"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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John 19:1-16a Commentary
by Meda Stamper
This week’s text continues Jesus’ trial before Pilate.
The first three scenes, covered in last week’s text (John 18:28-40), move from the handing over of Jesus to the release of a bandit. We begin here with the central scene of seven, in which Jesus is scourged and mocked as king.
In Matthew and Mark, this takes place after Pilate has condemned Jesus; in Luke it is Herod who does it. Here it is embedded in the trial narrative and plays a part in John’s larger trial motif in which it is ultimately those who believe they are judging Jesus who are themselves judged.
The text literally says that Pilate scourges Jesus although it is obvious that soldiers do this. But the wording underscores the place of the scourging in Pilate’s own danse macabre with the religious authorities, which continues as Pilate parades Jesus before them as mock king.
Pilate’s intentions are unclear. Does he mean to mock them by presenting Jesus again as king (having already referred to him as their king when he offered them Barabbas)? Or does he ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL311: Jesus Condemned
March 18, 2018
Podcast on John 19:1-16a, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Mar. 18, 2018, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Karoline Lewis. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.