John 19:1-8

In John 19:1-8 Jesus is standing before Pilate who is trying to please the religious leaders as he deals with a Man whom he knows is innocent.  “Then Pilate laid open Jesus’ back with a leaded whip, and the soldiers made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head and robed him in royal purple.” This was a very painful punishment called scourging.  The brutal act of scourging had three purposes.

  1. First, it was used to beat the prisoner as a form of punishment.
  2. Second, it was used to extract a confession from the prisoner.
  3. Finally, in cases of crucifixion it was used to weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross.

The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a weakened state. Pilate is under pressure to follow the wishes of the religious leaders.  And they were continuing their verbal attacks. “Hail, ‘King of the Jews’!” they mocked, and struck him with their fists.” The intensity is increasing, and Pilate is being pushed harder and harder. He had retreated inside to get away from the unruly crowd, but things were not slowing down. “Pilate went outside again and said to the Jews, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.”

That’s quite a statement of innocence.  Jesus hadn’t committed any crime and there was no reason to consider him for further punishment.  “Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Behold the man!”  Pilate’s word’s ‘behold the Man’ were filled with pity for Jesus, contempt for the mob, with fear and panic over his own role in this worsening situation.  Pilate doesn’t see a way out, and the crowd is increasingly vocal and focused.  “At sight of him the chief priests and Jewish officials began yelling, “Crucify! Crucify!” The reaction of the crowd shows how powerful the hatred of God can be.

Pilate can’t bring himself to crucify Jesus.  “You crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” For the third time, Pilate pronounces Jesus innocent of all charges. But that wasn’t enough to slow down the crowd.  “They replied, “By our laws he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” The pretending is over. No longer are they trying to accuse Jesus of being “King of the Jews”; their real objection is that He claims to be God. When Pilate learned the true nature of the charge, instead of being angry with the Jews, he was more afraid of Jesus than ever. This demonstrates that the stature and dignity of Jesus was maintained throughout this whole trial. “When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.”

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.


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