The above picture seems quite serene and beautiful but legend tells a different story. It is a view of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland from the view of “Mount Pilatus.” The mountain is named for Pontius Pilate, a former first century procurator of the Roman province of Judea (AD 26 – 36), who ended his political career in shame and exile or execution. Two legends persist. The first indicates he was exiled to modern day Switzerland where he ended his days in despair, most likely taking his own life. The second is that he was condemned, executed, and dumped in the Tiber River where his body was eventually washed upstream. In either case, the end of both stories is his remains came to be in the depths of Lake Lucerne. Legend says his ghost rises every Good Friday from the watery grave and washes his hands in the pure blue waters of the lake crying, “I am innocent of the blood of this man; I wash my hands; it is not my fault!” Though this ghost tale is untrue, it is a ghastly reality that sadly haunts the soul of Pontius Pilate in to eternity.
Overlooking Lake Lucerne is this Lion statue that recalls the 1792 massacre of Swiss soldiers during the French Revolution. Mark Twain once called it “the saddest monument in the world.” Perhaps that is true. If tradition is true, it certainly overlooks what perhaps is the world’s saddest grave. Even if tradition proved to be false, the truth remains:
The saddest grave in the world is not the grave Pilate had sealed, but the one he himself would fill.
Though he declared himself “innocent of this man’s blood” the opposite is true. Only the blood of “this Man” makes the guilty innocent.