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©Michael Player

Chapter 19:1-6 (ESV)

Posted on September 21, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19:1-6 (ESV) - Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

Question to consider: If Pilate thought Jesus was innocent, why would he have Him scourged?

When Pilate's plan to release Jesus with a Passover pardon failed, and the crowds instead asked for a robber named Barabbas, he tried one more time to get the crowd to change their minds by having Jesus scourged. If those who wanted Him crucified were worried about making sure people saw that He had been cursed by God, the humiliation of the scourge should have done the trick. Once people saw Him in His battered and humiliated state, covered in blood and spit, there would be no way they could mistake Him as the king who would deliver them from Rome.

The soldiers were well trained in the art of humiliation and torture. This may sound like a backwards way of thinking, but Rome’s reputation for being merciless was actually a way of limiting opposition and rebellion. It saved soldiers and kept the vassal states in line. When people were considering an insurrection or even a crime against the state, seeing a row of tortured bodies hanging on crosses was a huge deterrent.

So after flaying open the skin of Jesus’ back with whips embedded with sharp bone fragments and glass, they made a torturous crown out of thorns and put a king’s robe on Him. Matthew added that they gave Him a reed for a scepter. Then they mocked Him with false allegiance to show how ridiculous the idea was that this man could be king of the Jews let alone the world.

Pilate’s statement in bringing Him out was affirming that he thought Jesus could never be guilty of insurrection, for He was entirely broken. I’m sure he thought he was doing Jesus a favor because at least he was sparing His life. I’m sure after seeing Jesus in His humiliated state, it was not hard to get all of the people to turn against Him and join in the shouts to have Him crucified.

At that point, Pilate was ready to wash his hands of the whole situation and said if they really wanted Him crucified, they could do it themselves. He was not ready for how they would respond.


Dear Lord, thank You for Your willingness to endure the scourge of sin in order that we may be brought into Your family. May we show the same grace and mercy to those who insult us and do all kinds of evil against us for Your sake so that more people can come to You and live. Amen.