19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
This passage focuses on Pilate’s interactions with Jesus. Pilate expresses such a complex mixture of emotions and attitudes towards Jesus. Disinterest and disdain to the point of having Jesus flogged and allowing his soldiers to do whatever they wanted to him. And yet, upon hearing that the Jews insisted he claimed to be the “Son of God”, Pilate is quite afraid and seeks to clarify what such a reference might mean from Jesus. I also see Jesus in this account, beaten, bloodied, humiliated, and yet still composed. Composed and assured – there is no fear of Pilate in Jesus.
For me, this is a confronting account of the complex mix of human brokenness being confronted with the composure and assurance of the Son of God. Whilst I have never been in a position to treat Jesus like Pilate literally did, I know that Jesus confronts me – even His great goodness and kindness is confronting when I consider my own efforts of goodness and kindness. I have come to realise this is a good thing, a wonderful thing in fact. Because Jesus didn’t come just to be a good man. He came as the Son of God to save me, to save all of us, in our broken humanity. And I need to be confronted with the need for salvation in order to want to accept it. Otherwise, I just plug away like everything is hunky dory! Passages like this help me stay confronted, help me stay in a place of seeking out and accepting His salvation, goodness, kindness and grace…to transform my life into something that truly is good, kind, and filled with grace.
Lord, I thank you for the confronting nature of your word. Which here gives account of the confrontation of Pilate’s brokenness by Jesus’ composure and assurance. Lord, thank you that you alone are true and pure salvation, goodness, kindness and grace. Help me draw in deeper, closer to you, and allow you into all of my brokenness – even when it is deeply confronting and painful. I must have this confrontation, or else I stay in my broken condition. You did not come to suffer and die upon the Cross to leave me unaided in my brokenness. Amen
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh