From John 19-21
Jesus is in Pilates custody. Pilate questions him and he soon learns Jesus is no ordinary prisoner. He is the king of the Jews. But he is no ordinary king either. He wears a crown of thorns, he wears clothes used to ridicule him. He is handed over to be crucified. There this suffering king, will rule from the cross.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Just prior to this chapter Jesus is being tried by Pilate. The Jews handed him over with the intention to kill him. Jesus tells Pilate his kingdom is not of this world. Pilate has never had anyone like Jesus. Pilate gives the Jews opportunity to have Jesus freed, but they choose Barabbas instead.
This is where our passage picks up.
19 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. (Jn 19:1–3)
After all Jesus had done and said, how could they treat him like this? They show no respect for him. Jesus king of all creation humbles himself and allows them to treat him like this.
The account is laced with irony. The Roman soldiers have no idea of the significance of what they are doing.
Jesus is king. He is the king who suffers for the good of the world. He wears a crown of thorns. His crown tears at his head. Cutting flesh and drawing blood. His clothes are coloured purple. Arare colour, reserved for kings and rulers. They ridicule him, not believing what they say about Jesus.
Jesus is king of the Jews, he is the Christ who suffers. He will rule on the cross and usher his kingdom in.
4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (Jn 19:4-5)
Perhaps Pilate hoped that after having Jesus flogged, they would think he had done enough. Pilate wants to free Jesus, having found no guilt in him. Yet Pilate wants to appease the Romans and the Jews more than see justice done.
He parades Jesus in front of them. They could see the marks of flogging, see the ridicule Jesus has been exposed to.
Behold the man. Jesus king of all creation stands before the crowd beaten up and bleeding.
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. (Jn 19:6-8)
The chief priests and the Jewish authorities cry out for blood. They want to see Jesus dead. Crucify him they shout.
Crucifixion was a horrible death inflicted by the Romans. When people were crucified they were nailed hands and feet to wooden crosses. The position caused them to droop down and when they did they began to suffocate. To avoid this they had to push up on the nails driven through their feet to prevent them from suffocating. They spend their last hours in agony trying to prevent their inevitable suffocation.
Jesus is called king of the Jews. He is given a crown of thorns and a purple robe. Now he is called the Son of God. A title combining kingship and deity. The statement of the Jews frightens Pilate even more. Who is this man before him?
Jesus is king and God. Saviour of the world.
9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (Jn 19:9-11)
Pilate questions Jesus further. Why are the Jews saying these things about him?
Where is Jesus from? Jesus has been sent from the father.
Pilate believes he is the one with authority. He thinks he can release or crucify Jesus. Little does Pilate know, he is part of God’s grand scheme to save the world through the death of his son. Jesus responds to Pilate his authority comes from God above.
Pilate will sin by handing Jesus over to be crucified. But, the gravity of his sin is lessened because it is his job to try Jesus. Judas handed Jesus over to the Jews and was under no compulsion to betray Jesus. Hissin is by far greater.
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. (Jn 19:12-13)
Pilate is now torn between desiring to free Jesus and desiring to appease the Jews. Dare he risk a Jewish revolt? Dare he appear to be aiding so done who makes himself a king over Caesar?
The words have their effect on Pilate. He prepares for judgment.
14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (Jn 19:14–16)
The Jews demand his death. Pilate tries one last time hoping they will not kill king Jesus. But they deny Jesus is their king. They want Caesar as their king. So Pilate condemns Jesus to death. He hands Jesus over, just as Judas did.
Irony again laces the statements made about Jesus.
Here is the king of the Jews, king of all creation. An innocent man, standing condemned, taking the blame for guilty people. Crucified and punished so we can be freed of our sin and spared God’s wrath.
Jesus willingly went to his death. He alone realized it was part of God’s plan for the salvation of those who believe in him.
Jesus is king of the Jews. He is the Christ, the Son of God. His adornments are unlike what the world expects of kings. He wears a crown of suffering and clothing of ridicule.
This is one of the great features of Christianity. Jesus rules from the cross. The place where most least expect it. Yes, there he rules and there on the cross his glory shines forth.
Christians recognize Jesus as the Christ, and him crucified.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.