Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
The chief priests and Pharisees knew what they were doing. They had orchestrated this whole grand scheme knowing that it would result in the death of Jesus. For so long they had accused Him of unrighteousness when they were the ones hiding sin in their hearts. They had pursued Him as a blasphemer and a friend of Satan when they were the ones doing the work of the devil. When they could not win the battle of words or wits against Jesus, they planned to destroy Him. And now was the moment they were waiting for. Now Jesus was the vulnerable one, and they felt they had gained the upper hand. And in this one moment, their true hearts are revealed.
They had no compassion or pity, no regret for what they had done. They saw Jesus with a crown of thorns, blood covering His face and matting His hair, and wanted no part of Him. They saw Him in a royal robe and rejected Him. They saw Him beaten and battered and broken and wanted Him to die. But someday they will see Him with a glorious crown, arrayed in shining robes of white. They will witness one time His true majesty and His true glory, and He will be forced to reject those who chose to reject Him. Those who brought Him to His death will be sentenced to their own eternal death, never to experience the joy of His fellowship.
What is our reaction when we see Jesus standing there in that crown and that robe? Do we see Him as our great and everlasting King, willing to surrender His life for us? Do our hearts break with pity for the overwhelming suffering that He endured for our sakes? Do we see Him standing there so humble and so silent and choose to exalt Him or to mock Him? Would we have allowed ourselves to get caught up with the crowd and the popular opinion and shout out, “Crucify!” or would we have been the lone voice pleading for mercy? Are we living our lives to honor Him, or do the things we do bring shame to Him?
Jesus had to go to the cross. It was part of God’s plan for Him and for us. But we all have to choose what we will do. Will we cry out for Him or against Him? Will we accept Him or reject Him? Even as believers, we have to continually choose to follow Him, to exalt Him, to obey Him, and to serve Him. And someday we will also see our King in His true beauty, and we will get to enjoy all of eternity with Him.