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PILATE’S QUANDARY (John 19:4-16; Matt. 27:24)



The gods lurk everywhere,

Even, perhaps,

In this wretched Nazarine!

How can I judge the judgment

Of this world

On one whose very presence

Scorns the power of death?

The breath of other-worldly royalty

Stirs upon his lips

And blows my threats away.


The people shout for blood

And wait upon my word.

Their guilt is greater–

So he said–

But mine is great enough,

And leaves no room

For subtle sophistry.

If “truth” has brought him here,

Then “truth” will have to save him–


But not through me.

Long ago I banked the fire of truth

That I might not be consumed.

The open flame is in his eyes,

And brooks no compromise.


I turn my face

And call for a basin

Of lukewarm water.

                                 –Elton D. Higgs

                                   Aug. 25, 1978

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