John 19:1-16: King Jesus
December 16, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
By this point Pilate is desperately trying to have someone take the responsibility for Jesus out of his hands. In order to achieve a lesser end of Jesus’ significant humiliation and physical torture, he has him flogged. Such floggings were no minor corporal punishment, but could themselves kill a man.
The soldiers mock Jesus, dress him as if he were a king, and sneer at him while they hit him. Pilate brings him out: “Behold the man” (19:5). In other words, you have no reason to be threatened by this pitiful human being. Don’t keep on seeking the death penalty.
But the chief priests are not satisfied and insist on him being crucified—and then heap more pressure by disclosing that Jesus, according to their understanding, has blasphemed by calling himself the Son of God. This worries Pilate even more because he has enough religious sensibility to have a numinal sense of fear related to the idea that Jesus is the Son of God.
Pilate begins to appeal to Jesus to answer his questions. Jesus tells him that those who handed him over to Pilate are guilty of a greater sin, and that Pilate’s authority is one that comes from above. Now Pilate wants to do anything he can to release Jesus. But the chief priests bring out the big accusation: Jesus has claimed to be a king, and therefore is in political opposition to Caesar. At the end they will even say, “We have no king but Caesar”—not only a barefaced lie, but also an extraordinary capitulation for a pious Jew awaiting the kingdom of David, who recognized God as their ultimate King.
So Jesus is crucified. Through it all, Jesus is sovereign. God is in charge. And as the doom comes, it is actually the salvation for all who believe, and all is being worked out according to God’s plan. Take comfort then: whatever you are going through, you have a Sovereign God who so mediates trouble that it is sieved so as to generate good for those who love him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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