Sentence had been pronounced by Pilate – Pilate gave him to the soldiers.
At that particular moment Jesus had no identity other than being a base criminal. His male disciples had all left him. His female disciples were there – but, in that society at that time, they had zero relevance.
In the two earlier Court hearings – the Jewish Sanhedrin and the Roman Bema – no one had even attempted to say he was the Son of God, let alone testify as to the wisdom of his teaching, his great compassion for the poor, and his miracles on behalf of the suffering and the needy.
Mathew describes Pilate by using the Greek word hegemon translated “governor”. We get our English word “hegemony” from it. Do those individuals with hegemony in our world get their hands dirty?
The hegemon there in AD 30 gave Jesus to part of his army to be dealt with. A cohort of 600 brutalised soldiers. They took him inside their HQ – where they had hegemony. This was a kind of Guantanamo Bay black site.
What the soldiers did there is recorded by Matthew – but, I suspect, only in part. He wrote: They took off his clothes and put a purple robe on him. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand. Then they fell on their knees in front of him and made fun of him. “We honour you, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him. They hit him on the head with the reed again and again. After they had made fun of him, they took off the robe. They put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to nail him to a cross. (NIV Readers Edition)
How often do you find that a cartoonist has actually revealed the hidden truth behind the news? Unwittingly the soldiers were cartoonists.
• A naked man, but with a blood-coloured robe.
• A throne-less man, but with a crown of tangled thorns.
• A powerless man, but with a grass reed as sceptre.
• A ridiculed man, but repeated words, “Rejoice – you are the King of the Jews.”