16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace. It was called the Praetorium. They called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 The soldiers put a purple robe on Jesus. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. 18 They began to call out to him, “We honor you, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they hit him on the head with a stick. They spit on him. They fell on their knees and pretended to honor him. 20 After they had made fun of him, they took off the purple robe. They put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to nail him to a cross.
There are two main points to this passage for today that are highlighted to me.
The first is that Pilate is often regarded as a villain in the judgement of Jesus. But he was facing a torrid mob mentality, a crowd who wanted to see a brutal punishment of a man of whom I think, most did not care whether he was innocent or guilty. Pilate was under a lot of pressure to please the crowd, and it is easy for me to judge Pilate for being weak. But I ask the question, would any of us have responded differently?
I like to think I would have, but I am also challenged that maybe I would have reacted in exactly the same way, “wanting to satisfy the crowd”. This is a good wake up call in reminding me that I must always look only to the approval of God, and not man.
The second half of today’s passage is distressing. Jesus is flogged severely, and while in a state of intense pain and complete exhaustion, he is then ridiculed and mocked, even spat upon, an act of horrid disrespect. What is Jesus’ response to this? He says nothing. He offers no defence. He knew what the final outcome would be. He knew his purpose.
What a contrast we see. Pilate felt he had to respond to the crowd to defend his role and acceptance of the crowd. Jesus did not need to respond to defend himself for he knew his purpose. How humbling to think that Jesus lived and died for each of those mockers. We are no different really, we all fall short as sinners, and so desperately needed Jesus at that time to remain true to his purpose.
Thank you Father for your faithfulness to me, and may I continue to grow, not to be a crowd pleaser, but to be steadfast in the purpose that you have for me, regardless of the opposition. Amen.
Written by Steve Fell