Summary: Pilate learned a difficult lesson that hopefully we can each avoid as he made “cowardly concessions”.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
Introduction: On September 30, 1938 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to England and proudly held up a document he had signed with Adolph Hitler which he declared to promise “peace in our time”. Hitler had invaded Czechoslovakia and under the agreement he would be allowed to stay there but go no further.
This policy of appeasement they hoped would keep the enemy at bay and forestall a war. One year later, however, England declared war on Germany because as Chamberlain and the rest of the world had discovered you cannot make deals with the devil because he is a liar.
Several centuries before this took place another man also discovered the dangers of making deals with the devil and those that choose to follow him. Pilate stands at a crossroad even as we all do and had to decide what to do with Jesus and His claims of being Lord. Pilate learned a difficult lesson that hopefully we can each avoid as he made “cowardly concessions”.
We make deals with the devil when we…
1. Attempt to appease the world. (vv. 1-6)
Pilate just said, “I find no fault” in Jesus and the people have said give us Barabbas and crucify Jesus.
Pilate has Jesus scourged. They used what a flagellum. The flagellum was made of many leather thongs. To the thongs they tied lead balls for weight and sharp pieces of bone and metal to grab and tear the prisoner's flesh. It would literally rip the skin off the body.
v. 2 – Following that the Roman soldiers weaved a crown of thorns with thorns several inches long and forced it down on Jesus head piercing his scalp and face.
Remember in Genesis 3:17-18 God said that the curse on man’s sin would be the ground would now produce thorns. Jesus literally has this symbol of sin placed on His body.
Then they draped a purple robe around his shoulders and began to repeatedly punch Him in the face and mockingly chant, “Hail King of the Jews!”
I want you to remember this picture in your mind so that you never forget FALLEN MAN HATES GOD!! You cannot make deals with these kinds of people. Paul said of the lost,
“Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; Romans 3:13-16
Pilate thought that if I just illegally have Jesus roughed up then they will be happy.
You and I do the same thing when we try and appease the world. “Okay, I won’t talk about Jesus or I will just mock Him along with you. I will just act like the rest of you and please you and it won’t be so bad.” That temptation is always present when you are around lost people.
Scripture warns us that appeasement is a trap that if we try and negotiate with the devil we will get in trouble.
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
We need not fear what man can do.
Peter and John had the same thing happen to them but they had a different response.
They called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20
vv. 4-5 – Pilate finishes torturing Jesus and brings Him back out to the people and once again reminds them that he personally thinks Jesus is innocent.
If that’s true, why did he beat the stuffing out of Him?
“Behold the Man!” – This was Pilate’s way of saying look at Him. He’s no threat to you. Perhaps he thought maybe if I appease them a little then they will finally like me. “See how poorly I’ve treated Him? Let Him go!”
He discovers you cannot negotiate with the evil ones.
“NO! Crucify! Crucify!” They cry out for His blood!
Pilate tells them, “No, He is innocent. You crucify Him.” knowing full well that they cannot legally do it.
2. Boast of our position. (vv. 7-11)
“Jews” – John’s word for religious leaders.
They tell him that according to Jewish law He must die since He claimed to be the Son of God.
v. 8 – This makes Pilate extremely nervous not because He is a believer but because as a pagan he believed in multiple gods and that sometimes the gods would come down and have babies with humans like in mythology thus creating demigods (part god-part man).