The Romans hailed Yeshua as king. After thoroughly scourging the Master, sending his body into shock, the Roman soldiers entertained themselves with a game. They dressed Him in a royal robe. They twisted together a crown of thorns such as the laurel wreathes worn by Caesars in those days. They placed a reed in His hand to serve as a scepter—a twisting of the messianic prophecy that speaks of the Messiah’s strong scepter of iron.
The soldiers knelt before Him, prostrated themselves before Him, and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” The game turned violent, and they began to slap Him across the face, spit on him, strike Him with the reed, and beat Him on the head. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
A first-century Alexandrian Jew tells about a similar incident that happened when the Jewish King Agrippa visited Egypt. To mock the Jewish king, Alexandrians accosted a hapless lunatic, enthroned him on a high seat in the gymnasium, crowned him with a wreath made of flattened papyrus reeds, robed him in a cloak of matting, and placed a reed of papyrus in his hand. The Alexandrians proceeded to salute him and acclaim him as a king.
Likewise, in the time of Trajan, a Roman prefect in Cyrene publicly displayed a failed Jewish revolutionary as a farcical king to be mocked. Roman celebrations and theater often involved satirical spoofs on royalty or games in which a certain player is designated as the monarch.
Trying to sound like a royal herald, Pilate declared to the crowd, “Behold, the Man!” In the Roman Era, the words “Behold, the man!” functioned as an acclamation similar to “Hail the King!” Pilate’s sarcastic acclamation made it clear that he considered Yeshua’s kinship to be a laughable joke.
The royal robe, the crown of thorns, the scepter, and the acclamations of “Hail, King of the Jews” and “Behold, the man” were all satanic mockeries of the messianic coronation. He is the King of the Jews, and one day He will be crowned, robed, and handed a scepter to rule over Jerusalem. Then “every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and … every tongue will confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Master, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
True disciples of Yeshua not only hail him as king, they submit to his authority over their lives and live for His kingdom.