Fourth Sunday in Lent – Thursday
Behold the Man! – John 19:5.
When the people had cried, “Away with this Man, and release unto us Barabbas!” (Luke 23:18), Pilate, willing to release Jesus, asked them: “What shall I do then with Jesus, which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). They cried out again: “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). And he said unto them the third time: “Why, what evil hath He done? I have found no cause of death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go” (v. 22). But they cried out the more: “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:13). And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed (Luke 23:23).
Then Pilate had Jesus scourged (John 19:1). And when Jesus was scourged, the soldiers of the governor took Him into the common hall and gathered unto Him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped Him, and put on Him a scarlet robe. And they plaited a crown of thorns and put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him, and mocked Him, saying: “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Matthew 27:27-29). And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees, worshiped Him (Mark 15:19). And Pilate went out again, and said to the Jews: “Behold, I bring Him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in Him” (John 19:4).
Then Jesus came forth wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them: “Behold the Man!” (v. 5).
Do you, too, behold Jesus in His misery and in His shame! Do not, however, merely behold Him with feelings of human sympathy in your heart, but let deep and serious thoughts occupy your mind. Consider that your Savior, the eternal Son of God, had to suffer these things (and more) to redeem you. Consider, furthermore, how holy, severe, firm, and unchanging is the righteousness of God, His wrath against the sins of the world, which could not be satisfied in any other way. Consider what would be done to you, a sinner, if you would not have Jesus. And when thus beholding Jesus, let also this saving truth take hold of your heart, that you are redeemed, and that God will show you nothing but kindness and goodness in time and eternity, because Jesus has borne your punishment for you. Hallelujah!
PRAYER. – O Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I thank Thee that Thou didst offer up Thyself in order to satisfy the righteous wrath of God in my place. In my stead, Thou didst suffer what I had deserved to suffer on account of my sins. Thou hast fully satisfied the righteousness of God. Thou hast merited for me the good will of my heavenly Father. Continue to grant me grace, dear Savior, to take refuge in Thy bloody merit, to be clothed in it, and never to be found without it. Ah, let me always look upon Thee in faith, that Thy salvation may be my everlasting treasure. Amen.
Thou hast suffered great affliction, and hast borne it patiently;
even death by crucifixion, fully to atone for me.
Thou didst choose to be tormented, that my doom should be prevented;
thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto Thee.
(Hymn 151, st. 6; TLH)