A DIFFERENT KING
Read: John 19:1-12
“1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” (NIV John 19:1-12)
Study: The religious leaders insisted—“we have a Law, and according to this Law he ought to die because he made himself out to be God’s Son.” Jesus had suffered much, flogged and abused by the Roman soldiers (cf. John 19:1-5). But the enemies who hated and feared him wanted more. Even Pilate, a jaded Roman politician, thought perhaps something otherworldly was at work, and asked Jesus, “Where do you come from?” (John 19:9) Locked in their earth-bound outlook, the religious leaders never asked themselves if Jesus’ claim might be credible. When Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here’s the man’ (John 19:5). John seems to have planted a double meaning in this scene. On the one hand, we’ve mocked and hurt this man—won’t you pity him? Yet there was also a note of grudging admiration—somehow this man’s dignity and self-possession show us what it means to be human. How can Jesus, “the man,” help to sustain and strengthen you when you face relational or physical pain?
Pray: Loving Lord, Pilate said, “Here’s the man,” and the religious leaders snarled “Crucify him.” You’re still “the man,” and I want to follow you, not crucify you. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Amen.