August 26, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
“Behold the Man.”
Don’t miss the irony and seeming contradiction which begins verse 4. Pilate had just had Christ scourged, allowing his soldiers to beat and humiliate Him; now he brings Him out to the crowd with a profession of innocence. Is he claiming that all his torture failed to elicit from Christ a confession? Is he appealing to sympathy and pity in the crowd?
Picture the scene that day as the Lord Jesus comes out to face the mob, the Jewish leaders, and the Roman authorities. He is wearing a crown of thorns, and purple robe. John, directed by the Spirit of God, wants to remind us of the brutal scene of humiliation and the tell-tale marks it has left upon the form of the Son of God. Yet with stately dignity He comes forth to the gaze of all.
Can we fathom the grace of the mighty Creator, the object of angelic worship and homage, being arrayed before His creatures in a mock robe of royalty and a mock crown composed of thorns? Human depravity is juxtaposed against infinite moral beauty. At the birth of the Lord Jesus, when Herod realized he was mocked by the wise men, he took vengeance (Matt 2:16) and slaughtered all the infants in the coasts of Bethlehem. He would not tolerate mockery. Yet the Lord Jesus endured mockery and shame without a thought of vengeance or retaliation (1 Peter 2:23).
“Behold the Man” is Pilate’s announcement. Perhaps he hoped that the scene would satisfy the blood-thirsty crowd and he would be free of the judicial dilemma he faced. Yet the scene only evoked more intense cries for His crucifixion and death.
The cry of the nation, led by their leaders, is: “He made Himself the Son of God.” Yet, by grace, we know the opposite was the case: “He made Himself of no reputation” (Phil 2:7); “He made Himself poor” (2 Cor 8:9 lit).
1. It says in verse 6 that when they “saw Him, they cried out ..” Find other places in Scripture where the expression, “When ___ saw Him” is found and the reaction and response of those who saw Him.
2. Notice how everything is under the Lord’s control in these chapters in John. In 18:1, 4 “He went forth.” In ch 19:5 He “came forth” and in verse 17 “He . went forth.” John is depicting the burnt offering aspect of Calvary. How do these expressions fit in with that picture?