Behold the Man!

“And Pilate again went out and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out again in order that you may know that I find nothing of cause in him.’ Therefore Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorn vines and the purple robe. And he said to them: “Behold the Man!”

(John 19:4-5)

 

On the face of it, it appears that Pilate is making one last, half-hearted, attempt to assuage his own conscience. And that may be so, but I think that there is more at stake than just a man trying to soothe his own worries for they intentionally leave the crown and robe upon Jesus. Thus the mockery of Jesus is made to extend to the mockery of the Jews. It is as if Pilate is saying to the Jewish authorities, “Look, I am giving you your king back, your king of thorns and a tattered cape.

Either way, Pilate parades Jesus before the crowd, making a spectacle of this “King of the Jews” — a pauper king in the eyes of the Roman authority — and pronounces again that he has done nothing to justify the penalty of death. Indeed, hear the emphasis he makes when he says, “behold the man!” Or perhaps we could word it: “Look at what we have reduced this man to; surely he is not a deliverer but simply a broken man before your eyes.” Yet Pilate only judged power by earthly standards.

But how often are professing Christians also guilty of viewing power by earthly standards as well? How guilty we are of appealing to worldly powers and not resting in the almighty power of our savior? How often we get intimidated by the threats this world lifts up when we serve the God who spun this very world into being. Beloved, let us live with the confidence that comes from serving our great King and not back down from the call he places on our lives. May our lives proclaim not the words of Pilate: “Behold the Man!” but may we proclaim: “Behold our God!”

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