John chapter 19

More than a man

“When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man! – Vs 5 NIV

In this chapter we find Jesus in the middle of a succession of trials. Here he is before Pilate. He has been beaten, flogged, spit on, slapped, ridiculed, had a crown of thorns pressed down on his head and been made to wear a robe in mockery of His lofty position as “King of the Jews.” Finding no fault in Jesus, Pilate appeals to the crowd in an attempt to release Jesus. So he presents him to the masses and shouts, “Here is the man!” In Jesus’ current physical state, He had to present a hideous sight – covered in blood, the skin on His back and sides hanging off of Him due to the brutal flogging He had received. His face was most likely swollen and bruised. Blood would have been streaming from the wounds caused by the thorns pressing into His scalp. Perhaps Pilate was attempting to appeal to the mercy of the Jews by showing Jesus in this condition. He was still wearing the royal-colored robe and the “Crown.” How could they fear someone so pitiful? What could He do now to harm them or their precious religious system?

But what Pilate didn’t realize was that his words carried far more meaning than he could have ever dreamed. When he shouted, “Here is the man!,” he was unknowingly referencing a Messianic prophesy from the book of Zechariah:

Then say to him, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD.'” – Zechariah 6:12 (NASB)

While in the immediate context, this passage refers to Zerubbabel, it is also a prophetic pronouncement concerning the coming Messiah. He would be a man whose name is Branch. The theme of the branch can be found throughout the Old Testament and is a reference to the Messiah – a role that Jesus Himself fulfilled.

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1 (NASB)

“For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” – Isaiah 53:2 (NASB)

“In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.” – Jeremiah 33:15

The epithet “Branch” (צֶמַח, tsemakh) derives from the verb used here (יִצְמָח, yitsmakh, “will sprout up”) to describe the rise of Jesus, the Messiah. In announcing Jesus as the man, Pilate was unwittingly announcing Jesus the Messiah. Even dressed as He was and in the condition in which He appeared, Jesus was fulfilling prophesy by appearing as the suffering servant. Isaiah 53 prophesies this role for Jesus:

“Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him. Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done. “My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins. So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up the sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels.– Isaiah 53:10-12 (NET)

Jesus was the man. He was the branch. He was the suffering servant who came to give His life on our behalf. As He stood there before Pilate and the hostile Jewish crowd, Jesus appeared as the sacrificial lamb who life was being slowly taken from Him. His death had begun. The cross would only finish what the Roman guards had begun. Everything He had suffered to this point was intended for a convicted criminal. He was already bearing the brunt for our sins. He was suffering on our behalf. He was taking on Himself the penalty intended for me and you. He was the man. The God-man who alone could satisfy the just wrath of God against sin. He carried our sins. He acquitted us of all our transgressions. He was the man who is called the Branch who would bear much fruit. And today, because of what He did, we are the fruit of His faithful obedience.

Father, thank You for Your Son. That He was willing to be the man who alone could satisfy You by paying the penalty for sin. I could never have satisfied Your just demands. But He did. And He did it for me! And to do it He became a man. He became THE man. The only man who could live a sinless life and die a sinner’s death. So that the penalty for sin could be paid for once and for all. Here is the man! Thank You, thank You, thank You!!! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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