1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"
But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."
7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."
I hear a lot of answers to the question, "Why did Jesus get crucified?" Many people say that Jesus was upsetting the system or he was a rebel or that he was trying to start his own religion. But, right here we learn that Jewish law said he had to die for claiming to be the Son of God, essentially equating himself with God. More importantly, we see again, that Jesus actually did this.
Usually a religion goes astray by denying the identity of Jesus as God. The only way to think the Jesus didn't claim to be God is to add to the Bible, or to take away from it. The plain reading of passages like this just doesn't allow for any other option.
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
This is one of my favorite parts of the story. So many stories we hear through church culture have to do with man sinning and messing up God's story, and God having to come up with a contingency plan to make it right. God had it all planned out from the beginning. So, just because we have free will, don't think for a second that God is not in control of every atom in His universe.
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
This part of the story always makes me think, how could those who claimed to follow Jesus turn on Him so quickly? But, if we think of the modern church, we are not much different. Many people walk down an aisle "giving their life to Jesus" to see what they can get out of it. But, when push comes to shove, Jesus isn't just our Savior, He is also our Lord. But, people don't want that Jesus. They want to see what they can get to satisfy their own desires. First century Jews wanted Jesus to rise up and takeover Rome. Today, we want Jesus to make us the CEO of our own company and help us win the lottery.
When God is presented as the actual Judge of the Universe, the first ones to scream out against that God are the so-called "Christians". They just want to make a God of Love, but if you present to them that the most loving God is also Just and Righteous, and is filled with wrath at the sinner, they not only want to crucify that God, but they want to crucify you.
In the end, it doesn't matter what any of us think is the real God, it matters what the Bible reveals to us. It is up to us to find the true God of the Bible and find out what He requires from us.