Jesus is Scourged John 19:1-16 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In this lesson we will once again compare the passages in the Gospels in order to gain a thorough understanding of what exactly is taking place around the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. This section probably contains more difficult passages than in any other place in the Gospels. We will begin this lesson on the scourging of Jesus Christ by studying Luke 23:20, Mark 15:12, Matthew 27:22 and John 19:1.
Pilate was not only willing but even tried to release Jesus, while simultaneously trying to appease the Jews (Luke 23:20). The problem for Pilate was that the only way to appease the Jews was to sentence Jesus to death. In Matthew 27:22 Pilate refers to Jesus as the “Christ” while in Mark 15:12 Pilate refers to Jesus as “King of the Jews.” Then in Luke 23:20 we are told that Pilate “spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.” The phrase “spake again to them” lets us know that Pilate asked them more than once and so it is not contradictory when Matthew tells us that Pilate called Jesus the Christ and that Mark records that Pilate referred to Jesus as King of the Jews. The accounts are supplemental and not contradictory. When Luke tells us that “they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him” we are to understand that the Jews began to chant their answer in response to being asked more than once. They wanted Pilate to know that their answer was the same no matter how Pilate phrased the question (Luke 23:21).
When Pilate wanted to release Jesus the Jews became unruly and so he gave in to their wishes being concerned with his popularity more so than justice (Matt. 27:24-25, Luke 23:22-23). Moving back and forth between the Gospels we can see a continual discourse between Pilate and the crowd of Jews in which Pilate repeatedly asks them what to do with Jesus. Pilate keeps repeating the question in hopes that the Jews will change their minds and allow Jesus to go free. But the Jews were set on His death.
After Pilate sentences Jesus to death, Jesus is then taken by the two soldiers from the judgment hall to the common hall where the “whole band of soldiers” gathered to watch Jesus be scourged (Matt. 27:27). Then the soldiers stripped Him and placed a scarlet robe on Him (Matt. 27:28). In Mark and John we are told that a purple robe was placed on Jesus (Mark 15:17, John 19:2). After careful study of these passages it appears that the scarlet robe was an undergarment and the purple robe was an over garment, so that Jesus was actually wearing two robes. If we look in Exodus we find that the Tabernacle had curtains of scarlet and purple (Exodus 25:4). We also find that the priest wears an ephod containing purple and scarlet (Exodus 28:6). Purple is the color of royal apparel and therefore designates royalty (Judges 8:26, Esther 8:15). Scarlet was the color commonly worn by priests and valiant men (Daniel 5:16, Nahum 2:3). After placing these robes on Jesus the soldiers mocked Him (Matt. 27:29, Mark 15:17-20, John 19:3). The purple and scarlet robes were placed on Jesus by the soldiers as a form of mockery.
With these two examples we can see that whenever we think we have found a contradiction in the Bible, we have actually found an opportunity to gain greater understanding, if we are faithful in our study of His word.