This is the sermon for Wednesday, April 7th, 2010.
John part 81
John 19:1-8 HCSB – 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. 3 And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face. 4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.” 7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever.
Last time we looked at Pilate’s private interrogation with Jesus. In this private interrogation Jesus admits to being a King, but His kingdom is not an earthly, physical one, but a heavenly, spiritual one. The end result of this interrogation is the fact that Pilate doesn’t find any fault with Jesus.
In tonight’s teaching we are going to see that Pilate gives in to the mob shouting crucify; even though He knows that Jesus is not guilty of the charges against Him. Why does He give in? Fear.
You see, fear can be a powerful motivator. It can manipulate us to do the wrong thing, or not act at all. That is why in the midst of fear our faith must be anchored in Jesus Christ. Our only hope of conquering fear is found in Him.
Let’s now begin to unpack the text tonight.
Adding insult to injury.
John 19:1-3 HCSB – 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. 2 The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. 3 And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face.
Verse 1: The first thing we see is that Pilate had Jesus flogged. This was perhaps was to appease the Jews in order to release Him, and maybe to teach Jesus a lesson. Luke gives us further detail.
Luke 23:16 HCSB – Therefore I will have Him whipped and [then] release Him.”
Notice what Matthew says concerning the flogging.
Matthew 27:16 HCSB – Then he released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Notice that John has Jesus flogged before Barabbas is released; while Matthew has it after. That is one reason why I believe there were two flogging events.
Verses 2-3: The soldiers add to the flogging by twisting a crown of thorns and jamming it on to Christ’s head. How did they jam it on to His head? By hitting Him with a reed stick.
Matthew 27:29-30 HCSB – 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit at Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head.
They also mocked Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Of course Matthew adds, “then they spit at Him.” Then they also hit Him by slapping Him in the face according to John. They were literally slapping Jesus around.
Pilate: Declares that Jesus is not guilty and joining in the insult.
John 19:4-5 HCSB – 4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
Verse 4: This time Pilate declares that he finds not ground for charging Jesus. Basically he is declaring that Jesus is not guilty of the charges brought against Him. He does this, not in private, but publicly before the mob of people. This declaration should have ended this event right there and Jesus should have been set free, but it didn’t.
Verse 5: Notice that Pilate has Jesus taken out with the crown of thorns and a purple robe declaring, “Here is the man!”
Two possible reasons:
- To show the crowd that Jesus was not a possible threat to Roman rule.
- To show the Jews what would happen to anyone who might oppose Rome.
The Life Application Commentary of John on verse 5 says, “Pilate’s ‘Here is the man, or behold the man,’ comment was in a form of a ridicule.” In other words, “How can you possible believe this pitiful man’s claim to be your King?”
The Jews response: They want this man’s blood!
John 19:6-8 HCSB – 6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.” 7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever.
Verse 6: It is not enough for the Jews to just see Jesus beaten, bloody, and humiliated. They want this man dead and His blood spilt in death! Notice what Matthew says.
Matthew 27:24-25 HCSB – 24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
Have you ever wondered why they wanted Jesus crucified as opposed to just stoned? I believe the answer is actually found within the Law.
Deuteronomy 21:22-23a HCSB – 22 “If anyone is found guilty of an offense deserving the death penalty and is executed, and you hang his body on a tree, 23 you are not to leave his corpse on the tree overnight but are to bury him that day, for anyone hung [on a tree] is under God’s curse.
Essentially, Jesus hanging on a cross of wood would be Him hanging on a tree. He would be considered cursed by God – the ultimate act of humiliation.
Now notice what Paul wrote in Galatians.
Galatians 3:10-14 HCSB – 10 For all who [rely on] the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law. 11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. 12 But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. 14 The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
We can’t obey the Law perfectly, and are therefore under a curse. But Jesus became a curse for us in order to redeem us from the curse! That is another reason why He had to die by hanging on a cross.
Next, Pilate wants no part in Christ’s death: “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.” This is Pilate’s second public admission of Christ’s innocence.
Verse 7: The Jews answer Pilate by appealing to the Law.
Leviticus 24:16 HCSB – Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD is to be put to death; the whole community must stone him. If he blasphemes the Name, he is to be put to death, whether the foreign resident or the native.
They are claiming the charge of blasphemy against Jesus. But notice the punishment is not the cross, but stoning in this passage. They left this out in order to manipulate Pilate.
Verse 8: This manipulation worked, because Pilate’s fear grew after this.
Three possible reasons for Pilate’s fear:
- He might have thought that Jesus was a god. Rome believed in people obtaining god-hood.
- His wife’s dream (Matthew 27:19).
- The crowd rioting.
Whatever caused the fear, it manipulated Pilate.
As we conclude, let’s remind ourselves that God is in absolute, complete Sovereign control of these events. Pilate may be manipulated by fear, but it will go according to God’s Sovereign plan.
Always remember, whether good or bad – God is Sovereign. Rejoice in His Sovereignty.