Behold the Man!

As part of my morning devotions, I’ve been reading through the gospel of John. Recently I came to the section of the passion account when Jesus comes before Pilate. Pilate has had Him flogged but finds no reason to punish him further. He brings Jesus out to the crowd, hoping they will agree to releasing Him. Here’s the way the scene is described:

“So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!'” John 19:5

After finishing with John, I turned to the next chapter in a book about art I had been using (Rembrandt is in the Wind by Russ Ramsey–Book Review). Imagine my surprise when the painting being discussed was Ecce Homo (it means Behold the Man) by Caravaggio! It’s a picture of the very same event I just read through in my Bible!

This was too much of a Godcidence to ignore, so I’ve spent some time meditating about it. Here’s what I’ve concluded. The disciples and other people from the time of Jesus had a hard time seeing Him as God. They knew Him as the son of Joseph and Mary, a carpenter, a teacher. They were constantly forgetting (even right after the fact) that He could perform miracles. He told them he would die and rise again — more than once–but they still had trouble believing it.

Fast forward to 2022 — we’re in the opposite predicament. We’re so accustomed to understanding Jesus as the Son of God, that we often forget that He was also fully human, just like we are. During the week of His passion, He was repeatedly flogged, spat upon, betrayed, demeaned. We don’t stop to think how difficult that was for Him to bear in His humanity. How would we feel? Would we be able to keep our focus on God and His Holy Will? Probably not. Almost certainly not.

So, it’s good to remember during this period of Lent, just how much Jesus suffered for us. He couldn’t brush it off, just because He was God. The pain and suffering was exactly the same for Him as it would be for any of us. Never take that for granted! Behold the man!

1For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15

For more about Christian art see:

Praying with Art

Contemplative Vision by Juliet Benner–Book Review

Shades of Light by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

3 thoughts on “Behold the Man!

  1. Pingback: Behold the Man #2 | Lutheran Ladies Connection

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