The Cross and the Crown: Meditations on Good Friday
by Joshua Appel
Surely, two of the most powerful and ironic statements in John’s account of the passion come from Pilate’s mouth. After displaying Jesus beaten and bloodied in robe of purple with a crown of thorns on his head, both mocking Jesus’ claim to royalty, he says, “ecce homo,” “behold, the man.” Then, just a few verses later after trying to ascertain the source of Jesus’ authority, he sat down on the judgment seat and brought Jesus before the crowd again, this time mocking them saying, “behold, your king!” A man or a king, which is it? Who is this Jesus?
In many ways, the tension in Pilate’s words reflect well the tension between Jesus’ coronation on Palm Sunday and his crucifixion as a common criminal nearly a week later. Recall for a moment the hope of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The entire scene is suffused with the hopeful signs of royalty: Jesus rides upon a donkey in manner of Israel’s kings, the crowds, especially the children, shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is …
Read More · 8 min read · Apr 14 2017