Jn.19: Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.
4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
Oh how can my heart continue to beat when I think of what my Savior endured for me? Look how they scourged Him and beat Him and spit on His face and then when He is bloodied beyond recognition they mock Him. And there He stands, a shell of a man, and Pilate yells “Ecce homo!” which means “Behold the man!”.
Look what they have done! Look what we have done! Look what He has done! Oh my dear brethren, as you look at the photograph which is a visual representation let us not forget that He endured the reality of such a vicious beating which after Pilate’s mocking will lead Him to a cross. And did He realize that most men would reject Him? Of course He did. But did He realize that wicked and greedy men would use Him for their own gain? Yes, he did.
And here we are listening to men who are preaching some kind of golden goose and they call him “Jesus”. But that is not Jesus. What we hear today are enticing words of men’s wisdom. They make Him a patriot and a financier and a medicine man and a hater of sinners. But look at Him! Behold the man! Ecce homo! Is this the Jesus men are preaching and following? Are we called to use His wounds and unbearable beatings and His elongated sufferings and even His death so that we may play the harlot and reap what this world has to offer? Are we not called to walk in His steps? Oh how great a sin men are committing when they use His name to line their own greedy pockets. It is blasphemy at its zenith.
This world has always been a den of thieves, but as Jesus saw in His day wicked men have used the world as their template and turned the faith into a den of thieves as well. And in this day the deceptions are much more sophisticated and lucrative than they were in Biblical times. Preaching Christ and Him crucified is no longer relevant. Today we must have all kinds of earthly promises. We must hear great and swelling words from self taught orators who use sacred words as if they were coffers. The wounds and sufferings of His sacred body are all but forgotten. Perhaps we drag them out at Easter time and drum up some sentimentality, but the church has no appetite for that story anymore. It has grown stale. It is no longer appealing. We have heard it too many times and it is not only unpleasant, but it is not conducive for excitement and the general gaiety sought after in the gatherings.
Our precious Lord stands drenched in His own blood and is swelling all over His entire body and before all Jerusalem the Roman Prefect yells out “Ecce homo” as if to shame the Jews, mock Jesus, and perhaps convince them the man had endured enough. But think about what passes for the faith these days. And if perchance during a western church service with all its excitement and bells and whistles an image of this Jesus would be presented would it not seem so very out of place? What? What kind of a church would it be if the beaten and tortured image of Jesus would have no place within it?
Go ahead and cling lightly to your orthodox doctrines while you go about your self serving lives and claim you are following Jesus. Go ahead and spray the fake blood on a church members body as he plays Jesus and then return to your western feast. And as you congratulate the players in your pageant you will be ignorant of the fact that you only know the sufferings and death of Jesus within a doctrinal cage. And if we measured your knowledge of Jesus based upon the relentlessness and passion and self denying pursuit of Him would we conclude He is your life?
If we meditate upon our Lord and the events of His passion we will experience a place of deep worship that is also scented with a kind of acceptable melancholy. If your eyes have never felt tears for Jesus and His sufferings then you are unaware that you are starving for truth. Do I believe it is this bad? I believe it is worse than any of us can understand. The gospel lies stricken in the streets. The people who use His name live as if He is dead and gone. And Christ is repackaged as an American capitalist who will do anything to defend Americans while supplying the church with everything the church members lust after.
But take a look at the picture. Of course it is just a man, an actor, but does it not break your heart when you think about Who He is and what He has done? Behold the man! Behold the Lamb! If we ever lose sight of Christ in all His glorious sufferings and in His death then we have nothing but abject idolatry which is what is left of most of the American evangelical church. The church can withstand seeing a bloody Jesus a few times a year on special occasions, but a steady diet of that would be offense to people’s cultural sensibilities and make for empty pews and no one wants that.
How many people look at us and think “Behold the man” and are referring to our Lord and Savior?