John 19:1-42

by | Jun 8, 2024 | John, New Testament

V. 1

In John 18:38, Pilate had said that he found no fault with Jesus.
Pilate was in a difficult political position. He needed to keep peace in the city, and that meant he needed to satisfy these blood thirsty Jewish leaders.
He also knew that Jesus was innocent, and not deserving of death according to Roman law.
The scourging was done to pacify the bloodlust of the crowd, without having to execute Jesus.

Jesus was scourged according to Roman practice. The blows came from a whip with many leather strands, each having sharp pieces of bone or metal at the ends. It was not unusual for a criminal to die from a scourging.

Scourging had three purposes. (#1)- It was used to punish prisoners, and to (#2) gain confessions of crimes from prisoners. Also, in cases of crucifixion scourging was used to (#3) weaken the victim so he would die more quickly on the cross. Pilate hoped that this punishment of his prisoner would satisfy the crowd. “Neither, then, as part of the capital punishment, nor in order to elicit the truth; but in the ill-judged hope that this minor punishment might satisfy the Jews, Pilate ordered the scourging.” (Dods) Pilate violated his conscious in that his goal was none of the above.

“It literally tore a man’s back into strips. Few remained conscious throughout the ordeal; some died; and many went raving mad.” (Barclay) “It is a further example of the reserve of the Gospels that they use but one word to describe this piece of frightfulness. There is no attempt to play on our emotions.” (Morris)

Vs. 2-4

V. 2- The thorns in this region were very large and hard. This would have caused much bleeding.
They did this to injure Jesus in a mocking fashion. Purple was the color of royalty; an insult.
V. 3- They mocked the Jewish nation: this was their king. They struck him out of hatred, amusement
Vs. 4, 5- Pilate presented the brutalized Jesus to the crowd, hoping that they would relent.
Pilate made five attempts to release Jesus. Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 19:4, 12, 13.

V. 5

Pilate hoped that the crowd would feel sorry for Jesus, and back off on asking for death.
Matthew tells us the soldiers spat on Jesus.
Historians tell us that Jesus wore the crown even in the cross. He was crucified with it.

Vs. 6, 7

The Jewish leaders were not moved to pity Jesus. They demanded that He be executed.
Pilate continued to claim that Jesus was innocent.
It is thought that Pilate was being sarcastic to these leaders, knowing they did not have legal power to execute Jesus.
The main offense that Jesus committed was that He clearly proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God.
The Jews saw this as blasphemy, a capital offense.
They understood that Jesus was claiming to be divine. God in the flesh.

V. 8

The Romans believed that the gods sometimes came to Earth as humans. The frightened Pilate.

V. 9

Jesus had answered this question in John 18:36. Pilate is confused, and wants to release Jesus.

V. 10

Me in the emphatic in the Greek. Pilate was shocked that Jesus didn’t try to defend Himself.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

V. 11

The power that Pilate had was granted to him from God, not Rome. Jesus said this was true.
Pilate would use his power for self-gain, not for righteousness.
Those involved in delivering Jesus to Pilate were more guilty.

V. 12

Boice- Pilate was an unremarkable man who only had his position because he married the granddaughter of the emperor. Holding his position only by relationship, Pilate would be greatly concerned that the relationship was damaged. The religious leaders and the crowd knew Pilate’s weak point and they pressed upon it.

This was the political and occupational dilemma that Pilate faced. If he seemed to favor a self -proclaimed king, it would appear that he was siding against Rome. In order to keep his job and life, he needed to punish a man he believed was innocent.

V. 13

Matthew 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

V. 14

Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd one last time. Will they finally show mercy?

V. 15

In reality, the Jews hated Caesar, and hated everything about Rome.
Rome was an occupying army in their nation.
Romans were idolaters and worshipped a multiplicity of gods.
But when people reject Jesus, they will join themselves to anyone.

Vs. 16-18

Jesus was forced to carry His cross, in actuality, the crossbeam (patibulum), probably 80-120 lbs., 600 yards. He would be marched through the city as an example of what happens to those who oppose Rome.

They crucified Him: The Persians invented crucifixion, but one could say that the Romans perfected it and made it an institution. It was the form of execution reserved for the worst criminals and the lowest classes. Crucifixion was designed to make the victim die publically, slowly, with great pain and humiliation. This was the form of death God ordained for Jesus to die, and the death that He submitted to in the will of God.

Crucifixion was so awful and degrading that polite Romans wouldn’t talk about it in public. The Roman statesman Cicero said of crucifixion: “It is a crime to bind a Roman citizen; to scourge him is an act of wickedness; to execute him is almost murder: What shall I say of crucifying him? An act so abominable it is impossible to find any word adequately to express.” The Roman historian Tacitus called crucifixion “A torture fit only for slaves.”

Archaeologists discovered in 1968 the remains of a man crucified in Jesus’ era. The study of the remains revealed that the victim was nailed to the cross in a sitting position, both legs over sideways, with the nail penetrating the sides of both feet just below the heel. The arms were stretched out, each stabbed by a nail in the forearm. Dr. Nico Hass, Hebrew University anatomy professor described it as “a compulsive position, a difficult and unnatural posture,” meant to increase the agony of the sufferer. (Tenney and others)

“There was a horn-like projection (the sedile), which the crucified man straddled. This took some of the weight of the body and prevented the flesh from tearing from the nails.” (Morris)

According to Dr. William Edwards in the Journal of the American Medical Association, death from crucifixion could come from many sources: acute shock from blood loss, being too exhausted to breathe any longer, dehydration, stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe and died of suffocation.

