John 19:5 English Standard Version

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”

Was Pilate alluding to Jesus being the Son of Man?

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

  • 1
    ιδε ο ανθρωπος may be translated as 'Behold that humanity'. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    May 12, 2021 at 14:06
  • Is there someone else also making this connection? Maybe a commentator. Could you explain it more.
    – Perry Webb
    May 12, 2021 at 22:29
  • Sorry, I don't know of any.
    – user35953
    May 12, 2021 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


I think it very unlikely.

Pilate did not demonstrate a terribly deep understanding of or appreciation for Judaism - though he knew enough to make them mad (e.g. the sign on the cross).

Allowing that the Son of Man is a reference to the Book of Daniel (widely but not unanimously held), I can't imagine Pilate had ever read the prophecy, much less appreciated it. If the Jews themselves at the time weren't 100% sure what Jesus meant when He called Himself "Son of Man", surely Pilate, who didn't even entirely grasp what the "Messiah" was, wouldn't have made the connection to a lesser-known Jewish prophecy.

Why do I suggest the Jews weren't 100% sure what Jesus meant when He called Himself "Son of Man"? If they had known, the Sanhedrin would have tried to kill Him a lot more a lot sooner. His claims to be the Messiah & the Son of God are relatively few and far between in the Gospels. He calls Himself the Son of Man all the time.

Pilate appears to be playing on the people's sympathy by making them feel sorry for a poor, suffering man. As Nigel J noted, Pilate is emphasizing Jesus' scourged humanity rather than His Divinity.


Was Pilate alluding to Jesus being the Son of Man?

Answer: No.

Pilate had tried multiple times to free what he knew was an innocent man in Jesus. Even his wife warned him about these circumstances:

Matthew 27:19: While [Pilate] was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him."

The reason Pilate paraded Jesus in front of the crowd saying "Behold, the Man!" was to convince everyone that Jesus, as Pilate saw Him, was a mere man. Pilate wanted everyone to recognize that such a Person deserved no death sentence, let alone the barbaric treatment He had so unjustly received. Even someone like Pilate recognized the outrageousness being perpetuated against Christ.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.