What does John 19:5 mean?
ESV: So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”
NIV: When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, 'Here is the man!'
NASB: Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate *said to them, 'Behold, the Man!'
CSB: Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Here is the man! "
NLT: Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, 'Look, here is the man!'
KJV: Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
NKJV: Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
Verse Commentary:
Jewish leaders didn't follow Jesus into Pilate's home over concerns about religious purity (John 18:28). When Jesus was first taken in, He'd been punched and slapped, but not severely beaten (Matthew 26:67–68; John 18:22–23). The next time He's seen by the crowd, it's a horrific image. Jesus has been scourged (John 19:1): flogged with a vicious whip braided with weights that left deep gashes. He's been taunted and bullied by the soldiers, dressed in mocking versions of a crown and robe.

Pilate's words here are something like the English phrase, "look at this!" The punishment is already severe. Jesus has been savagely beaten—some victims of scourging did not survive—and openly degraded by the Romans. Pilate is not assigning any guilt to Jesus. He's hoping the crowd will be satisfied with what's happened so far.

Much to Pilate's surprise, the crowd is not merely hostile, they are hateful. They will demand Jesus face not just whipping, not just death, but the vilest punishment delivered by Rome: crucifixion (John 19:6). Pilate will be taken aback at this level of spite and continue to look for ways to avoid giving in to the mob's demands (John 19:6, 12). Eventually, however, he will give in and have an innocent, abused man condemned to a gory death.
Verse Context:
John 19:1–16 continues Jesus' interrogation by the Roman governor, Pilate. Pilate has already recognized Jesus' innocence and continues to look for ways to release Him without an execution. Religious leaders refuse this, using the threat of a riot to coerce the governor. Eventually, Pilate gives in and orders Jesus to be crucified. Parallel accounts are found in Matthew 27:24–30, Mark 15:12–15, and Luke 23:20–25.
Chapter Summary:
Pilate recognizes Jesus' innocence, but fears the mob assembled by Jewish religious leaders. He attempts to satisfy them by having Jesus viciously whipped and mocked. This only results in more cries for Jesus' death. The governor then shifts to protect his own reputation, ordering Jesus to be crucified on a charge of being "King of the Jews." John is directly present as Jesus is executed. He notes the fulfillment of several prophecies as Jesus dies. Once He is confirmed to be dead, Jesus' body is taken by two friendly members of the ruling council. They hastily bury Him in the borrowed crypt of a rich man.
Chapter Context:
When Jesus was first brought to Pilate, His innocence was obvious (John 18:36–38). However, the mob refuses to be satisfied with anything less than crucifixion. Pilate gives in to these demands. John, who is present for the entire gory spectacle, notes several instances of fulfilled prophecy (Psalm 22:18; Psalm 69:21; Exodus 12:46; Zechariah 12:10). Jesus is then buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) to complete yet another Old Testament prediction. A guard will be posted to ensure no one steals the body (Matthew 27:62–68), which will only serve to confirm that Jesus' eventual resurrection was a true miracle (John 20:1–8).
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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