Vs. 19, 20

It was common for the criminal to have his crimes written on a board and hung around his neck, and then nailed to the cross.
No crimes could be written about Jesus, for He was sinless.
Instead, the truth about Him was written.

Crucifixions were deliberately very public. This title over Jesus would have been seen by many.
In reality, this is who He was, and who He is: King over all humanity.

Vs. 21, 22

Once the sentenced had been written, it was illegal to change it.
Also, this was an insult to the Jewish leaders.
This was the best king they could find…
This was one way that Plate could stand up to them and not let them have their way.
It was one way that he could happily assert his authority over them.

Vs. 23, 24

Psalm 22:16-18 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; 17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

Vs. 25-27

Jesus entrusted His mother into the care of the Apostle John.
No direct command was given, but rather a simple inference which they understood.

Vs. 28, 29

Sour wine: “It is, of course, not to be confused with the drugged wine, the ‘wine mingled with myrrh’ of Mark 15:23, which Jesus refused, but was the wine take to the cross by the soldiers for their own refreshment during what normally was a long time of waiting.”

V. 30

The Greek word is tetelestai, which means “paid in full”.
Jesus finished His mission upon the earth, and then released His spirit.

John 10:15-18 (NKJV) 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

“He gave up his life because He willed it, when He willed it, and as He willed it.” (Augustine)
Guzik- When Jesus said I thirst, the worst was over – the price had been paid and He was ready to announce it. When the sinner says “I thirst” the worst is over, because if they bring their thirsty soul to Jesus He will satisfy.

A single word can change everything.
“Not guilty” in a court of law changes everything. “Fair” on the playing field changes everything. When a woman says “Yes” to a marriage proposal it changes everything. “Goodbye” can change everything. Yet, there has never been a single-word said that has impacted history than what Jesus said in John 19:30.
When Jesus said tetelestai, it was a word of victory and accomplishment.
It was not a word of defeat or of giving up, but an announcement that the price for sin had been paid.

V. 31

The Jewish leaders were concerned that the sight of three men on crosses would be an offensive thing to see during the time of the Passover Feast, and so they asked the Romans to hasten the deaths of these men and take them down form the crosses.

They were concerned about having an inoffensive religious celebration, but were not concerned about the death of Jesus.

“Their consciences were not wounded by the murder of Jesus, but they were greatly moved by the fear of ceremonial pollution. Religious scruples may live in a dead conscience.” (Spurgeon)

Breaking the legs of a crucifixion victim prohibited him from supporting himself to be able to breathe. Death would come quickly. As painful as it was to the victim, it was an act of mercy in bringing death quickly.

Vs. 32-37

This soldier was a professional executioner.
He knew that he did not need to break Jesus’ legs, for he knew when a man was dead.
And yet, he thrust the spear into Jesus, and in doing so, fulfilled prophecy.

Psalm 34:20- Not breaking any bones. Similar to the Passover lamb. Exodus 12:46
Zechariah 12:10- Piercing.

Vs. 38-40

Usually, the Romans left the bodies of crucifixion victims on the crosses to be eaten by birds or wild beasts.
It was meant to be horrifying and insulting.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus asked for Jesus’ body.
Out of respect.
Out of the concern to not have such a horrible sight on display during Passover.
For the purpose of protecting the body of Jesus, which would be raised in three days.

Vs. 41, 42

Bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury: Joseph and Nicodemus did what they could to wrap the body of Jesus with the myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds Nicodemus brought. Before the body was wrapped it had to be prepared. One of the customs of the Jews in preparing a body for burial is the requirement to remove all foreign matter from the body and to carefully wash it.

They examined His entire body and found broken pieces of thorn all over the head. They saw His bloody, matted hair; the terrible bruising of the face, the areas of beard pulled out, the dry and cracked lips. They turned the body over to see His shoulders and arms are riddled with splinters; each one was removed with care. The back, from the shoulders down, was a bloody open wound from the terrible scourging suffered before the crucifixion. His hands and feet were smashed and bloodied. On the front – just beneath the rib cage – there was a gaping wound made from the spear thrust that confirmed His death. Worst of it all were the eyes that did not open; the voice that did not speak.

We can only imagine what deep, life-long impressions this left upon both men and how for the rest of their life the smell of those particular spices would bring back every mental detail.

As these two men did this – men who were experts in the law – they must have known that they were fulfilling prophecy; the prophecy in Isaiah 53:9 that said the Messiah would be with the rich at His death. Here the body of Jesus was, at the hands of two rich men – who customarily would have had a servant do such humble, bloody work. Yet they knew they had to do it themselves.

This was a strange work for these two men to do; yet it was also strange that Jesus, in the plan of Godhead, passively submitted to it. Conceivably, after Jesus accomplished all things and yielded His life, Jesus could have sprung from the cross in a super-hero like flash of power and glory five minutes – or five seconds – after His death. Yet in the plan of God the Father, He hung lifeless on the cross for some period of time – long enough for Joseph to gain an audience with Pilate and receive permission to take the body. He hung on that cross until His body was laboriously removed, and hurriedly buried according to Jewish custom.