An Insecure Defense is No Defense


Defense from an insecure position is no defense at all! It is possible for us to sugarcoat our poor decisions by pretending how much we care. In our passage today, Pilate wanted to please the Jews, but at the same time, he wanted to exercise authority by providing security to Jesus. Seeking to please people at the expense of living truthfully is a dangerous way to live!

  • Think of how you are pretending in your life by either finding a way to please God or the people around you.


19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe.They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Do you find it at odds that Pilate would flog Jesus and, at the same time, say, “Behold the man”? What does this tell you about Pilate’s motives?
  2. What crime did the Jews accuse Jesus of committing?
  3. What verdict did Pilate render twice regarding Jesus (vss. 4, 6)? Based on that, what should Pilate have done with Jesus?
  4. Pilate was scared for his political position; he thought Jesus had come to oust him from office. How did this affect how Pilate responded in this situation?
  5. Which of your choices or actions are at odds with your understanding of who Jesus is? What, or who, are you protecting with those choices?


In today’s passage, Pilate was in a position to tell people the truth about Jesus and allow Jesus’ purpose for coming to yield the best fruits. However, Pilate was faced with a challenge: who to sell out on behalf of the other—he could please the Jews, or protect the Messiah! He could not stand his ground and defend Jesus as the Messiah because he had limited knowledge about Jesus.  Pilate feared he would lose his job, his status, or his life if he defended Jesus. He ended up playing a politically safe card of pretense and sarcasm.

  • In your daily life, think through where you are pretending before the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, so that you can stand your ground and approve the works of the Messiah in your life as Lord and Savior.