Love Poured Out: Jesus Condemned
Thursday: John 19:1–16
So far this week, we’ve looked at Jesus arrested, and Jesus accused, and today our series of Easter Week blogs continues as we see Jesus condemned.
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.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaicis Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
“Behold the Man” Pilate declares as Jesus is presented to the people having been flogged. Behold the man. These three short words were packed with more meaning than Pilate could have imagined. This was the 6th day of the week, the day of preparation before the Sabbath. “Behold the man” on the 6th day. This sounds familiar. It was not the first time that Man had been presented on the 6th day. When God created the world, it was on the 6th day that He formed Man, making us in His image, making us male and female. As His image-bearers we were tasked with the job of caring for His creation, looking after that which He has made as His representatives in His likeness. But when man turned from God, pulling away from Him and His truth, all creation suffered the effects. Genesis 3:18 tells us that thorns and thistles sprung up from the ground, a constant reminder of the curse — man separated from God, life exchanged for death.
But behold this man on this 6th day. He is the One John described so poetically in the first chapter of his gospel. The Word who was with God at the beginning. The Word who is God. The Word through whom all things were made. The Word who became flesh. Behold the God-Man. Behold He who perfectly bears God’s image. Behold ‘the fullness of Deity in bodily form’ (Col 2:9). Behold the last Adam. Behold the Righteous one, declared by Pilate to be not guilty. Behold Him there. And on His head, a crown of thorns. On His head, Man’s curse. My curse. Your curse. Our sin, on His head. And as the thorns pierced his skin and blood spilled down, love and mercy flow from him to us. Love and mercy from the face of God, to undeserving sinners. The curse is to be undone. Death is to be put to death. Behold the King of love, the Fountain of Life who would now give Himself to us, to make us like Him. Behold the Man. As Tom Wright puts it in his ‘For Everyone’ series, “look at this man, and you’ll see your living, loving, bruised and bleeding God”. Or, as Stuart Townend puts it:
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss -
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross!
Jesus, with great joy we declare you are our King, the God-Man, our Saviour and today we will cry out praise and adoration!