“Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the Man!’” – John 19:5 NASB
Born in Switzerland in 1821, Antonio Ciseri gained widespread recognition as a painter, often turning to the Bible for his subjects. Shortly before his death in 1891, he completed perhaps his most enduring painting named, “Ecce Homo,” for the Latin words used by Pilate when he called Jesus before the crowds on Good Friday.
In the center of the foreground, decked in robes of splendor, we see Pilate, facing the distant crowds. He gestures toward Jesus, whose head is adorned with a crown of thorns and whose back is bearing scars. To the left are Roman soldiers. Behind Pilate’s empty throne is a young man—an advisor. To the right are two pensive women—one being Pilate’s wife. Ciseri conveyed the power of the establishment through the Temple and courtyard in the background, filled with crowds unmoved by the Man and crying out, “Crucify, crucify!”
Ciseri painted himself into this scene as an observer, just to the right of Pilate. Perhaps representing every man, he looks on, amazed that this solitary Man, so vulnerable, could inflame such passions.
Through this painting, we feel how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy—how He was “despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…crushed for our iniquities…by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:2-5).
Jesus was both the Son of God and the Son of Man—God incarnate but completely human. He was a real Man, who experienced true suffering. Yet he remained obedient and faithful, trusting His Father, even to death on the Cross. Because of His death and sacrifice, we can have life. Our sins can be forgiven. The veil that separated us from God has been torn, and we have direct access to the Father.
Today, worship Jesus! He is the Man! He is the Lord! And He’s Your Savior!
PrayerLord Jesus, thank You for suffering and dying for me. I dedicate my life to serving You. I commit my time, talent, and treasure to You. I worship You! In Your name. Amen.
Extended ReadingJohn 19