John 19 Manipulated Distraction

Therefore, Pilate would not change the wording, therefore. I suppose, having this particular duty for a soldier, even though what executioners have to do is grim, the job had perks. They get the spoils just like any soldier of war would get. They evenly divided the clothing among the four of them, except for the tunic made without seams. Woven on the loom in one piece. I wove a bag that way once.  Fun and challenging. That would have been a valuable garment. And aside from whatever it speaks about the one who made it for Jesus presumably or bought it for Him, the fact is that they gambled over the piece and in so doing, fulfilled scripture.

These soldiers knew they were hanging a king. Added value. Were they confused? What did they think as they carried out the deed? I don’t expect they were too worried. Was there a larger number of soldiers who marched out with them to the execution? I don’t think so. That is not a detail we know. The concern for rebellion was the night before at the arrest. Now they have seen not only no opposition to the arrest but the events so turned that it seemed all agreed this was a good thing. So they could, the four of them, having just crucified three men, now let the ones who have come to see do their gawking while they get on about the business of waiting for the men to die, and dividing up the spoils.

Sedona Chapel of Holy Cross  17

The events had turned. The ruled people had been trumped by their own rulers and while many were busy with Passover preparations, God’s preparation, as Jesus, hung on the cross. When evil plots to do its work, it will be seen that it often does so behind the cover of distraction. Crowds can be manipulated and controlled. That is what a community organizer does; she figures out ways to mobilize the community to some action already planned out by those powers behind the scenes.

  • What areas in my world today are being so led?
  • Is it possible that I too am targeted by manipulation?
  • How can we as individuals be more aware?
  • Can I, and will I, choose to walk by the Spirit of Truth and not by the spirit of media and fear and rah-rah-rah?

Lord, make me faithful, keep me honest, filled with love and give me courage to stand for truth against crowd, humbly and willing to surrender all to Your greater long suffering, plan.

John 19 No Doubt

4 No DoubtWho went out that night and saw what was happening to Jesus?  John wants us to know what everyone saw that night.  He wanted us to know why Jesus was hanging on that cross. For the Romans, the point of crucifixion was not only to put to death criminals but to use the death to deter more criminals.  Thus, the judgment, the case against the criminal, the crimes they had committed, were posted on the cross so people would know why. First it would identify the criminal, and then it would identify the crime. They were written in the three common languages of the area, the local language first, (Hebrew), then Latin and then Greek. All the visitors from around the world, who had come to the city, would know why Jesus was on the cross. And what did His judgment say?

Jesus the Nazarene, the King of The Jews.

Jesus died because He is King.

Pilate had sensed the greatness of Jesus and he refused to change the judgment that hung on the cross. Those who refused to let go of their “religious order” their little realm of power in this world, did not, in their own selfish foolishness, know Him.

What is like this? When we create our own little world, even one we think is based on obedience to God in our churches or schools, we are always in danger of allowing ourselves to forget who is our king! Jesus’s parable about the king who set up a vineyard and sent his son to check on it, only for him to be killed by the workers, has been played out before their eyes.

How does this happen today, in a Christian organization, business, school or church? We get so caught up in our programs that we don’t even recognize our boss when he comes. I think that is why I like watching the show Undercover Boss. It’s the same scenario.

Pilate at least recognized the voice of authority and honored it on the sign. The Jewish authorities wanted to change it to preface it with “he said”. Isn’t it interesting how evil likes to twist the truth and can do it with two little words? Two little words, “he said”, is all it takes to cast doubt on the truth. Interesting also that back in the original garden, evil twisted the truth by casting doubt using the question “has God said…?”

Lord, keep me honest with You this day and every day. Let me not doubt Your word and let me remember what You have said and trust You fully. In Your perfect timing, You always keep Your word!

John 19 Facts


  • Pilate chose Caesar over Jesus,
  • Pilate declared Jesus King of the Jews.
  • The High Priests chose Caesar over Jesus.
  • So they took.
  • Jesus carried His own cross.
  • They took and Jesus went.

Not Jesus was taken, but that Jesus went. That was His choice to go, He allowed the process for He is King of the Jews. Jesus went carrying the means of His physical demise with him, so that the world would know what kind of death, by the actions of the world, He was condemned to. Willingly, Jesus went. Willingly He went to the place of death.

It was about six in the morning, it has been a dreadful night of suffering and trial. And now, before much of the city is awake, the efforts of a night’s work by the high priests is drawing to a conclusion. Others who are up early are in preparation for the Passover.

Where were the rest of the disciples this awful night of the arrest? Who was reporting back to the group about what was happening?

DSCN4600Jesus, carrying death on His scourged and bleeding back, is on His way to the place of death for the purpose of dying and thus destroy death- putting death to death!

