This has been on my mind recently; reading through the accounts of the crucifixion in the gospels we have three phrases that I have personally really enjoyed. These phrases were spoken by men who were actually involved in the action. Two of them were made by Pilate and one by a centurion.
“Behold the man” – Pilate
Pilate had no idea the truth involved in those words. He really never fully grasped the magnificence that this individual before him was indeed a man. We often sing “Verily God yet become truly human, Lower than angels to die in our stead.” Jesus was a man and it was a requirement for the plan of salvation. Pilate desired everyone to look at Christ that day as “a man” and have pity upon Him! Maybe if they could see that He was one of them (a Jewish man) they would let Him go. He was recently beaten and had a crown of thorns and a mock robe. Pilate was only looking for some pity as they gazed upon this man, but none was found. Despite their reaction, they were indeed looking upon the man. Can we not apply this to our lives and worship? Christ became a man for our sake; to die on a cross. We read in John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” meaning he “tabernacled” or made His dwelling/home among us. The God of eternity who had eternal glory in Heaven made his dwelling among men. That should motivate us to a life devoted to service for Him and worship from hearts of unspeakable joy as we “Behold the man.”
“Behold the king” – Pilate
Again, I don’t believe Pilate knew exactly what he was saying. I do believe he was attempting again to appeal to the masses. A bruised, beaten, and disfigured man stood before them and in his innocence he cried “behold the king.” The Jews replied with another rendition of “Crucify Him!” Perhaps the discussion with Christ about truth made Pilate realize who Christ was and he again tried to plead with the crowd on His behalf. Pilate must have heard many things about Christ and I’m sure one of them was that He is “the King of the Jews.” He tried to persuade the crowd with these words but it only fueled their thirst for blood as they cried out “We will not have this man to reign over us!” However, was not Christ the true King of Israel? Was He not the King of all creation? Should this also not affect our lives and worship? As we live here on earth are we aware of our King? If I had my eyes constantly on the King I would be so much more willing to live for Him and submit every part of my life to Him. And my worship? Well I would see Him as King and the one who deserves all of my worship and it would alone go to Him.
“This was the Son of God” – Centurion
I think this phrase is the one that impresses me the most. This centurion may or may not have known much about Christ but he witnessed that crucifixion first hand. He saw the three dark hours and felt the earthquake. I’m sure he heard each of the cries of Christ on the cross. The forgiveness, the love, the obedience, and the sacrifice were all seen by him. What was his impression? He proclaims that the man who was cruelly treated and crucified was none other than the Son of God. What a statement! What a realization! I can’t wait to talk to this man in Heaven (yes, I’m sure he will be there). Will he be equally impressed with my life and worship? When I view Christ does my heart proclaim “This is the Son of God!” If only I would have my eyes on that my worship would be all the more meaningful.
Let our lives and worship be augmented by these three simple phrases as we behold the man, the king, and the son of God.