John 18:38 – 19:6 :
When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But you have a custom, that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Therefore do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
Then they all shouted again, saying, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him. The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment. They kept saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and they kept slapping him.
Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”
Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify!”
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him.”
It is not uncommon for people in jail to say they “didn’t do it,” but the fact is, there are some who really didn’t do it. It is tragic to see it when injustice is perpetrated by those who are supposed to be giving justice. Sometimes, leadership is more interested in politics than justice. A true leader cares more about justice for the poor than they do about their own position, but here we see that even in a less than perfect “truth less” society, it was obvious that Jesus didn’t have a real reason for being punished.
Here, Pilate states three times that the charges against Jesus were baseless.
It says they “took Jesus, and flogged him.” At this point, it would have been easy for Jesus to die. Roman floggings were severe. I am told that people who were flogged would confess even to crimes they didn’t do. It is horrible that Pilot chose to flog an innocent man. It appears that Pilate detested the Jewish leadership’s behavior at this point and used Jesus as a way to publicly humiliate them by beating Jesus and dressing Him up as their king. It is quite possible that Pilate knew that they were forcing his hand and he decided to get back at them. They refused Pilate’s offer to release Jesus and had Barabbas released instead. Now Barabbas, being a zealot as we learn about in other gospels, was probably not good for these Jewish leaders ask for. Zealots were committed to the destruction of Rome and were kind of like terrorists to them because they weren’t afraid to resort to acts of violence. It is pretty clear from Pilot’s attitude that he already didn’t like the Jewish leadership much.
Jesus is well aware of what it is like to be accused of something He didn’t do and get punished for it. He doesn’t like it when it happens to one of those He loves like you and He won’t let injustice go unpunished. Any unbeliever who fails to become a Christian by accepting Jesus death for themselves will feel the horror of the punishment for their sin when He returns.
These things that Jesus did, He did for us. The only way that Jesus could save us was by being innocent. A sinful man would have to die for his own sin, but Jesus was the only one who was perfect and God’s own Son and He was the only one who could be executed in our place.