The Story of Christ’s Passion
The story of the Passion begins with Jesus's entrance into Jerusalem. If Jesus had been attempting to enter Jerusalem and purify the temple against the opposition of the Sadducees and Pharisees, it would have been necessary for him first to fight a victorious battle in the streets. The common people are attached to Jesus; only the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, 'the high priests and scribes', are hostile to him. Jesus conducts himself as a dictator. Jesus is the first to incriminate himself by declaring that he is the Messiah. Pilate might thus have sent Jesus to Rome. But Matthew assigns a most ridiculous role to Pilate: a Roman judge, a representative of the Emperor Tiberius, lord of life and death, begs a popular gathering in Jerusalem to permit him to acquit a prisoner, and on their deciding negatively, replies: 'Well, slay him, I am innocent of this blood!'.