The Word on the Week

Ecce Homo

Ecce homo                       Word on the Week                     3rd April 2021.

Ecce homo ‘behold the man’! (St John Chapter 19 verse 5).    Pilot had got himself into a predicament.   He wanted Jesus to look like weak, foolish and a poor creature.   In fact, he wanted to make him look pitiful.   He had him flogged and now Pilot allowed the soldiers to dress him in mock regal garments.   It was as an imitation of a King that Pilot now displayed Jesus before the mob calling out ‘ecce homo’.  He hoped that they would reckon he had suffered enough and permit his release.   

But there was a separate agenda going on here.   Jesus was in the process of ‘emptying himself’ as the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 2 verse 8.   This entailed Jesus stooping to the lowest place (Isaiah 53).   All his rights were set aside. He became ‘nothing’!

It was Pilot who was the weak man!   He was frustrated by Jesus’s silence during his interrogation.   Furthermore, his wife had sent a message to him stating that he was to have nothing to do with this innocent man (St Matthew Chapter 27 verse 19).  Apparently she had been warned in a dream.    This put more stress onto Pilot who now pinned his hope of release on the governor’s custom, during the Passover feast, for the crowd to call for the release of a prisoner among those condemned to die.

The High Priest and the Sanhedrin are the instigators of the prosecution.   The text says “it was out of envy” that they wanted Jesus crucified (St Matthew Chapter 27 verse 18).   They were envious of the crowds he gathered.   They were envious of the way he taught the people with authority.   They were envious that he could answer every question that was put to him with astonishing clarity.   Their trumped up reason for requesting the death penalty – that Jesus called himself King of the Jews and therefore was a threat to Caesar did not really concern them – Pilot knew all this!

At the start of Jesus ministry John the Baptist recognised Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (St John Chapter 1 verse 29).   His crucifixion was where the Lamb of God’s life blood ran down the cross as the sacrifice was completed.   

He called out ‘tetelestai’- it is finished; (St John Chapter 19 verse 30).   The ascent into the abyss was over. Atonement on behalf of sinners has been made.   The work he came to do has been accomplished (St John Chapter 17 verse 4). Assess to heaven is open by way of faith (Romans Chapter 5 verses 6 to 8).     Come to Him this Easter!