Who has gone to the cross that morning as well? Who else must suffer this kind of death? Jesus did not suffer that long morning alone. He hung next to two others who had been paraded through the streets along with him as the soldiers marched them to their own moments of death. Jesus died between two sinners and He preceded them in His own submission to death.

Which sinner will I be like? From other gospels we know that Jesus never stopped His ministry, that even in the last moments of life, a person can choose to trust in Him and He will welcome them to where He already is.

Lord, let me trust You in everything of this world, in all my trials, all my decisions, all my choices and consequences of my choices. Help me this day to depend on You alone.

John 19 The Judgement Seat

Decisions that are made here are final and carry grave consequences and that word choice is not a pun. The fact that that word means what it does truly carries the meaning. The judgment seat is the place of life and death decisions. Pilate, a human judge, is not immune from the process.

IMG_4744John makes a point of telling us not only the day, but the hour of this decision. It is the day of preparation for Passover; it was about the sixth hour. John gives us these kinds of specifics because his gospel is all about telling us the signs that we might believe. This is one of the greatest signs. The Lamb of God is about to be killed as the sacrifice paid to protect us from the angel of death when it passes over mankind. The parallel is undeniable to the purpose of Passover. The timing is all God! And Pilate therefore said to the Jews,” Behold your king!” The answer to which not the crowd, but the chief priests, spiritual representatives for the nation, declare “we have no king but Caesar.”

Pilate’s judgment: Jesus is King of the Jews

Choice of the chief priests: Caesar is king of the Jews.

Consequence: Jesus death and resurrection as King of all life, Jews and Gentiles!

The inauguration of Jesus as true King started with a death march of a short and temporal human life and ended with resurrection to eternal life and opened the door to eternity. Jesus is the Door, the Good Shepherd.

John 19 Power Against Authority

Pilate made effort to release him; oddly,  it reminds me of a hospital crisis room. Thoughts such as “We did all we could”, or the ones who are suffering the loss do not want to hold the doctors guilty for the passing of their loved one. John says that Pilate did his best but when challenged on his loyalty to Cesar, then he caved. Where was Pilate’s loyalty? How was it that the words of the angry crowd were the words that influenced his decision? Who owns Pilate? The crowd or Cesar? If the media today were to pose a disturbing question, a challenging one, is there an obligation to answer it? Are not the tables of power turned here? If Pilate rules, then why does the crowd’s taunting question have power over him? Does the question contain the power of truth? Does it confront Pilate with the real issue? Who does Pilate belong to?

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    Who do I belong to?

  • What is my bottom line?
  • When or if I am challenged publicly, this will be what decides my direction, who is my boss?
  • The crowd, led by the high priests, deny their king. Do I, sometimes led by the crowd of public opinion, or by worldly authority, deny my King Jesus?
  • Do I sometime declare the authority of the world as ruler over me?

Whether the crowd spoke truly or not, the oath of allegiance Pilate gave to Cesar was his deciding factor. Jesus must be mine, regardless the consequences.

John 19 Power in Authority

Pilate was clearly agitated. He did not like the thoughts that he was thinking in the silence. He was afraid. He was uncertain, and he was in charge and would be held responsible for what was happening in this city he was ruler over.

Jesus had already told Pilate that He was not of this world. The Jews had just said He “claimed” to be the Son of God and they wanted Him crucified. What a responsibility! There are big crowds in the city whose temperature had already turned on a dime over this man. He speaks again out of his frustration with a “Don’t you know? question. To which Jesus responds with a “Don’t you know? answer.

  • What power do I think I have over any given circumstance?
  • Do I realize that I never have any power that is not given to me from above?
  • Is there sin involved in how I am using my position of authority?


When Pilate heard this, he wanted no sin accounted to himself in this circumstance yet Jesus, in His mercy, tells Pilate that there is another whose sin is greater.

Jesus compares one sin to another and tells us some are greater than others. Yet the act of sacrifice that Jesus is about to do, will cover every sin, no matter how great that sin is.

Pilate wants out. This is clearly a spiritual battle that Pilate has unwillingly been thrust into the middle of. He did all he could. He tries to release Jesus. The crowd calls him a traitor to Rome. So he would not deny Cesar. He could not stop what God had planned. Knowing it was sin, he attempted a ritual act of cleansing so that before whatever god this man might be the son of, he might claim innocence of that sin. “Out, out damned spot!” cried Lady Macbeth, accessory to a murder.

  • What sin am I guilty of?
  • How great is my sin?
  • Have I laid my sins at the foot of the cross?
  • Have I repented and left sin behind ready to live the life Jesus has for me to live through Him?
  • Do I confess consistently as I grow in Christ so that I may one day stand before His judgment seat and claim only His cleansing of me and nothing of my own action?

