Gospel of John [19:1-16]. Christ's trials, part 13. Behold the Man.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [19:1-16]. Christ's trials, part 13. Behold the Man.


Announcements/opening prayer:



When the scourging was ended the soldiers clothed Him and led Him back to the Praetorium in order to torture Him and mock Him some more.


Yet, before they redressed Him and led Him off to be crucified, He was presented to the crowd by Pilate in this debased state. This is recorded by John.


JOH 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him.


JOH 19:2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe;


JOH 19:3 and they began to come up to Him, and say, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and to give Him blows in the face.


JOH 19:4 And Pilate came out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him."


JOH 19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold, the Man!"


The appearance of Christ dressed up as a pantomime king more enraged the priests rather than pacifying them, for in their eyes they were being more exposed to ridicule than He.


They only saw that Pilate was mocking their idea of a Messiah and are not moved an iota in compassion towards Jesus. This is what the Bible calls short-sighted - not being able to see past the nose on your face or being self-absorbed.


Arrogance is always self-absorbed and to a completely illogical level.


JOH 19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify, crucify!" Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves, and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him."


We've already noted this from Matthew that Pilate was passing off his own blame onto them, but it is also another way of teasing them.


"Take Him yourselves and crucify Him" is another way of teasing them since Pilate is fully aware that they are unable to do so.


It appeared to Jesus' accusers that their attempt to have Him convicted and sentenced by Pilate on a charge of sedition was going to be unsuccessful. They therefore tried to gain their end by another route. The governors of Judaea not only had the duty of enforcing Roman law in the province; they also undertook the responsibility of respecting and (where necessary) enforcing Jewish religious law. The claim to be king of the Jews was a capital offence against Roman law; the claim to be Son of God was a capital offence against Jewish law.


Pilate would not send Jesus to the cross for sedition, so might Pilate agree to send Him for blasphemy?


JOH 19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God."


JOH 19:8 When Pilate therefore heard this statement, he was the more afraid;


Pilate, like most Romans, is a very superstitious man. He has been impressed enough by Jesus' behavior to know that there is something very different about Him. He had received word from his wife that she was terrified in a dream and that he should have nothing to do with this righteous man. It is very likely that he has heard of the miracles performed by Jesus, though dismissing them as inflated stories, but now the phrase "Son of God" seems to have put Pilate over the top. He was afraid before, of course not revealing this to anyone, but now he has become more afraid.


This is yet another pause given to Pilate to add to the list of pauses that he has already had this morning. He has plowed each pause over by resorting to his authority and to his strong emotional connection to that authority.


JOH 18:35 Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?"


JOH 19:9 and he entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.


Jesus has actually already answered this when He said that His kingdom is not of this world. He could have gone into more specifics like heaven or the third heaven, but what did such a thing mean to a pagan Roman? He would not have understood any reference to heaven.


JOH 19:10 Pilate therefore said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?"


Pilate is annoyed by Jesus' silence. It borders on contempt of court; moreover, it is foolish to him, for Pilate is the one man who can be of any use to him in his present situation.  


'No one who has the power to condemn is without power to acquit,' says a maxim of Roman law.


Since Pilate mentions "release" first and then "crucify" probably means that he still intends to acquit Jesus.


Pilate mentions his authority which proceeds from Rome and the emperor. The Romans called it imperium and it gave the holder great discretionary power.


Is Jesus referring to the authority of all governments or particularly to Pilate's present power to release Him or crucify Him? They are very much related and I would think that He is referring to all kingdoms of the earth and all authority on the earth with emphasis on two particular men, Pilate and Caiaphas.


All authority is given or allowed from above. In saying this Christ is emphasizing Pilate and Caiaphas in particular.


For that reason the divine background of Pilate's power is described as "given from above." Jesus' kingdom has just been described as "not from this world", and Jesus has repeatedly described the origin of His own coming and work as "from above." It is "from above" that Pilate also has received his power and in that context that he plays his divinely given role. Like Pharaoh in Exodus God is not forcing Pilate but in His omniscience, a concept inaccessible to our understanding, God allows men to do certain things at certain times in history that achieve His ends and does not violate their free will choices. Pilate has just as much of a choice to release Jesus as Pharaoh did to release the Jews from Egypt.


ISA 46:10

Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying,' My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';


But Jesus sees behind the power of the emperor delegated to the governor as coming from the grace of God.


PRO 8:15

"By me [wisdom] kings reign,

And rulers decree justice.


ROM 13:1

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.


JOH 19:11 Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin."


The verb "delivered up" has been used to denote Judas' act of betrayal, however, Judas has been out of the picture for a while, since the arrest in the garden. Plus, Judas did not deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Sanhedrin did that. The verb has also been used in 18:30, 35 of the action of Jesus' accusers in handing Him over to Pilate.


The verb "delivered up" is used in the singular and there is one person in mind - the leader of the Sanhedrin or Caiaphas.


Since all authority is divinely appointed, both Pilate and Caiaphas are responsible to God for how they exercise their authority. Pilate was investigating a charge brought to him and thus was exercising his divinely appointed authority, however he will eventually be persuaded by the threats of the crowd and religious leaders to condemn Jesus to crucifixion even though he finds him not worthy of that sentence and in this he fails in his authority.


