John Masefield wrote a play in verse about Good Friday. In an exchange after Jesus was condemned, we hear Pilate and and his wife Procula, who famously warned him ‘Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.‘ (Matthew 27:19)
Another charge was brought some hours ago,
That he was claiming to be that great King
foretold by prophets, who shall free the Jews.
This he persisted in. I could not choose
But end a zealot claiming such a thing.
It is a desecration of our power.
A rude poor man who pitted his pure sense
Against what holds the world its little hour,
Blind force and fraud, priests’ mummery and pretence.
Could you not see that this is what he did?
Most clearly, wife. But Roman laws forbid
That I should weigh, like God, the worth of souls.
I act for Rome, and Rome is better rid
Of those rare spirits whom no law controls.
He broke a statute, knowing from the first
Whither his act would lead, he was not blind.
‘Good Friday’ in John Masefield, ‘Collected Poems’, London, Heinemann, 1925, pp449-507.
Procula’s speech is as good an examination of conscience as any for today, but if you can find the text, the whole play is worth reading and pondering.