Daily Word

If they only knew | John 19:1-11

1  Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. 3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. 4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”

6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” 7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”

8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. 9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” 11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 19:1-11 (NLT)

Beatings begin

At Pilate’s order, the soldiers beat Jesus. Since Pilate declared Him to be “King of the Jews”, the soldiers joined in the mockery and made a crown of thorns and put a purple soldier’s robe on Him, a sign of royalty. Then they repeatedly slapped and beat Him.

Pilate still tries to get Jesus released since he knows that He’s not guilty of a crime and (likely) his sense of justice can’t allow this. But the Jews (the leaders primarily) were hellbound on Jesus’ death so didn’t let up. Pilate eventually caves.

If they only knew

If they only knew this was indeed the King of the Jews, even the King of all mankind, lo, the King of Kings that they were face-to-face with, even mocking and beating! Only if Pilate only knew it was the King of Kings he was sending for crucifixion. And this King forgave them!

The irony

In the temporal realm, Pilate had authority over Jesus’ life. In reality, he is before the King of Kings who has the power of life and death – even eternal life and death. “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) If he only knew!

Note regarding verse 11, “the greater sin”. It’s not that Pilate’s sin doesn’t matter. “[Rather] Caiaphas was guilty of a greater sin, since Caiaphas had received greater power from God than Pilate had. God had given Caiaphas the authority to lead God’s people as Israel’s high priest.” (planobiblechapel.org)


  • For our sins, for yours and mine, He was beaten, humiliated, mocked and crucified. And like He did for the soldiers, He forgives us. 
  • If we only knew the depth of our sin and the height of His grace and love.
Soldiers mocking Jesus. Image from st-takla.org *

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