Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts
Although Pilate found no fault with Jesus before Roman law, he was too weak to set Jesus free. When a bloodthirsty mob demanded his crucifixion, Jesus was sentenced and delivered by Pilate to humiliation and death.
Pilate represents the contrasting attitude to that of Mary Magdalene. She could see the truth of the message of love and forgiveness Jesus offered. He could see only that it was politically expedient for him to ignore the truth of the innocence of Jesus. Mary Magdalene was open to receiving the gift of life which Jesus offered her; Pilate was closed to understanding that he was being offered a choice between following the path of integrity or the path of injustice.
Hymn by James Russell Lowell
"Once to every man and nation,
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
‘twixt that darkness and that light."
 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.
 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
Everlasting Gospel, (E 876)
"The Moral Virtues in Great fear Formed the Cross & Nails & Spear And the Accuser standing by Cried out Crucify Crucify Our Moral Virtues neer can be Nor Warlike pomp & Majesty For Moral Virtues all begin In the Accusations of Sin" Description of the Last Judgment, (E 558) "Two persons one in Purple the other in Scarlet are descending these are Caiphas & Pilate Two States where all those reside who Calumniate & Murder under Pretence of Holiness & Justice Caiphas has a Blue Flame like a Miter on his head Pilate has bloody hands that never can be cleansed the Females behind them represent the Females belonging to such States who are under perpetual terrors & vain dreams plots & secret deceit. Those figures that descend into the Flames before Caiphas & Pilate are Judas & those of his Class" Annotations to Bacon, (E 621) "Self Evident Truth is one Thing and Truth the result of Reasoning is another Thing Rational Truth is not the Truth of Christ but of Pilate It is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil" Annotations to Thornton, (E 667) "Christ & his Apostles were Illiterate Men Caiphas Pilate & Herod were Learned. The Beauty of the Bible is that the most Ignorant & Simple Minds Understand it Best"
Blake pictures Jesus, his hands shackled, standing passively in the Hall of Judgment before Pilate. The crowd shouts for Jesus to be crucified as Pilate turns away denying responsibility for the chain of events that his refusal to act from his own inner sense of justice had initiated.