The Indignities Upon His Person have begun. The judge pays no attention to the unjust action of his servant. The result of that interview is that He is accounted guilty, though there is no true trial. Then He is taken across to the hall of Caiaphas, who is technically high priest. These folks are great sticklers for the proper form. They must do things in the proper way, even to the killing of the Son of God. And again a played-at examination, and again a verdict “guilty.”
But this is unofficial. These men cannot condemn Him to death, neither Annas nor Caiaphas; only their Jewish Senate can do that. And the Senate cannot meet until daylight. They are very careful about the technicalities; the thing must be done right. And so while daylight tarries, our Lord Jesus is given over to the soldiers, and the second scene of indignity and personal shame begins. They spat in His face; they struck Him with their hands; they blindfolded Him and mockingly said, “Prophesy to us.” One could never tell the story if he were not gripped by a great purpose to make real to us what the Lord Jesus Christ suffered on Calvary, and just before.
That goes on, maybe, for a couple of hours. And now the first grey streaks of dawn are seen, the first streak of light in the east, and technically the Jewish Senate can meet. The Master is taken into the chamber of the Jewish Senate, and again examination is played at, and again He is accounted guilty. And so far as the Jewish side is concerned, the story is done, for the examination, and the so-called trial. But the Jews cannot kill a man legally. That has been taken from them. And so He is taken across to the Roman Palace to the Roman Government official, Pilate.
They expect that Pilate will approve of their conviction without examination. But to their immense disgust, he does not propose to do so, and so there is more quibbling, and bantering, and dallying, with the result that by and by Pilate acquits Him, and sends Him to Herod, hearing that He is a Galilean. And once more, if you will hush your hearts, please, once more the Son of Mail is taken across the city, after being up all night through such an experience, with the ever-increasing rabble behind Him, and is taken to Herod, and mocked again, and sent back acquitted a second time, back to Pilate.
Then Pilate proposes that he will scourge Him; and he does. The hands, fastened, are drawn down to a ring in the pavement or floor, until the whole body is bent, tense, and then the stripes laid on with thongs. You know the thongs,—a bundle of cords, and in the end of each a bit of sharp bone or metal; and even a careful hand cannot touch the back only, sparing the rest; and there is no careful hand here. And the marks of the thongs are not simply on the raw back, but all over. And then Pilate says, “Behold the Man!” and they cry, “Away with Him. Crucify Him.” Then more quibbling and bantering and He is given over to be crucified.
Shall I take just a few moments, while we speak and listen very, very quietly, even though it pains my heart and yours, but for a great strong purpose, bringing that scene before you?