1 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 3and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”
5When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6As 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.”
7The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
Commentary: The title, “Son of God” was meaningful to Romans. In fact, Caesar Augustus declared himself the son of god because he was heir to the power and titles of Julius Caesar, who had been declared a god. This sheds some new light on Jesus saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.’ Pilate had to choose. Tiberius or Jesus? The Kingdoms of earth or the kingdom of heaven? Power or Truth?
8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and 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?” 11Jesus 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.”
12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13When 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). 14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
Commentary: John’s reference to the time and day always has theological or symbolic meaning. At noon on the day of preparation, priests in the temple began slaughtering the Passover lambs. John wanted to stress that at noon, Jesus would be hanging on the cross as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed at the temple.
15But 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.
16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
Commentary: Edmund Burke wrote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.”
Personal Reflection and Discussion
Why do you think human beings get caught up in mocking, humiliating and/or bullying other people? Have you ever seen that kind of attitude in your own thoughts and actions?
1. What do you think Pilate was hoping would happen when he had Jesus flogged and then brought back out to the crowd?
2. Remember what time of day it is. Who were the people in a crowd that morning – when most of Jesus’ followers were still asleep after the Passover meal the night before? Have you ever seen a situation where people went to great lengths to get something evil done “behind closed doors” or “in the middle of the night” or “before anyone could stop it?”
3. If Pilate thought Jesus was innocent, why did he go along with the chief priests and allow Jesus to be crucified? (Pilate ultimately rejected truth in order to preserve his power.) Have you ever “wimped out” and not stood up for someone? What made you unwilling to stand up, or speak up? Often the urge to preserve our comfort in the “here and now” can override our commitment to obey God because his “rewards” are often intangible and almost always delayed, which makes obedience a matter of trusting God. Each and every day we must make these choices.
4. Why do you think Pilate got worn down and gave in? Has there ever been an issue or a situation where the stress or pressure got to you and you gave in? What part of your character needs to be strengthened these days?
5. Why do you think the people were so violently opposed to Jesus?
6. What do you think John was trying to convey by quoting the phrase, “We have no king but Caesar?” Is Jesus truly ruling and reigning in your heart, your words, your actions and your life? Is there another “king” ruling in you?
7. In what way(s) are you like Pilate?
8. If you had been there would you have been yelling, “Crucify Him?” (One intriguing note: I now know there was “no other way” for my sin to be forgiven – than for Jesus to die, so as I imagine myself there, in the crowd seeing Jesus’ tortured and crucified – I remember that it is my sinfulness that caused this – and then, tearfully – yes, I would say, “Crucify Him.”)
Jesus, help me to never just sit by and simply lament about evil. Help me always to stand up for what is right and to confront injustice; hating sin, but loving sinners. (Ro 12:21; Gal 5:6; Gal 6:1-2; Eph 5:11; Jas 4:17)
Greek Word of the Day
English Word: flogged (3146) | Transliterated Word: mastigoo (mas-tig-o-o)
To flog – chastise
Family Engagement Activity
Today, make up some situations in which kids their age often get bullied. Have each family member play the part of the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Talk about thoughts and feelings that come up and different techniques the bystander can use to help the victim.
Ask your kids what could happen if the kid that’s being bullied continues to be bullied. Ask what could happen if they put a stop to it?
Consider joining up with other families of the school your kids attend and develop a community of children that would go to bat for the victims. Some call this the Swarm approach. When a group of kids sees a bully, they all become spokespeople for the one being bullied and stop the abuse while befriending the victim.
Going Activities To Consider
Today, consider watching the movie Passion of the Christ.
Search for a way you can stand up for what is right, today.