Reflections from John 19:1-16

Jesus’ trial before Pilate was a farce. It was rife with injustice from all sides. The Jewish leaders threw out all of their morals and laws, which they held so dear, in order to pursue one goal, the death of Jesus. Pilate took Jesus in for examination, and at first seemed to be a better representative of the law than the Jews. But he too abandoned principled morals and commandments. He declared Jesus innocent. But then he had Him flogged. His soldiers mocked and abused Jesus. But Pilate did nothing to stop them. He declared Jesus without guilt a second time, but the Jews would not hear it. He continued to question and examine Jesus, seeking a way to release Him. A third time Pilate declared Jesus innocent. But the Jews, both those of the leadership and those in the crowd who listened to their lies, shouted “Away with Him! Crucify Him!”

After Jesus was robed in purple and wearing a crown of thorns, Pilot brought Him out in front of the Jews to declare His innocence. He proclaimed:

“Behold the man!” (John 19:5)

This was to humiliate Jesus even more, and to humiliate the Jews. Yet Pilate was also seeking to pacify the Jews, “Here He is, He has been punished. This should be enough already.” They would not be pacified. It was not enough. “Crucify!” They shouted. Pilate brought Jesus out a second time, and proclaimed:

“Behold your King!” (John 19:14)

He said this to taunt the Jews, so as to say, “Your king is pathetic, and any other king you try to put forth will be just as he.”

Behold the man! Behold your King! This is a command, something we are being called to do. In Jesus’ state of humiliation, Pilate called out, “Look at Him!”

The Jews looked and hated. They wanted to have Jesus killed by the worst means possible, crucifixion. They rejected Jesus and claimed Caesar as their King. Jesus in front of them, in an old purple robe, bleeding and wearing a crown of thorns made them hate him even more.

Behold the man! Behold your King!

The Romans looked on and laughed. But some were indifferent. The soldiers mocked and abused Jesus. They thought it was funny business. Pilate was concerned only for his own position and status rather than the rule of law or religion or truth.

Behold the man! Behold your King!

The disciples looked away. They ran away. Peter denied Jesus. At this darkest hour for Jesus, He was abandoned, suffering, and still innocent. The magnitude of His suffering is above our understanding.

Why? Why would Jesus suffer in this way? What was it all for? Jesus rightly stated to Pilate that he was in his position of authority only because the Supreme authority, God Himself, had ordered it thus. And Jesus was obedient to the authority of God.

…[Jesus Christ] though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 (ESV)

But the question will still be asked, Why? What for?

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, – Ephesians 2:1-8 (ESV)

Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He had none. He was standing in our place. He died in our place. He suffered the wrath and judgment of God, for no sin of His, but for the sins of the world. Yet God raised Him up. He is ALIVE!

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)                                                           

And now the words which Pilate proclaimed still command…

Behold the man! Behold your King!

Thanks be to God for His immeasurable grace and mercy, who gives us the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and give us faith, that through this faith, we look to Jesus. Though it is hard to look at the humiliation, suffering and death of Christ, we are called to behold Him. In Him, through His death and resurrection, there is salvation. Salvation cannot be found in another.

Behold the man! Behold your King!

Yes. Jesus is our King. We cannot look away. We cannot look on with indifference. We cannot look and mock. We cannot look and consider ourselves first. We cannot look and hate.

By the grace and power of God, we can and do look to Jesus as our savior. May there be many more who come to know Jesus as King and savior. He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Behold the Man! Behold your King!
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