Pilate addressed Jesus using at least the three appellations: "the Man," "Christ," and "King."

Here are the relevant passages (there are others):

Matthew 27:17b: “[Pilate] said to them, 'Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?'" (emphasis added).

Note Pilate's words (he seems to be trying to demonstrate Jesus is a mere man unworthy of death):

John 19:5: "When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, 'Here is the man!'"

After the crowd demanded Barabbas instead of Jesus, once again:

Matthew 27:22: "Pilate said to them, 'Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'"

Pilate appears to have continued to pleas for Christ's freedom:

John 19:14b-15: "And he said to the Jews, 'Behold, your King!'."

Is there any symbolism in these identifications? In other words, is there anything analogous to, say, "Prophet", "Priest", "King" (as with Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel: a prince of Israel)?

Note that I am not asking why Pilate used the terms that he did, only whether there is any symbolism — as there is with the name "Bar-abbas" (son of the father).

1 Answer 1


This is a very thought-provoking question.

I doubt Pilate was aware of the significance of his words, yet the three-fold description of Jesus parallels somewhat the prophecy given in Isaiah 9:6.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

In this text, the One addressed is assigned the following titles:

  • Child
  • Son
  • Wonderful Counsellor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

That list can be seen as comprising three pairs of terms. The first pair (child & son) refer to Christ's humanity (man). The second pair (Counsellor & God) refer to his divinity (Christ). The final pair (Father & Prince) address his royalty (King).

We can visualize this easily in a table:

Humanity Divinity Royalty
child Wonderful Counsellor Everlasting Father
son Mighty God Prince of Peace
man Christ King

These are the kinds of questions that represent a deeper look into the things of God, as a miner digging for the precious ore. Looking at things deeply can be very rewarding for the one who appreciates spiritual things.

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.