Main point summary
This degenerating drama presents the weakness, humanity and authority of the king and the shocking rejection of the king.
Then Pilate took Jesus
and q flogged him.
r 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 s I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing t the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate said to them,
u “Behold the man!”
When the chief priests and the officers saw him,
they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
v “Take him yourselves
and crucify him,
for w I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews 1 answered him,
“We have a law,
and x according to that law he ought to die
because y he has made himself the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this statement,
z he was even more afraid.
a He entered his headquarters again
and said to Jesus,
b “Where are you from?”
But c Jesus gave him no answer.
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?”
Jesus answered him,
d “You would have no authority over me at all
unless it had been given you from above.
Therefore e he who delivered me over to you f has the greater sin.”
From then on g Pilate sought to release him,
but the Jews cried out,
“If you release this man,
you are not Caesar’s friend.
h Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”
So when Pilate heard these words,
he brought Jesus out
and sat down on i the judgment seat
at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic 1 Gabbatha.
Now it was j the day of Preparation of the Passover.
It was about the sixth hour. 1
He said to the Jews,
k “Behold your King!”
They cried out,
l “Away with him, away with him,
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
m So he n delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Luke 23:13-16; Mark 15:15
Cf. Isaiah 50:6, John 18:22
Cf. 1:49; 3:3-5; 18:36
Cf. 1:34; 5:19-30
Cf. Matthew 27:19
Previously, in chapter 18, we have seen Jesus being betrayed, and then being led to Annas' house, Caiaphus' house and finally the praetorium, where Pilate was Peter meanwhile, is led to deny Jesus before the rooster crows And then we begin this dramatic viewing of the narrative from outside the praetorium, where Pilate speaks to the Jews (because they were so picky about defiling themselves while committing gross injustice and murder) and inside the praetorium, where Pilate converses with Jesus The Jews have accused Jesus of claiming to be King. Jesus was indeed king and the Jews didn't want this king, so they leverage that to claim that Jesus would be a threat to Caesar Pilate doesn't buy any of that after talking with Jesus and finds him innocent. He then tries to release Jesus, indirectly calling him a prisoner. But the Jews, in turn, refuse and demand the release of the insurrectionist, Barabbas. And so we arrive at chapter 19. SCENE 1: Inside the Praetorium The 'crowning' of the King (19:1-3) Pilate beats Jesus up and lets the soldiers loose on him, probably to please the Jews, and still release Jesus The soldiers make a mockery of Jesus, based on the accusation from the Jews, but ironically and inadvertently call Jesus by his real title - King of the Jews (Cf. 1:49; 3:3-5; 18:36). Note: Which punishment is John referring to here, in 19:1 (cf. Lk. 23:13-16, Mark 15:5, Mt. 27:26)? There were 3 forms: fustigatio, flagellatio & verberatio, each increasing in the degree of torture, the last one being so awful, that the victims' bones and entrails were left exposed. The last was usually meted out prior to crucifixion It seems most likely that the one here is fustigatio, because Pilate wants to please the Jews and release Jesus while teaching him a lesson "But this means that Jesus received a second scourging, the wretched verberatio after the sentence of crucifixion was passed. This would hasten death, and the nearness of the special [Passover] Sabbath of that week provided the officials with some pressure to ensure that the agony of crucifixion, which could go on for days, would not be permitted to run too long (Jn. 19:31-33). This also explains why he was too weak to carry his own cross very far..." (597, PNTC The Gospel According to John by DA Carson) How do we, like Pilate, try and please others, despite knowing the truth? Cf. Isaiah 50:6. While the Romans looked at the weak, pathetic man in front of them, the reality was that this same man was the real king who was fulfilling Scripture. In all of Jesus' weakness, he was really powerful. SCENE 2: Outside the Praetorium The humanity the King (19:4-8) 19:4-5 Pilate brings out this pathetic figure, bleeding, beaten and harmless and proclaims - Behold the man! Behold this man who you this is a great and dangerous threat to Caesar! To Pilate, this was a very funny joke. But ironically, here is indeed the man - the word become flesh (1:14, Hebrews 2:1-9), and we are witnessing his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son, the man who is more to be feared than any other man. Note: Pilate is making a mockery of the Jews and trying to release Jesus 19:6 The Jews are angered at Pilate's mockery and stick to their original accusation - which demanded crucifixion. Pilate dismisses them and tells them to either accept his decision or go crucify him themselves. 