And if there was talk of treason, he knew he would not be able to count on his army for defense, but they too might turn against him. Fear had a way of abating one’s quest for the so-called truth. He was angry. He wanted to know too, but not at the risk of their lives. We must be sensible, he thought to himself. We must remain loyal.
“Father, may I go?”
“Sure. You do know that I love you, don’t you?”
“Yes father, I do.” The disappointment in his eyes could not be hidden.
“Okay, you can go. Please, remember your promise.” Pilate said with an overwhelming pain invading his heart.
As Pilo left the room, his mother met him in the hallway. She motioned for him to follow her. Pilo wondered how much she had heard, if anything. He quietly followed her to the garden. As they came out into the opening, the air was a wash of relief for him. His mother always had a way of comforting him, calming him and easing his pain. She was his shield and shelter. It was his mother that took him to see Jesus, who healed his foot. She is the one that said we must not ever speak of the events, not to father or anyone, because few would understand. She spoke of Jesus with such love and softness, it was his favorite times with her, when she spoke of what she saw or heard of Him from others. It was hard to believe what was true and what were stories people made up, but in his heart, he wanted to believe them all. He felt bad keeping this from his father, but mother had said it was for his safety and that was good enough for him. Pilo didn’t understand how exactly it would harm his father to know, but also understood that his father’s position as governor of this area had some difficulties.
“What did you tell your father of what you’ve heard? Did you take my counsel and not tell him much?” asked Claudia in a soft tone.
“Sorry, no mother, I said more than you had advised. I was sure when I told father the truth that he would want to know more. That he would want to help us find Peter and hear more about Jesus. That maybe he too would seek to know more about Jesus.” Though young and not fully sure what all being a Savior meant, he knew that his dad needed Jesus’ help for the role he had to play as governor and that Jesus could help him be strong and brave, to stand for truth at all costs. He longed for his dad to join him on this quest to know even more about Jesus.
His mom, with the gentleness of a loving mother calmly said, “You must trust me, my son. We must not share this with your father, it is too dangerous for him to know. When the time is right, we will know how to share this with him and perhaps by then, he can be in a position to hear what we have found out. For now, I will help you seek the truth, but you must promise me that you will not share with him anymore of what we discover in the days to come. We will seek out the one called Peter, that you overheard and see if we can find out more. If we cannot find him, perhaps we can find someone else that knew Jesus and ask them, but we must be very discrete in our search, because of your father’s position.” She was hoping that by keeping it from Pilate, he would be kept safe if they were ever found to be seeking out Jesus and that her son would be safe because of his young age. It could be said that Pilo was young and easily influenced by his mother, rather than doing this on his own. Yes, for the safety of their family, they had to remain tight-lipped about this matter, but not even the treat of death could keep her from seeking out Jesus now, not after the healing of her son’s crippled foot, the dream she had or the proclamation that He has risen from the dead. She was a little afraid of being caught, but more afraid of dying without knowing who Jesus really was. The thought of her only son joining her on this journey both thrilled her and caused her to fear for his safety, but like his father (until he got this new position), the quest for truth would not be easily quenched, so better they go in search of the truth together.
Pilate was looking out his window and saw his beautiful wife and the pride and joy of his heart, his son, walking in the garden and talking. He felt a sense of relief. His wife could always talk sense into their son. She would know what to say and be able to convince him to give up this dangerous pursuit. He knew that she was curious about Jesus too, especially after the so-called healing of their son’s foot, but she was a sensible woman and when they discussed the dangers and loyalty to the Empire, they had both agreed the risk was too great to pursue and would let it rest. She would not take the risk, if not for herself, he know she would think of him and their only son.
Pilate recounted all his son had told him, as he watched them walk around and talk. He forced the thoughts of the conversation out of him mind, when he began to imagine the pain of being found as a traitor to the Empire. The pain and death of a traitor to Caesar knew few parallels and nothing he ever wanted to imagine let alone see happen to his family. It was all too risky for something he wasn’t sure was true. Was Jesus the Son of God? Who is this the one true God? How would knowing this truth help him? Help his family? What good would be this truth if they were declared traitors to the Empire? How would Jesus be able to save them if he couldn’t or perhaps it was that he wouldn’t save himself. Regardless, what protection and assurance did he have for their safety and was the pursuit of truth worth one’s life? Perhaps when he was young, single and more idealistic, he believed so, but wouldn’t it be selfish of him to pursue the truth or what maybe the truth at all cost, even the cost of his family? He could only hope that one day his only son would appreciate the love of a father for his only son…
In researching for this short story, I found out somethings that I’d like to share. It’s not known for certain if Pilate and Claudia had children, but that is a speculation. The healing of their son, Pilo, is also a speculation that was derived from a letter that is believed to have been written in Latin by Claudia as some point. It’s also believed that Claudia did put her faith in our Lord Jesus and became a true believer. Is it true? We may not know in this lifetime, but the thought does bring joy to my heart. What did it do to their marriage? Did she ever tell Pilate? Did Pilate ever put his faith in Jesus also? We may not know this during our lifetime either. It’s said that Pilate died at his own hands. Was this due to the turmoil he felt about Jesus? Was it that he did come to believe in Jesus and feared the repercussions from the Roman Empire? Was his marriage strained? Did Claudia die first leaving him to fight these internal battles that he wouldn’t have shared with anyone except her?
As you can see, there are a lot of questions left unanswered and far more that I haven’t even mentioned here, like what if he did have a son? What became of him? Did they have more children? The list of questions is so long and the answers are far too few. This is a short fictional story that I’ve shared based on the few facts I could find. My hope is that the message is clear, to seek and follow Jesus, there will always be a price and for each of us, no matter who we are or what position one might hold, we will come face-to-face with the opportunity to follow Jesus at all costs and we must carefully weigh that cost. It’s not easy and once we become His follower, there can remain risks and sometimes life and death risks to us and our family. What will we decided? Will we seek Him out and follow Him at all costs?
There is no doubt in my mind that He is risen…He is risen indeed and for me and my house, we will follow the Lord, at all costs. He died that we might live and for us we understand what Paul meant when he said to live is Christ and to die is gain. But, everyone must weigh this out for themselves and it’s no easy matter when we truly understand what it takes to seek out The Truth, The Way and The Life and follow Him at all costs. I pray that this has blessed you and encouraged you to follow our Lord Jesus to the ends of the earth and then into eternity….
Have a great day, thanks for liking, commenting and sharing and God bless,
1Note about the inscription: “Jesus The Nazarene The King of The Jews” in Hebrew is as follows: Yashua Ha’Netzvarium V’melech HaYehudium. Why were the religious leaders outraged? If we take the first letter of each word, that would spell YHVH and this is the unspeakable name of God, the I AM. The religious leaders of that time were incensed because they believed that the inscription was blasphemy and they wanted it removed. They believed Jesus was hanging on the cross because he had claimed to be the great I AM and now much to their dismay, it was written almost as a final declaration for all to see.