Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?”
Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Judas—whose feet Jesus had washed with love and humility just hours before—led a detachment of soldiers and Jewish leaders to Jesus knowing He would be arrested and killed. And indeed, after being questioned by the high priest and the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus finds Himself where He had predicted He would be all along—handed over to be crucified. This end was no surprise to Jesus. But His disciples, having heard Jesus’ seemingly outrageous predictions about His death earlier, must have been stunned. They were powerless to prevent His death and no doubt began to wonder if they had been wrong in thinking Jesus was the Messiah and promised king.
It is on Good Friday we recognize the weight of sin and the full power of death. For the disciples, Jesus’ death made the prayer of “Your Kingdom come” seem invalid and untrue. It is only through the mourning and contemplation of Jesus’ death does this become real for us. It is in this despair that the hope of the resurrection begins to become visible. And, it is the resurrection that shows that nothing will ever be the same.
JOIN US FOR EASTER ON SUNDAY, APRIL 1 at 11AM, at BUNKER HILL ELEMENTARY. Easter is the beginning of a story of endless possibilities; an invitation to experience something new. And, that invitation is for you.