Scripture Verse

Jesus came forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the Man! John 19:5


Henry B. Mills

Words: Bal­tha­sar Mün­ter, Zwo­te Samm­lung Geist­lich­er Lied­er (Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny: 1774) (Seht welch’ ein Mensch! Wie lag so schwer). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Engl­ish by Hen­ry B. Mills, Horæ Ger­ma­ni­cæ (Au­burn, New York: H. & J. C. Iv­i­son, 1845), num­ber 116. Je­sus Be­fore Pi­late.

Music: Herr, wie du willst Mat­thä­us Grei­ter, 1524 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Balthasar Münter


Behold the Man! How heavy lay
On Him the sinner’s burden!
What grievous price had He to pay
That we might hope for pardon!
Such sorrows, since the world began,
Before were never seen by man,
Nor since on earth been witnessed.

The Prince of life, to glory born,
Our Savior here, hereafter,
Now bears the Jewish rulers’ scorn,
Their taunts, and jeering laughter;
As malefactor He is seized,
Accused, defamed—the crowds are pleased,
And join the proud derision.

Their fury, raging unrestrained,
To grosser insult urges;
With fetters bound, with blood distained.
With buffets bruised and scourges,
A reed His scepter, thorns His crown,
In purple robes for mockery shown—
He stands before revilers.

His heathen judge, of foreign birth,
Is with compassion taken;
He brings Him to His brethren forth,
Their pity to awaken—
Behold the Man! There’s no offense,
I can’t condemn while innocence
So strongly pleads to save him.

’Twas vain! Alas, ’twas all in vain,
This plea of Gentile stranger;
The mad, infuriate, Jewish train
Grow bold in Jesus’ danger.
His death alone can satisfy
Their rage—with deafening shout they cry
To Pilate, Crucify Him!

Thou canst not, but with horror, think
That this devoted nation
Thus mix their cup of wrath to drink
To distant generation.
Think too, my soul, how ’tis with thee!
What are thy sins? and art thou free
From guilt for death of Jesus?

Behold the Man! It was for thee
His shame and griefs were suffered;
Now hear Him say, Behold, in Me,
The victim for thee offered!
The guilt was thine—its fearful load
I bore, atoning with My blood,
I died, from death to save thee!

Blest Jesus, God’s belovèd Son!
Who all my sins removest—
Exalted to Thy Father’s throne,
Show that my soul Thou lovest!
And let Thy griefs and death, O Lord,
New life and peace to me afford—
Thus glorify Thy mercy!

And when the world, when flesh and blood
To paths of sin allure me;
That I may keep the heav’nly road,
From wandering to secure me,
In mercy cry to me, Behold
The Man, who suffered ills untold
For thee! Wilt thou forsake Me?

Redeemer, I have sworn to thee,
Let not my purpose waver!
As my God liveth—that in me
Thy love shall rule forever:
And may the memory of Thy death
And sorrows, while I have my breath,
Constrain me to be faithful!