Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, ‘See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’ When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.’” (Jn 19: 1-6)

Today Christ is “shown” by Pilate to the crowd, like a spectacle. He has been brutally scourged, beaten, and “crowned” with a crown of thorns, so blood is streaming down His face, as Pilate invites the crowd to “Behold the man,” Jesus Christ, dressed in mock royal attire.

Thus Christ is shown today as a “sign,” according to the prophecy of Simeon, “so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed,” and for “the rising and falling of many” (Lk 2: 34); - depending on our acceptance or rejection of this Man and His chosen path, of the Cross. It is “a stumbling block to the Jews,” says St. Paul, “and foolishness to the Gentiles.” (1 Cor 1: 23)

Today, on this Holy and Great Friday, as I “Behold the man” and His chosen way of Self-giving love, even unto humiliation, helplessness, abandonment, and death, let me follow closely, quietly, toward His kind of kingdom. “Let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebr 13: 13-14)

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