19:7 Till now, the Jews accused Jesus of sedition - a threat to Caesar and his empire. Seeing that politicising Jesus didn't work, they now reveal their real accusation. They accuse Jesus of blasphemy (Cf. 1:34; 5:18-30, 8:58-59, 10:30-36; Leviticus 24:16). 19:8 The superstitious Pilate gets frightened, probably because of a kind of fear of god or because of his wife's dream (Mt. 27:19) Do we try to please both God and man? Again, when we look at this weak king, it was in his weak manhood, in his suffering, in utter reliance on the Father and the Scriptures, he was all-powerful. SCENE 3: Inside the Praetorium The authority of the King (19:9-11) 19:9-10 Pilate questions Jesus, to get rid of his fear, but Jesus, as prophesied in Isaiah 53:7, remains silent. Pilate gets irritated and flaunts his power - he is the ultimate authority around here. 19:11 Jesus speaks and tells Pilate who really has ultimate authority. God is sovereign and in control. If Pilate has authority, it flows from the hand of God. In fact, whatever Pilate had before him came from "above", through the more active means of the one who delivered Jesus - that person was more guilty because he played a more active role. What Pilate was doing was sin - pleasing everyone, and God's sovereignty over 'he who delivered' Jesus is no less compared to Pilate. In other words, God was in control and man was also responsible for his actions. So instead of alleviating Pilate's fears, Jesus only confirms them. He was a sinner, albeit lesser in grade compared to Jesus' deliverer. And even while Pilate and Jesus' deliverer are working their evil out, God was working and displaying his authority. No matter what evil people work, God's sovereign purposes are good. "What you meant for evil, God meant for good". The cross is both the most gruesome act of evil and the most glorious act of good, where both God's sovereignty and man's responsibility are seen together. SCENE 4: Outside the Praetorium The rejection of the King (19:12-16) 19:12 Pilate is convinced that Jesus is innocent of both sedition and blasphemy and so, tries to release him. But the Jews pull the rug from under Pilate's feet and accuse him of treason! Tiberius Caesar's ruthlessness toward competition was well known and Pilate had to be in his good books as well. He had become a man who failed to execute a man brought in for sedition, by the very enemies of Caesar! Now, who did the Jews think their king was? 19:13 Pilate's hands are tied and he pronounces judgement. But who really is the judge here? Cf. 5:22 19:14 Jesus ate of the Passover proper, and this was the Friday before the Sabbath within Passover week. We don't know what the time was exactly, but John is making some point here - (1) about the sixth hour was when the Passover lambs would be sacrificed in Jerusalem; (2) These proceedings have taken quite long since 18:28 and while we see more and more reason for Jesus to be released, the world demands that Jesus be crucified. It was this world that God so loved, to give his only begotten Son as the Passover Lamb to be sacrificed. 19:14 Pilate, now furious at his own helplessness at the hands of the Jews, makes a mockery of their accusations - your King. This pathetic man is your king. But that same man was their King and they did not receive him (1:11). 19:15-16 The Jews retort by demanding that Jesus be crucified. Pilate again mocks them - "Shall I crucify your King? " and the Jews say something - "We have no King but Caesar". What about Judges 8:23 and 1 Samuel 8:7? Who really was blaspheming? Israel had abandoned her king - the Lord. Pilate satisfies them and hands Jesus to his soldiers to be crucified. Isaiah 53; John 20:31 Do we see ourselves as more holy than the Jews or Pilate? Let us beware. If Jesus died for us, it was because we were his enemies and his haters. How careful are we not to be blind at God's working in our lives? It is easy and natural to be blind to God, but it is horrible. Who really, is Jesus to you?