By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Chapter 19 is a difficult read.
After walking with Jesus these last 35 days, you almost wish it had ended in the Garden. We wish we could have stopped while Jesus was praying, that maybe God would answer His prayer and Jesus wouldn’t have to die.But then we flip the page and our gut twists in sorrow. The man we have been with, the man we saw serve the broken, heal the needy, reach out to the outcasts, and eat with sinners is now being mocked, flogged, and tortured.
Chapter 19 hurts. It’s bloody and raw. It’s filled with emotion and defeat. Hope rises when we realize that Pilate seems to understand who Jesus is, but we find ourselves distraught when he falls into the pressure of the Jews.
But, even though Pilate bends to their will, he still has the final word.
“Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews”’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’” (John 19:19-22).
Many times, Pilate is painted as the enemy in Christ’s story. But here, it seems as if Pilate realized who Christ truly was but was too worried about tainting his reputation to release Him. So, in one final move, Pilate attempts to put a spin on Christ’s execution.
The sign above Jesus’s head was not a charge, but Pilate was pointing to Christ’s true identity.
This broken, bloody, miserable, sorrow-filled man is truly King as He claims…and He’s doomed to die.
Would we act differently than Pilate? Would we stand up for Christ and demand His release? Or would we, too, be worried about Christ’s effect on our reputation? Would we be worried about losing our status or being the talk-of-the-town because of our beliefs?
Are we willing to stake everything on the fact that this man–this broken, bloody, suffering man–is our King?