The possibility that Christian experience in the early Church has been put back by the writers of the gospels into the lifetime and ministry of Jesus. The gradual exoneration of Pilate as the principal agent of Jesus' crucifixion and its transfer to the Jewish leaders reflects the experiences of the Church in the Roman Empire seeking to establish favourable relations with the authorities. The reference (John 3: 23) to Aenon, which is difficult to identify, may be an account of the activity of followers of the Baptist still surviving in a later generation and resident in that place.