You and You alone have washed me and made me clean. You, Jesus, are my King!

John 19 Silent Answers

What a way to meet Jesus! When Pilate in fear and trembling asks the next question to The One who he has just been told claims to be the Son of God.

He is met with silence.

Where are you from?       Jesus did not answer this question.

Silence answered Pilate.

Pilate is left with silence to think what to do next. Prior to the beatings, Jesus had spoken to him, yet now He is silent.

Sedona Cactii 2

How do I handle the times when my answers are silence?

If I ask the wrong question, or ask in the wrong way, I may be met with silence. Or perhaps it is the thoughts and awareness behind my question that is the reason for silence. Perhaps I need to continue down that particular line of thought a bit longer before I ask my questions of God.

Pilate had just started thinking about real truth, his last question had been to say to Jesus, What is truth? And perhaps in the silence facing him was his answer and he  walked away from it.

When we ask deep questions of Jesus, He may use the circumstance to answer rather than words. Pilate was not listening to Jesus, but he did hear the Jews tell of who Jesus is. Let the experience speak in the silence. Think! Take another direction, perhaps another question based on the new information gained in the silence. Search for the truth. Listen in the silence. And don’t be afraid to ask again.

John 19 Fearful Decisions


I resist reading about Your physical suffering Jesus. It is abhorrent to me. I know the outcome but the process is so shaming I dread reading it. Oh Pilate, what tragedy in your leadership! Once again you confront the mob under your governmental position with your judgment. The man is innocent. But now they clearly want not just death, but crucifixion- the worst death possible under Roman law. The Jews refuse to do the deed. They tell Pilate Jesus has claimed to be the Son of God. Pilate understands gods and now he is sorely afraid! What a mess! How he must be filled with fear of the partially known. What is at stake? Is Rome endangered? Is it possible that Pilate’s choice will anger the gods and will cause a battle if he condemns this innocent king?

From the worldly point of view there is much confusion.

  • What is going on in my world today that is confusing?
  • Where is truth taking a beating?
  • How will I stand?
  • Will I stand alongside truth and take my beating and be displayed and mocked?
  • Am I willing to stand with my King Jesus when truth goes on trial?
  • Where do I stand?
  • How publicly am I willing to take my stand?
  • Do I hedge like Pilate, trying to find the safe place?

Lord, in times of trial, grant me the strength to stand with You. I cannot, in my flesh, succeed. I am weak and I fail and I fear. But with You alone, am I able. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit of Truth that I may stand.

John 19 Behold the Man!

Pilate did not accept the Jewish crowds demands. Not yet. He tried to appease them-to find another way to calm the angry mob, so he ordered abuse, a beating, an unfair punishment. One that would land on their king, The One Pilate knew was king but yet His own wanted death for Him. Pilate, a man, loyal to a royal system, afraid of a power he could see in Jesus and afraid of Jesus’s kingdom he could not see, must deal with this mob that could not see any of what he saw. So he scourged Jesus, Jesus was mocked for truth.


  • Truth rejected  is beaten up
  • Truth rejected  is mocked
  • Truth rejected is pointedly pressed upon from head to toe
  • Truth rejected is jeered at
  • Truth rejected is dressed in false robes
  • Truth rejected is spat upon
  • Truth rejected is smacked in the face
  • Truth rejected allows himself to be mocked, beaten, scourged, crowned in pain, pressed down, jeered at, dressed in comic hurtful false acclaim, smacked in the face with rejection and put on display. Truth stood on display.

Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.   Behold the man!

Behold The Man!

John 18 Evil Hates Truth

DSCN4379 What was Pilate thinking when he got the response from the Jews? He was clueless that they could hate their own true king so much as to want Him dead. How could they miss it so? In his own short questioning, the authority was undeniable. Pilate called Jesus King of the Jews, and it enraged them.

When evil intent hears truth they don’t want to hear, it just might enrage the hearer. Don’t be surprised by the anger, the tirade or the reaction I might get when confronting evil with truth.

In Pilate’s situation, the Jews response to his offer to release Jesus as the Passover release customary on that day is met with anger. They wanted a thief over life; death rather than all life; they preferred one who steals that which belongs to another, that one is valued over the One who is the giver of all.

  • How can I discern when someone is not on the Lords side?
  • What choice do they make?
  • What do they value in relation to life and death?
  • Who do they value?
  • Do I value Jesus over my own life?

I pray Lord, if ever tested on this point, I will trust You over fear, trust in You, author of all life, over the voice of evil and death.

Forgive us faulty humans Lord Jesus, my King!

Choose life and the giver of life, choose Jesus!