Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
“[He] suffered under Pontius Pilate.”
Line from the Apostles’ Creed
Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor to whom the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to be crucified. He initially told them to deal with it themselves (John 18:31). Upon their insistence, he interviewed Christ. In this fascinating conversation/examination he has with Jesus, Pilate goes from simply doing his job (18:33) to wondering what truth is (18:38, there is debate if it’s a sincere question or a sarcastic/flippant response to Jesus) to hearing Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and trying to release Him (19:7-12). In short, Pilate is another person coming face to face with Jesus and having to reconcile who He is and what they must do in response to Him, much as we have seen throughout the book of John (i.e., Nicodemus, the Woman the Well, the Blind Man and his parents, etc.). Pilate was confronted with the Truth right before him. He sought to release Jesus several times and even had Christ flogged so as to present Him pitifully to the crowd. He wanted them to see Christ as their King (even though it would seem he didn’t fully appreciate who Christ was) and said, “Behold the man!” That remains a powerful statement, these two thousand years later. Who Pilate meant for folks to behold, we are meant to behold as well. We are meant to see Him and to respond to Him, just as all of the folks who encountered Jesus did in the book of John. Jesus even said that those who are of the truth will know His voice and listen (18:37). If you already know Jesus and His voice, keep seeking Him and listening! If you don’t know Jesus, please examine your life and see if it seems like Someone is trying to get your attention. If He is, please take the time to respond to Him and examine who Jesus is. For in truly beholding Him, seeing who He really is, and trusting Him, we are saved (Rom. 6:23). And, as we further behold Him, we are transformed to become more like Him (2 Cor. 3:18). While Pilate meant it as a plea to the crowd to have mercy on Christ (which they didn’t) and also as a sarcastic commentary on Christ, “Behold the man” is exactly what we need to do. As a worship song says, “Come and behold Him, the One and the Only.”
Brothers and Sisters, let us behold the man!
Please read John 19 for Sunday.