Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe…
…So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
(John 19:1-2, 5)
This is an invitation open to all: “Behold, the Man!”
What a shocking sight, really. To think that the Most High God, Creator of all things, would actually appear this way to us; bloodied and battered rather than honored and exalted. For just a moment today, let’s imagine the scene.
Behold the Man. What is it we see?
To some, He appears to be nothing more than an utterly defeated man. To the chief priests on that day, he appeared to be a blasphemer worthy of a more brutal death than stoning. Pilate saw a man without guilt. Others in the crowd may have seen nothing more than a spectacle, or a criminal, or may have given Him no notice at all.
Take a moment and behold the Man…
In truth, He is an anomaly; a living paradox — the Son of God and the Son of Man. The Creator clothed as one of His own creatures; the Eternal One submitting to torture and death.
Behold the Man.
There He stands — Redeemer, Savior, Sacrifice. From His unlikely birth to His willing death and beyond even that to His incredible resurrection, let us behold the Man.
Here is our true King, the King of kings, dressed though He may be in our sin instead of the glory that is His right and due. From the purple robe now adhering to the lacerations on His back to the entwined branches of thorns on His head, He is covered in rivulets of drying blood.
Though He had done no more than expose the corruption of the human heart, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and forgive sin, He stands before Pilate and the mob wearing shame, dishonor, reproach — none of which rightfully belongs to Him.
There He stands, clothed in gore-streaked garments of mockery and shame so that we may be clothed in His righteousness.
Behold the Man.
If any in the crowd knew Who He was and what it was He came to do — to give Himself as a ransom, even to offer pardon for the very ones who bloodied Him if they would take it — if any knew, how could they not love Him?
If only we could understand the extravagant nature of a love that would drive the Most High God to confine Himself to the limitations and weaknesses of a Man, even to offer up Himself to pay the penalty of sin.This is a ridiculous love; a love we would not even offer to a friendly acquaintance, much less a sworn and spiteful enemy. But He did.
Behold, the Man — the Holy One who willingly accepted the burden of guilt for a creation that despised and rejected Him many times over; who willingly accepted the cost of my sin and charged it to His own account even though I rejected Him at the time. Behold the Man who willingly did the same for you, if only you will accept the forgiveness He offers.
Behold the Man.
Is He not glorious? Is He not worthy of all our devotion? When I look upon the truth of what He did and the stark contrast to what I deserve, all that I am overflows in gratitude and worship. Oh, what He has done for us; what a price He has paid so that we may not die in our sins but rather die to sin and live for Him, both in this life and in Eternity!
It is no wonder that Paul could write to the Philippian church, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Behold the Man!