search icon search iconSearch A-Z Index Members IconMember Portal Members IconOnline Giving
Members Icon


Welcome to the First Presbyterian Church portal. Please choose an option below to see our events, small groups or to give online.


First Thoughts Blog

← Return to blog

Lent - Day 27

Day 27  Friday



That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


John 19: 1-16
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.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. 


What did Pilate hope to gain by flogging Jesus?
Pilate shows the bloody Jesus to the crowd with these words, “Behold the man!”
Consider how this declaration is meant to reduce Jesus to a beaten man. Consider how often the “opposition behind the opposition” wants to deface the image of God in humanity. We are constantly shown images of humanity helpless before the impulses of our lusts, our angers, our greed and our tricks. We see the good portrayed as fools, the righteous depicted as tyrants and the kind trampled. How often it is communicated that resistance to the way things are is futile. We should just take it and shut up. 
Jesus well could have felt defeated in the face of acute suffering, the overwhelming power of Rome and the frenzy of the mob. But he remained centered, determined and at peace. Think what strength of faith it took to reply, with all visible evidence to the contrary, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” 
Pilate, the man with the power, grew unhinged by Jesus’ calm and he gave into the demands of the crowd. Three times he declared that he found no guilt in Jesus. Can you see any way out for Pilate? Ultimately he lacked the strength to release him, becoming linked until the end of history with the execution of Jesus.  


These gods mean nothing to me now.
Jupiter, Mars, Artemis: all of them jokes.
The Emperor in his glory receiving adulation at the Colosseum:
A self-indulgent poser. He is no god.
But to whom shall I turn?
My officers have seen such death that they hold to no gods at all.
But I cannot believe there is nothing more.
No higher glory than man, man so easily beaten, deceived, mocked and defeated.
Is there only silence above? Emptiness within?
That King of the Jews had something.
A light. A peace. A trust.
Even beaten to a pulp he radiated beauty,
He seemed more a man then than I’ll ever be. 
Authority from above he claimed.
From above but flowing from within.
What is truth? I had mocked him.
But he was unfazed.
“My kingdom is not of this world.
I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
His voice rang with truth.
How I wish I could hear it again?
Would I hear the truth if I heard him?
Did I do the right thing?
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).




Posted in: