The Wash Basin
Description of Laver and Jug -
Some of the Roman lavers (wash basins) were made of costly translucent stone; those built along exterior walls were typically made of common stone. Lavers were also made of bronze and could be highly decorated. Jugs were ceramic, metal or glass. Pilate may have washed his hands in an outdoor fixture, or he may have had a stylish laver brought outside for him to make his gesture. It is possible Pilate simply had a servant pour water from a jug over his hands.
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.
Description of the Flagellum -
The flagellum, or scourge, was customarily used by the Romans on anyone condemned to death. Two or three leather thongs were attached to a handle. Several metal weights with protruding points were tied along each thong, and served to remove the skin of the victim with each blow.
The lector, an official charged with carrying out punishments, would order the soldiers flogging the victim to stop when the victim was near death. The victim had to be kept alive long enough to die by the ordered method of execution. For Jesus, the crowd had demanded crucifixion.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him—
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness—
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,
Description of the Robe -
Purple dye was made from the ink glands of sea snails (Murex) and was very expensive. Purple robes were status symbols worn by the upper class, and are the reason why the nobility were referred to as “the purple.” The fabric would probably have been linen or wool.
And then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
Description of the Crown of Thorns -
We do not know which type of thorn was used by the Roman soldiers to weave a crown of thorns. Palestine is unusually rich in acanthous plants. As many as 50 genera and 200 species occur in Palestine and Syria. The cruelty of Romans is demonstrated here in that a soldier would have thought to use thorns to weave a mock crown.
Description of the Reed -
Reeds grow in swampy places, but the stem of the reed plant was used in ancient times for making pens, a necessity for Roman administration. The soldiers forced a reed into Jesus’ hand as a mock scepter- a symbol of royal authority. After performing mock worship, they then took the reed and struck Jesus on the head with it to show their contempt for a king who, in their eyes, had no power, no army to command, no loyal followers to defend him.