They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!” – John 19
I remember vividly sitting in my sixth grade classes everyday in boredom. I remember specifically that time seemed to pass in slow motion. The days seemed never to end. I hungered for the day I could go to middle school.
Middle school came and went in a blur of puberty and nonsense. I went from having a secure friend group to seemingly no friends. Having to navigate what was I going to do with myself. I hungered for the day I could go to high school.
High school came and went in a rush. I had a super group of friends who hung out, had lots of laughs, and helped me grow up. I worked hard in high school but yearned for something greater. I hungered for the day I could go to college.
College came and went with an intensity to succeed. I spent so much time working hard to do exactly what I needed to graduate. It was all about getting to where I needed to be and less about the journey getting there. I hungered for the day I could be done with school and have a real job.
My real job came and I was astonished at how quickly real life came slamming down my door. How responsibility and independence criss-crossed with fear and dependence. I remember living in my own apartment with a full time job. Then I had an opportunity to take a new job that paid way less but that had more potential for doing what I liked. I had to suddenly try and figure out if I could take the job and still pay my bills! That same year I remember getting so sick with the stomach flu that I couldn’t take care of myself. I had to call my parents in the middle of the night to pick me up, bring me home, and take care of me. My dad had to call me in sick to my full time job! I hungered for this?!?
Hunger is a tricky thing. You want to make sure that what you hunger for is worth whatever it takes to get there. You don’t want to get to the end of the race and do what I did….why did I hunger for this?
In our story The Thorn Crown of the King I imagine that Pilate was questioning if he had hungered for this? He had probably worked very hard to get to where he was in his work. He held a status of power that others would’ve dreamed of. He had the power to judge criminals and order their executions. He held the power of life and death in his hands.
So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.
Pilate went back out again and said to them, “I present him to you, but I want you to know that I do not find him guilty of any crime. Just then Jesus came out wearing the thorn crown and purple robe.
Pilate announced, “Here he is: the Man.”
When the high priests and police saw him, they shouted in a frenzy, “Crucify! Crucify!”
You can tell that Pilate is torn between right and wrong and life and death. You can tell in the story before and the one today, that he tries to come to terms with those feelings. I imagine that Pilate hungered for something more than himself. That he hungered for something more then what the world offered. I like to think he saw in Jesus something that would set him free and so he wanted no part in ending Jesus life.
Pilate told them, “You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him.”
The Jews answered, “We have a law, and by that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
When Pilate heard this, he became even more scared. He went back into the palace and said to Jesus, “Where did you come from?”
Jesus gave no answer.
Pilate said, “You won’t talk? Don’t you know that I have the authority to pardon you, and the authority to – crucify you?”
Jesus said, “You haven’t a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven. That’s why the one who betrayed me to you has committed a far greater fault.”
At this, Pilate tried his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted him down: “If you pardon this man, you’re no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone setting himself up as ‘king’ defies Caesar.”
When Pilate heard those words, he led Jesus outside. He sat down at the judgment seat in the area designated Stone Court (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was the preparation day for Passover. The hour was noon. Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your king.”
They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!”
Pilate said, “I am to crucify your king?”
The high priests answered, “We have no king except Caesar.”
Pilate caved in to their demand. He turned him over to be crucified.
Are you hungering for more than what the world is offering you? Are you hungering for something more then yourself? Jesus wants you to lay down your life at his feet. He wants you to hand over all that you are and he will set you free. You will hunger no more.