Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgement seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic[a] Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.[b] He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Behold Your King
The one who we celebrate as born in the manger died on the cross. The beginning of Jesus’ life on earth was ignoble as were his final circumstances. If Jesus was a king, he was unlike any other king. Which king gets born in an animal’s feeding trough and then crucified by Roman soldiers on a cross. Yet at his birth three gifts are offered by magi from the east. His birth is heralded by angels. His death is surrounded by strange signs and the Roman governor declares that Jesus is king of the Jews whilst at the same time providing the means to have Jesus killed.
This lack of nobility has been a stumbling block for many through the ages. Muslims tell of how God replaced his prophet Isa (Jesus) with Judas so that Jesus would be saved from such an ignoble death. Greeks rejected the idea that anything good could come from crucifixion. Jewish people saw that those killed by crucifixion were cursed.
However, John gives us the paradox of a king enthroned through execution. We see a man whose suffering is a sign of a kingdom beyond this world. Yesterday in class Karas, a student, was teaching and showed Ed’s story http://edsstory.com/ . Ed has a terrible disease but he says that as he gets older he continues to love the story of Jesus’ resurrection but finds more and more meaning in the story of Christ’s suffering. This last week my body felt awful after pushing myself really hard doing Workout Kidz. I wondered if I was seriously unwell. However, as I read John and felt the windows of relief coming back to my body, I sensed gratitude in ever increasing measure.
Suffering is a mysterious thing. Seeing Jesus’ dignity and control in the face of excruciating circumstances continues to point to something higher. Among other things it points to the reality that Jesus is King. Not the kind of kings we expect, but something deeper and more profound.
Jesus is king and I will extol Him
Give Him the glory, and honour His name
He reigns on high, enthroned in the heavens
Word of the Father, exalted for us
We have a hope that is steadfast and certain
Gone through the curtain and touching the throne
We have a Priest who is there interceding
Pouring His grace on our lives day by day
We come to Him, our Priest and Apostle
Clothed in His glory and bearing His name
Laying our lives with gladness before Him
Filled with His Spirit we worship the King
O Holy One, our hearts do adore You
Thrilled with Your goodness we give You our praise
Angels in light with worship surround Him
Jesus, our Saviour, forever the same
- What does the crowd declare about Jesus?
- What does Pilate think of Jesus?
- Who is Jesus declared to be?
- How do you react to Jesus the King?
- How does Jesus’ kingdom flourish through suffering?