Jesus the innocent, flogged and mocked
1 Then Pilate
took Jesus and flogged him.
2 And the soldiers
twisted together a crown of thorns
and put it on his head
and arrayed him in a purple robe.
3 They came up to him, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
and struck him with their hands.
Word Study: The word translated as “flogged” in the above verse 1, also means severe punishment.
Comment: Verse 1 starts with the word “then”, meaning that it builds up from the previous verse or verses. In chapter 18:38-40, Pilate told the jews that he finds Jesus not guilty and asked them if they would release Barnabas who was arrested during the insurrection and for murder as well, or if they would release Jesus. This was based on their custom to release one prisoner during passover. The Jews chose Barnabas.
This concluded chapter 18 and then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. This was a very severe beating by multiple soldiers who took turns when exhausted. The victim was stripped, tied to a post and beaten by several torturers. The preferred instrument for beating was a short wooden handle to which several leather thongs were attached. Each thong had pieces of bones or metal on the end. The body could be torn or lacerated to such an extent that muscles, veins, or bones were exposed when beaten by this instrument. The beating was so severe that sometimes victims died. At this point Pilate wanted to release Jesus and he would have instructed the soldiers to severely punish Jesus so that the jews could feel some sympathy and release Him. So, the beating was to be as severe as possible.
On top of this beating, the soldiers decided to mock Him by making a crown of thorns. This would have been very long thorns that pierced Jesus and caused a lot of bleeding on the face when they forced it over His head. This was to mock Him as a king since kings wore crowns. They also put on him a purple robe. Purple was the royal color. Then they came to him and said hail king of the jews. All this was to mock him. Not only that, they then also started beating him up. Below is a picture of the beating instrument and the crown of thorns. All these things, the severe beating and mocking, happens although Pilate found Jesus not guilty.
Message: All this mocking was done by those who rejected His claims to be the Messiah and the Son of God. The Jews rejected Him and the Gentiles mocked him. Rejecting or mocking Jesus Christ today, puts you in the same group as those that rejected and mocked Him on the day of His crucifixion. You actually agree with them that Jesus was a fake and deserved everything that happened to him.