Lesson 68

Behold the Man

". . . Pilate . . . said to them, See, I bring Him out to you so that you may know that I find no fault (crime, cause for accusation) in Him."
John 19:4 (Amplified Bible)

When the supper was finished, Jesus went with eleven of his apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While they were there, Judas (the twelfth apostle) came to Jesus with a band of men armed with swords. They took Jesus to the high priest, Caiaphas. The chief priest and all the council wanted to have Jesus put to death and accused him of many things.

Then they took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler of Judea. Pilate realized that Jesus was a good man and that the Jewish chief priests were wanting him killed for their own selfish reasons (Mark 14:55).

Just the week before, Jesus had ridden on a donkey into Jerusalem and the people hailed him as a king. They thought that the Romans would surely put Jesus to death for that!

Learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate tried to get rid of the responsibility of condemning a man he believed to be innocent. He sent him to King Herod, Tetrarch (ruler) of Galilee. But Herod was fearful of dealing with Jesus for he had heard about the miracles he had performed, so he sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Pilate did not like the Jews but he did like this man they had brought to him. Hoping to avoid more trouble from the Jews, Pilate tried to satisfy them by having Jesus scourged (whipped). But this did not satisfy the mob and they cried, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Jesus was not their idea of a king and conqueror. They expected one like Alexander the Great, one who would save them from their Roman captors. They despised him for his nonviolent ways and for the meekness, gentleness, patience, and love he expressed to everyone. They knew that many people were acclaiming him as the Son of God and that Jesus was warning them against dishonest and greedy priests. They wanted this stopped!

At Passover time it was customary to release one criminal from prison. Pilate offered the Jews their choice of releasing Jesus or Barabbas, a convicted criminal. The mob chose Barabbas! (Luke 23:13-25). Although Jesus could have asked God to free him from his captors, he knew that the cause for which he came (to save all mankind from death, Luke 19:10) would require his death and therefore made no attempt to escape.

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