For Pontius Pilate, the day began as just another day of ruling. It was the same in Jerusalem as it had been in Caesarea, only slightly worse. It seemed there were more cases to hear in Jerusalem than in Caesarea, and more tedious ones at that. These Jews could really cause a lot of trouble with their strange religious rules.
Then it happened. All of a sudden, people began raising weapons in the air and yelling slogans like, “Down with injustice!” and “We want real justice!” Then they began marching toward the praetorium.
He saw that there was a big brawny man out in front, who seemed to be leading the crowd. There were also several others who seemed to be leading at various points in the crowd, but the one figure at the center stood out. With sword held high, he urged the crowd forward toward the praetorium.
Surprised and frightened, Pilate called for the guard. But it took a few minutes for them to assemble. In the meantime, the crowd had reached the praetorium. The husky man motioned to them and they stopped. With a mighty bound, the man was up on the praetorium, waving his sword in the face of the terrified governor and yelling, “Give up your tyrannical rule at once! Surrender or die!”
Just then, the guard was arriving from the rear of the praetorium. Catching sight of them, Barabbas turned and jumped down off of the praetorium. The guard began descending the steps of the praetorium and soon reached the crowd. The fight began.
Now many of the people, realizing the danger they were in, began to flee. Only a handful stayed to help Barabbas and his men. It was a bitter battle as swords clashed and screams were heard throughout the praetorium.
One of the guards challenged Barabbas. In the fight that ensued, the guard, with his superior training, appeared to be getting the best of Barabbas. But then, the latter, spying a chink in the guard’s armor, took his sword, and with a mighty blow, plunged it deep into the guard’s chest, killing him instantly.
By this time, Portia, hearing the yelling of the crowd, came out to see what was the matter. “It’s just a small disturbance, my dear. It’ll be over in a moment,” Pilate told her.
And it was. Several lives were lost, on both sides. Barabbas and his men, with the aid of a few of the people, had fought valiantly, managing to kill several of Pilate’s men. But in the end, the guard proved too much for them. Perhaps the strength and training of the guard was more than they had figured on. Perhaps Pilate had expected something and called for reinforcements. At any rate, there soon came the point at which they knew they it would be useless to fight any longer. To do so would surely mean either death or capture.
They looked to their leader, Barabbas. He was still trying to fight, although aware of their situation. He had to decide. Should he risk his life and the lives of his men further to go down in history as a hero? What would it accomplish? No, he just couldn’t leave his wife and family fatherless. There was no hope now. They must turn back. He gave the signal and they beat a hasty retreat.
The guard pursued. But when Barabbas and his men went through the gateway at the entrance, they swung the huge iron gate closed. This slowed the guard down enough for the insurrectionists to gain the advantage. By the time the guard had gone through the gate, Barabbas and his men were well hidden in the woods along the road.
By this time, Portia was beside herself with curiosity. “Darling, what is happening? Is Brutus dead?”
Pilate looked at the body of the soldier whom Barabbas had slain, now lying across the stairs. “He appears to be, my dear.”
“He was our best man!” She said, mournfully.
He shrugged. “I’m sure we’ll find another to take his place.”
“What was this all about, anyway, dear?”
“Oh, nothing, really, dear.--just a small popular uprising. Someone wanted to take my position.”
“But, why? What was that they were yelling at the beginning? I couldn’t hear too well from inside.”
“Oh, they were yelling about injustice and tyranny – that sort of thing.”
Her face brightened into a broad smile. “Well, Pontius Pilate, I guess that means you really are doing your job like a man. You’ve become firm like you should be, and I’m really proud of you. You see, I told you you could do it.”
“But what good is it doing me? So far it’s only brought me this riot.”
“Just you wait, Pontius Pilate. You’re well on your way to bigger and better things, and it won’t be long now. Just you wait!”
[END OF PART I]
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