“Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” John 19:5 (NKJV)
Disloyalty to a Roman Emperor was no small matter back in its time. The Sanhedrin of Jesus’ time knew that all too well. “If you release this man you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar”, they would shout to Pontius Pilate as he tried to set Jesus free after they arrested Him and wanted Him put to death. Now, as true as that was, this was putting Pilate is in a pretty bad spot. Caesar Tiberius had already warned this guy about his behavior.
I, for one, believes he knows this Man before him has done nothing to violate Roman law. Pilate’s wife would also plead with him to “leave that innocent Man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about Him last night.” As many a man would agree, “happy wife, happy life” so there’s that but then there are these Jews. These stiff necked, insolent, backward thinking Jews. Isn’t there something more important to deal with then some Galilean calling Himself the Messiah? Hasn’t there been many who claimed that spot up until now? Can’t we just give it a miss for once? Geez…
But all of that falls by the wayside when we read the encounter Pilate has with Jesus of Nazareth. All four Gospels has the account in some way, shape, or form but the funniest one for me is in John 18. Basically, Pilate has to go to the door of his own office because the accusing Jews won’t go into it, least they’ll be defiled and cannot participate in the Passover, but please help us execute this guy. Luke’s Gospel tells us they lie to Pilate about Jesus preaching on not paying Roman taxes before they say Jesus has claimed to the Messiah, the King of Jews. So, what’s Pilate to do but ask Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” “It is as you say”, replies our Lord and Savior.
Now, I guess many of you pretty much know how the rest of this goes. In Matthews Gospel Pontius Pilate will wash his hands and declare himself innocent of shedding innocent blood. The mob will still scream for Jesus to be crucified. He’ll be flogged first, kicked around by Roman soldiers and then as a final insult to injury, Jesus will be dressed in a purple robe, crown of thorns and Pilate will present once more to the crowd. “Crucify Him!!” I gotta wonder here for a moment, did an uncompassionate man become appalled by the lack of compassion these Jews had for one of their own? What is truth indeed.
When I think about the moment where Pilate presents Jesus, bloodied and humiliated, and then proclaims “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man), it is as if Pilate is giving the Nation of Israel their last chance to accept their Messiah. But what no one in the crowd that day could see was this was prophesied centuries earlier…
“He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5
It wouldn’t be much longer after this moment that the Nation of Israel would see their precious Temple destroyed by the Roman Empire and they would have to scatter. So where does all this history and prophecy leave us? Well, with a better understanding on how to Behold the Man, I hope.
It’s very unlikely that Pilate had any clue to the significance of those words “BEHOLD THE MAN” but to those of the Sanhedrin???? This little diddy from Zechariah 6:12-13 shoulda burned on their consciences, “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
Jesus tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen. Aren’t you glad that you have? Isn’t it good to know that this Man can not only fulfill centuries worth of prophecy in one life time but has time to reach down from His Throne and save you so that when you gather corporately with others who, know the same saving grace knowledge of Jesus Christ, can for an audience of One…Behold the Man? Amen!!
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Think About This: “No human—Jew or Gentile—can be held responsible for the death of the Messiah; He died because it was the Father’s plan for Him to die.” — Mitch Glaser