Caiaphas, who for reasons of political expediency handed Jesus over to him on a charge of sedition, for which he hoped a capital conviction would be forthcoming, was abusing the authority which attended his sacrificial office as high priest. Caiaphas violated Jewish law and manipulated the Sanhedrin in order to protect his own wealth and power.


Pilate is not innocent when he hands Jesus over for crucifixion but Caiaphas has more severely violated the delegated authority given to him by God and so Caiaphas has the greater sin.


Caiaphas through the scriptures should have known that Pilate's power as well as his own was derived from God. But Caiaphas corrupted his own power and attempted to usurp God by using Pilate for his own ends, which is only God's prerogative. Caiaphas sought to manipulate Jesus, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and the nation of Israel to his own ends. Again, this is God's prerogative alone.


God honors the authority that He appoints and visits its abusers with discipline. Whatever authority you possess should be taken as from Him and should be exercised in light of Him.


All have volition so all have authority over their own soul, but more authority comes to parents, husbands, pastors, or leaders in any realm. If you have such authority then God has granted it. You have not attained it without His approval. There are a lot of bad leaders out there, yet God has allowed them to be where they are. We are to submit to authority, even bad authority, unless we are impressed to do something in violation of God's way. Jesus submitted to both Caiaphas and Pilate because this was in the plan of God for Him and He understood that.  


This shows that there are greater and lesser sins, which is likely a reference to greater or lesser discipline from God as well as greater and lesser suffering under the natural law of volitional responsibility or reaping what one sows. Sin is sin and all of it is hated by God. One violation of the Law, no matter how minor, was a violation of the whole Law. Unbelief in Christ as the Savior is the one and only decision that puts a person in the lake of fire, no matter how many sins one has committed or of what type they may be. Yet Jesus relates here that there is one with the greater sin.


In speaking of all the miracles that He performed in Capernaum that were not seen in Sodom and Gomorrah:


MAT 11:24

"Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you."


Even after this second interview with Jesus, Pilate still attempts to release Him, but the Jews then pulled out their trump card - "you will be opposing Caesar."


JOH 19:12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar."


Pilate had no mind to take up the religious charge of blasphemy and was about to pronounce a formal acquittal when a new sinister charge was now made towards himself. There had been other occasions when the Jews, offended by Pilate, found the means to complain against him to his superiors and it succeeded in having Rome force Pilate to make certain concessions. What would the emperor's reaction be, if it were reported to him that his governor in Judaea had acquitted a man brought before him on a charge of sedition with emphasis on how well founded the charge was, Jesus had threatened the temple and made Himself out to be the king of the Jews in direct opposition to Caesar? Did Pilate want to go with true justice and take his chances with Rome? Pilate chose not to take the chance and he took his seat on his judgment seat or bema and pronounced the charge of sedition deserving crucifixion. This was the trump card that they had been holding and they waited for the right time to throw it on the table.


JOH 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.


Pilate sat down on his bema which would have been a raised platform where he would discharge his judicial functions. It was called Pavement because it was paved with stones or what is known in Hebrew (really Aramaic) as The Ridge.


JOH 19:14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"


According to John it was now getting close to noon time as hours were reckoned from sunrise. However Mark has the crucifixion beginning at the third hour and then darkness coming at the sixth hour.


/MAR 15:25

And it was the third hour when they crucified Him.\


/MAR 15:33-34

And when the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"\


In many cultures a new king is presented to others in the government and pronounced king formally to which they witnesses respond in some gesture of recognition. The British would respond, "God save the king." Pilate presents Jesus to them in the same manner.


Pilate has been put on the spot by the chief priests, and sees no alternative to condemning Jesus to death, but he has his revenge.


/Pilate gets revenge by insisting that this bloodstained, disheveled figure that was beaten and scourged to a pulpous mass was their king, and inviting them to recognize Him as such. \


The idea that He could be their king they dismiss with indignation and state their own blasphemy by stating that they have no king but Caesar and it will be Caesar who destroy them and their city.


JOH 19:15 They therefore 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."


/They fully and openly reject Jesus as their King and the chief priests openly state that only Caesar is their king.\


As if they actually have loyalty to Caesar, they take a cynical pose of loyal subjects, as if Roman's themselves.


Pilate knew from long experience with the Jews the hypocrisy of this sudden loyalty to the emperor, yet he realizes that they have cornered him and outplayed him.


/By this time the Roman world had developed the cult of Caesar, a religious system in which the Roman emperor was worshipped as a god.\


Christianity came into this world with its unique imperial claims of the kinship of the Lord Jesus Christ and it would clash with Rome. Caesar Augustus sent out a decree to take a census of all his people, or as Luke puts it, "that the whole inhabited earth should be enrolled." In other words Caesar was saying that they are all mine. One young couple took part in this census, Joseph and Mary and their newborn baby Jesus. The angels announced Him to the shepherds. Is it any wonder that the angels did not announce this to the Sanhedrin?


/LUK 2:10-11

"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord [Master or King].\


However, the refusal of the religious leaders and the number of Jews to accept Him as their Messiah and King does not stop the fact that He is such.


/Php 2:10-11

at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.\


JOH 19:16 So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.