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It was Pilate's last appeal. He hoped that the spectacle of Jesus wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe would so move the people to pity, that they would cry out for His release. But the appeal was in vain.
While the Holy Sufferer stands before us, we may think of Him as He appeared that moment. "Behold the man!" Recall His life. It had been beautiful in its sinlessness and in its revealings of God. In His trial, His enemies had sought to find some flaw in Him—but they could find nothing. Pilate said, "I bring Him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." Witnesses could have been gathered from all over the land to testify to His kindness, His thoughtfulness, His mercy, His love—but not one could they find anywhere to testify to any wrong He had ever done, any injustice, any injury. He had been the Friend of the poor, the Comforter of sorrow, the Helper of the weak.
As He stands before us now, He appears as the man of sorrows. His back has been torn by the cruel scourge. A crown of thorns is around His brow, as if He were a king. And truly He was a king, and He never was more kingly than in that hour.
He was kingly in His bearing. He made no plea in His own defense. He was silent to all insults, and when He spoke, it was with serene composure. Never was man more kingly.
He was kingly, too, in His love. There had not been a shade of bitterness in His heart, under all the cruelties and sufferings He had endured. He had come to show this world the love of God, and His gentleness had not once failed in all those terrible hours. He set in motion in this world's life tides of love which have been flowing over all lands, slowly changing cruelty into kindness, bitterness into sweetness, and making all things new.
He was kingly also in His suffering. His was a crown of sorrow, for He was the Redeemer of sinners. Thorns were the fruit of sin, and He took our curse upon Him—that we might receive a crown of life. He was subjected to shame in the eyes of the world—that we might be welcomed to glory. Never was He more kingly, than He was on that dreadful, yet glorious day.