John 19:1-3 (NIV) 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 struck him in the face.
On verses 1-3: There are no words to describe the kind of shame, suffering and humiliation Jesus went through on our behalf, even before he was sentenced to die on a cross. That includes the flogging of Jesus’ body, the mocking of Jesus by placing a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe, the verbal abuse and the physical beatings Jesus received. Though Jesus was innocent and the last person who deserved this kind of treatment, Jesus willingly suffered all of this for us from people who could not come close to Jesus’ integrity and innocence.
John 19:4-16 (NIV) 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “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 Jews 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 Jews 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 Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “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. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
On verses 4-16: Pilate was the Roman governor and in this scene, every action he takes, every decision he makes, and every conversation he engages in, whether with the Jews or with Jesus himself, is him trying to exercise and display his authority. Yet Jesus hits the nail on the head in verse 11 when he says, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” In other words, all authority ultimately comes from God above. There is no human being who has inherent authority apart from God. Any authority any person ever has is because God decided in His mercy and wisdom to give that person such authority. So may we have a humble attitude toward any authority that we are given, realizing that authority ultimately comes from God and does not stem from us.
Jesus, the very people You came to serve and to save handed You over to be humiliated, embarrassed, beaten and eventually killed. Misunderstood and humiliated, You took on a kind of shame and pain that is far beyond what most of us can imagine. There are no words to describe all the suffering and humiliation You went through. I stand in awe of You and the fact that You went through all that suffering, pain and humiliation for all of us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!