Lesson 106


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

Today's Scripture

When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge against him. 18:39 But you have a custom, that I should release to you one at the Passover. Therefore do you desire that I release to you the King of the Jews?"

18:40 Then they all cried out again, saying, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.

19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and flogged him. 19:2 The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment. 19:3 They said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and they struck him with their hands.

19:4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him."

19:5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man!"

19:6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify! Crucify!"

Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him."

19:7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."


 Today's Lesson 

Pilate has interviewed Jesus. He had asked Jesus if He were the King of the Jews and Jesus had told him that He was a king, but His kingdom was not of this earth. Pilate knew that this man was no threat to Rome but when Jesus called Himself a king, Pilate could not simply give Him His freedom. Pilate wants to keep the peace with these Jewish leaders. So Pilate makes a deal with the devil in this section of scripture. He will not make the decision to condemn or release Jesus but he will allow others to do an injustice. And, he will put his official power behind their injustice.

 

Pilate leaves Jesus in the Praetorium and goes out again to the Jews. He tells them that he finds no charge against Jesus and he gives them the opportunity to set Jesus free. One prisoner may be released at Passover. He gives them the choice to release Jesus. But the Jews choose another to be released, a man named Barabbas.

 

So Pilate turned Jesus over to his troops to be tortured and beaten. They flogged Him and jabbed a crown of thorns down around His head. They dressed Him in a royal garment and mocked Him as they tormented Him. All of their hatred for the Jews was poured out on Him.

 

After He had been flogged and beaten, after the thorns had pierced His brow, after He had been mocked in royal garments, Pilate brought Jesus out again before the Jewish leaders. Pilate again tells them that he finds no charge against Jesus. But instead of taking pity on Him even now, their hatred for Him mounts until they cry out "Crucify! Crucify!"

 

Pilate tells them to take Him and crucify Him themselves because he does not find any charge against Him. But the Jews were adamant that Jesus must die. He has made Himself to be the Son of God.

 

This is a difficult passage to cover. The story is told in straightforward narrative but there is real pain and blood beneath the words. No one should have to endure flogging and torture. The weak were known to die just from the flogging itself. But the injustice does not come simply because it was barbarous. It was not just that He was innocent for innocent people suffer injustice all the time in our world.

 

What makes this passage difficult is knowing that He is innocent AND YET He endured this treatment because of me. Each lash was a lash he bore for me. Each insult was rightly mine. In my own sin and rebellion to God I reject Him and push Him away, even today … even knowing what I know now. Jesus was willing to bear this torture and pain to bridge the chasm that not only separated me from God once long ago, but the divide that would separate me from God even now, even today.

 

The gift is beyond value, beyond price. God's grace is freely offered and freely granted. BUT, let us never forget that this grace was earned at a very high price. Jesus Christ was willing to bear the lash and bear the thorn and bear the indignity and bear the cross so that that grace might be freely given. There is no sacrifice that is worthy of what He endured. Nothing short of our complete devotion is worthy of Him!

 

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