(A Short Story)
“Lidia, watch out!”
My best friend frantically shouted to me and pushed me out of the way. We both landed in a heap on the ground, just outside the path of the mob of men that threatened to trample us.
“Adah, are you okay?” I asked as I picked myself up and tried to brush the mud off of my dress.
“Yes,” she said, taking her place next to me.
We both watched as the band of men continued on their way to the Hall of Judgment.
Suddenly, Adah’s eyes grew wide. “Lidia, was that Jesus with those men?”
I nodded. “I think it was! Why are they taking Him to Pilate?”
“I don’t know…but we need to find out! Come on, we have to follow them!” Adah exclaimed, grabbing my hand and pulling me behind her.
We followed from a distance, trying to stay out of sight as much as possible. As we neared the Hall of Judgment, we waited, peering around the corner of the carpenter’s shop where we were standing, waiting for all of the men to go inside. Surprisingly, the whole group stood gathered around the doorway. A soldier came and brought Jesus inside, and we watched as Pilate himself came out, and began conversing with the men.
He looked frustrated, confused almost. I wished that we could get closer, that we could hear what they were saying.
“Lidia, look!” Adah nudged me, and pointed across the street. There’s a window over there. I think it’ll let us see into the Hall!”
Trying to be as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, we ran across the nearly deserted street. We quickly reached the alleyway, and the shadows cast by the early morning sunlight helped to conceal us. We stacked up a few of the crates carelessly tossed on the ground, and balanced on them, peering into the window.
The huge door shut with a bang, and footsteps echoed throughout the huge room. Finally, Pilate reached the front of the room, and turned to face Jesus, who stood there, bound with ropes. Pilate just stood there quietly for a moment, his arms crossed in front of him, looking. Just looking at Jesus. After what seemed like an eternity, he spoke.
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
I looked at Adah, astonished. “Is this why they have Him here? To ask Him that?”
Adah looked back at me. “I knew that the chief priests were jealous of Him, but I didn’t realize they hated Him this much!” She shook her head silently, a tear escaping and slipping down her cheek. “Adah, they want Him killed. That’s why they brought Him here.”
I could hardly believe my ears. In my heart, I knew it was the truth…but I just couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I turned my attention back to the window, anxious to hear how Jesus would respond. To see what He would do.
“Do you say this thing yourself, or did others tell you this about Me?”
Pilate looked surprised. “Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?”
“My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom was of the world, my servants would fight, so that I would not be delivered to the Jews. But My kingdom is not from here.”
“Are you a king then?”
“You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “I was born for this reason, and this is why I came into the world: that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” As He said this, He looked off into the distance, a hint of a smile lightening His face.
I was amazed. Didn’t He know what was going on? Didn’t He know what was about to happen to Him? Yet, He was so peaceful. He knew that He was doing what He came to do.
Pilate looked straight at Jesus. “What is truth?” He looked so lost, so defeated, like he didn’t know what to do next.
Jesus looked right back at him with a gaze overflowing with love and compassion. He wanted him to come, to understand. He wanted Pilate to just let Him in.
Adah leaned over to me and whispered in a voice barely audible, “Do you remember what Jesus said? What He told us?”
I remembered. The memory played crystal clear in my mind. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”
The truth was standing right in front of Him.
Pilate just turned, and with one last look, slowly walked away.