John 19 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“Then Pilate took Yeshua and had Him flogged. The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and put a purple robe around Him. And they repeatedly came up to Him and said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and they were slapping His face. Pilate went outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.’ Then Yeshua came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold the man!’ When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’ Pilate responded, ‘Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.’” John 19:1-6

Interesting, how Pilate defended Yeshua three times and recanted. At the same time, Peter denied Yeshua three times, then repented. It’s not always as important, how you ran the race…but how you finish it.

Pilate’s defense of Yeshua came from three of His most trusted sources: His law (John 18: 38), his wife (Matthew 27: 19), and his own religious omens (today’s passage).

If you visit Jerusalem, you have probably seen the “scourging floor”. This is the spot where the Romans scourged their prisoners, many of whom were eventually crucified. This is most likely the place where Yeshua was scourged, as well.

Etched in the stone scourging floor, and its adjacent stone wall, are rules for a torturous game the Romans played, called “The King’s Game”. This was a game of death and mocking. In this game, the “player” would move through various brutal stages, with hopes of gaining all the vestments of a king. It involved casting of lots, and was nearly impossible to complete. If the player made it through the game, he earned his life.

It is important to consider the King’s Game, when we read the story of Yeshua’s trial. If, indeed, the soldiers ran Yeshua through this torturous game, then by all evidence & twisted Roman honor, Yeshua won the game. I say this, because He appeared wearing all the “vestments” one must accumulate in order to win freedom. It also explains why Pilate used this moment for one last attempt to defend the L_rd.

Eventually, Pilate caved, and Yeshua was crucified. G_d’s Spirit used every angle to dissuade Pilate from crucifying Yeshua, but he rejected the Spirit’s testimony. Peter, on the other hand, eventually listened to G_d’s Spirit, after having committed a great blasphemy: Denying Jesus. Peter humbled himself, repented, and became a passionate preacher of the Gospel. Peter accepted the Spirit’s testimony, and found forgiveness. After all he did to defend Yeshua, Pilate blasphemed the Spirit by refusing to accept to its testimony.

“Anyone who is not with Me, is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters. Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Matt 12:30-31

~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Monday, July 15, 2013