John 19: 1-16 Easter at Christmas: Behold Your King

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 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.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 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.” 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.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 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 .  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


  1. What does the crowd declare about Jesus?
  2. What does Pilate think of Jesus?
  3. Who is Jesus declared to be?
  4. How do you react to Jesus the King?
  5. How does Jesus’ kingdom flourish through suffering?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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4 Responses to John 19: 1-16 Easter at Christmas: Behold Your King

  1. Dylan says:

    1. The crowd declares that Jesus should be crucified because he has claimed to be who he is, the Son of God.
    2. Pilate sees no fault in Jesus. He wants to free him, though he is frustrated because Jesus doesn’t seem to be fighting for his life. Still, I wonder if any reason would be enough for Pilate to prevent this awful event. He eventually hands him over to be crucified because he is more concerned about what others think about him than doing what is right.
    3. Jesus is declared to be the King!
    4. Sometimes I think of Jesus as my friend. I imagine him riding in my car, singing songs with me. Other times I see him as the King. With Jesus as my King, I must take a step back and worship him for all his glory. I must submit to his ways if I want to do anything for the kingdom. Though I fear him, he loves me and cares for me as the best kings do.
    5. In suffering we must lean on God completely. It in this time, we are closer to him than we ever have been before. We know how great he is because of the peace we have despite the circumstances. This light shines into the world causing non-Christians to ask, ‘Why are they so joyful in their suffering? What do they have that I don’t?’ Much of the Kingdom is built through suffering but our hope is that one day, there will be no more.

  2. Mary says:

    Part 2: (see yesterday’s for part 1, if you like)

    In his blog, David Mathis wrote these 5 “truths” to remind ourselves of when we think about Christmas spending:

    1. Money is a tool (Phil. 4:10–20)
    2. How we use our money reveals our hearts (Mt. 6:21, 25–33)
    3. Sacrifice varies from person to person (2 Cor. 9:7)
    4. Generosity is a means of grace (Acts 20:35)
    5. God is the most cheerful giver (Jn. 3:16; 10:18)

    I realize there is heightened thought about spending at this time of year for most people, but I think these principles apply all year. In fact, this got me thinking, should we even buy gifts at Christmas? My husband and I don’t buy gifts for each other at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other holiday for that matter. We both have a gag-reflux to materialism/consumerism (though we do like nice things) and to superficiality, so why buy gifts? Out of obligation? To fill up our house with more things? So we can tell others what we got? NO THANKS! Instead, we celebrate special days by doing something together, maybe go out for dinner and a movie or just order a pizza and stay in for the night, putting away all the school and work stuff and giving each other our undivided attention. During the year, we randomly bring things home for each other, not out of obligation, but because we saw something and knew it would put a smile on the other’s face. Not to persuade you, but isn’t that so much better (authentic, heartfelt, and motivated by love) than, “give me a list of what you want”? But, that works for us because we both think/feel the same way about buying gifts. It takes intentionality, thinking, really knowing your partner, and a continual attitude of giving and loving the other person. This I think is how we should think/act ALL YEAR ROUND toward others.

    But still, the question of if we should give gifts at Christmas… Does this in any way point others to Christ? Can it be a symbol of hope? I struggle with this because of my gag-reflux toward materialism and superficiality. Mathis says in his blog, giving is “an opportunity to show, and reinforce, the place of faith and love in our hearts” and is a way to pursue living out the “greatest commandments”, loving God and loving others (Mt. 22:36–40). So, how do we do this in such a way that it shows love and points others to Christ, without contributing to the secular mindset of materialism? Must it be a gift that we purchase, or an attitude that we cultivate where we look for people in need and how we can help meet those needs, so that they might come to know the love of Christ? How about a gift of money for someone who is struggling to pay their bills, inviting someone over for dinner who has no one to spend Christmas with, or buying/donating gently used coats, hats, and mittens for the homeless. And with each “gift”, a message of hope, for we do not and could not love others if God did not show us love first, by offering up His Son to show us what righteousness is and to reconcile us to Himself so that we could too become His righteous agents of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11–21; 1 Jn. 4:7–21).

    But the question remains…what do I do about the family who is coming for Christmas that EXPECTS gifts? (and who already know Christ, by the way.) Will buying gifts for them result in them loving God more or loving stuff more? I guess it depends on what I get them. The gifts I buy not only affect them, but also are an image of my heart, and serve to reinforce my own thinking, speaking, and acting. Paul says that in our ministry of word and deed, Christ “leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are “the aroma of Christ to God…” (2 Cor. 2:14–15). If we choose to participate in gift giving, what we buy impacts those around us as well as ourselves. Something we need to consider is, whether or not we are helping ourselves and others conform to Christ and being a light among those who are perishing, or if are we succumbing to the world’s pressures to fit us into its mold. Are we living intentional lives and looking to Christ for our value and worth, or are we living a drugged apathetic life, and placing our identity in our functions and material things?

    In the words of Paul, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2. Cor. 9:15; cf. Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8). May we intentionally be the aroma of Christ this time of year and throughout.

  3. jelee15 says:

    4. Amazing love! How can it be that You, my King, would die for me? Amazing love! I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor You. Help me to honor You in all I do.
    5. Jesus’ kingdom flourishes in suffering through people finding strength and peace that only He can give.

  4. Ed says:

    This all must take place for prophecy to come true and begin Grace. Jesus will also use this time to show others the truth like the twelve disciples and the billions who will read his words here after. Jesus is Lord and Savior our King. God’s word is spreading from Jesus through us to bring people to the spirit to be saved.

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