“Here Is The Man!”
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 19:2a (Holman) The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, . . .
Thorns resulted from our sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-18). Had we not sinned, there would have never been thorns. This crown of thorns was Nature’s sermon, proclaiming Jesus was bearing our sin.
Our King endeared Himself to us through suffering. He wore this thorn-crown for our benefit. A converted Tahitian, capturing the glory of this truth said, on his death-bed, “Jesus gives me a pillow for my head without thorns.”
When John Huss was to be burned, they put on his head a paper hat on which they drew three demons and wrote the title, “Heresiarch” (chief heretic). Huss said, “My Lord Jesus, for my sake, did wear a crown of thorns: why should not I, therefore, for His sake, wear this ignominious crown?”
The Crusaders offered to crown Geoffrey as King of Jerusalem. He declined, saying, “I will not wear a crown of gold in the city where my Savior wore a crown of thorns.”
John 19:2b . . . and threw a purple robe around Him.
This was maybe the robe Herod’s men had mockingly put on Jesus (LK 23:11). Purple was worn by governors and generals as a symbol of power.
The robe was given in mockery, but bore its own symbolic message to the power Jesus has over mankind. Though King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus wore a robe of contempt that we might put on a robe of righteousness.
John 19:3 And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and were slapping His face.
The hatred of these soldiers was directed more at the Jewish nation as a whole than at Jesus in particular. Roman soldiers hated the Jews.
Jesus happened to be a handy target on which they could spew venom. The soldiers were poking fun at the whole Jewish nation, insinuating this weakling was the only kind of a king they could ever muster.
The soldiers saw in Jesus a man worth only 30 pieces of silver, but He owns the whole world. This mocking homage was a perversion of the genuine homage Jesus will someday receive from every human being.
John 19:4 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.”
By exposing Jesus to shame, and treating Him with contempt, Pilate showed the people this prisoner was no threat to the government. Pilate wanted the rabble to see there was no possibility of Jesus overthrowing Rome.
This Galilean was not a dangerous enemy to be feared. If the crowd had been sincerely concerned about a rebellion, one look at the humiliated Nazarene would have ended their fears. A casual glance at Jesus would make it impossible for anyone to take the ridiculous charge of the religious leaders seriously.
Pilate obviously tried to convince the crowd Jesus was not vying for an earthly throne. The Procurator’s words and efforts were useless. He might as well have been speaking to hungry wolves about the innocence of a lamb.
John 19:5a Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
He whose head had borne diadems wore a spiky crown. He who had worn the royal robes of glory wore a cast-away robe of earth. He who is our source of delight became the essence of anguish.
How could we have done such terrible things as we did to Jesus? Does human depravity know no bounds? Is there no limit to our treachery?
Dwelling on these scenes drives my heart to anguish. My limbs seem weak at the thought of what we did to Jesus. Yet even as our spirits sink, we lift our eyes above the human treachery to behold God’s goodness.
Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by His wounding you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24). Our physician was scourged that we the patients might be healed.
John 19:5b Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
“Here is the man!” Yes, Jesus was a man, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. His skin was lacerated, His body bruised, His brow punctured, His blood shed. There can be no doubt about His humanity.
“Here is the man!” The King James Bible, which reaches its four hundredth anniversary this year (2011), uses the strong phrase, “Behold the man!”
Behold the man, Pilate. See an extraordinary prisoner.
Behold the man, Herod. See your future Judge.
Behold the man, Religious leaders. See the Prince of Peace you rejected.
Behold the man, Roman Soldiers. See an innocent victim.
Behold the man, Jerusalem mob. Look at Him whom you pierced.
Behold the man, Nicodemus. Despise your silence.
Behold the man, Peter. Hate your denial.
Behold the man, Judas. Bewail your betrayal forever in the Lake of Fire.
Behold the man, John the Beloved. Try to dry your weeping eyes.
Behold the man, Mary. Mourn your Bethlehem babe.
Behold the man, disciples. Rue your cowardly absence.
Behold the man, O peoples of today. See God adorned in love.
Pilate did all these things to humiliate Christ, but through the centuries these badges of infamy have been adored by the saints. These stripes and mockings were intended to bring reproach, but instead brought our adoration.
“Behold the man!” Nothing rouses love like a look at the suffering Savior. His blood has its own compelling beauty.
“Behold the man!” The cross is Christ’s magnet, luring people to Him. “If I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:32).
“Behold the man!” Fasten your gaze on this wondrous attraction. Continue to look until you see God our Savior, and then race to Him for refuge.