The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
In John 19, we see the continued persecution of Jesus, even to His death and burial. He is hung on a cross, and there, He says, “It is finished!” What is finished? Come along with me, and I’ll show you!
Verse 1 — You need to know what scourging is. A whip with many thongs was used by the Roman soldiers. At the tip of each one was a sharp object, made of rock or glass. When such a whip connected with human flesh, the damage was immense.
But when the whip was pulled back so the victim could be struck again, it was even worse. Because the sharp objects grabbed onto whatever they struck, flesh and muscle were ripped away from the body, causing tremendous damage, blood loss and pain.
When Psalm 22 says Jesus could count His bones, it wasn’t because He was emaciated. It was because they were visible. The flesh and muscle covering them had been ripped off. Some Christian historians believe Jesus was scourged on both sides.
What was the purpose of scourging someone? To weaken them for a quick death on a cross.
IMPORTANT POINT #1: Psalm 22 was written by King David 1,000 years before Christ was crucified. God showed him the crucifixion, and it is described in this Psalm. How much does God know? Everything. How much can you hide from Him? Nothing!
IMPORTANT POINT #2: This was just one part of the punishment WE deserved, for our sin against God.
Verses 2-3 — But that wasn’t all Jesus endured. The soldiers who had scourged Him weren’t through. They beat Him, slapped Him in the face, and pulled out His beard (Isaiah 50:6). They also mocked Him, dressing Him as a king, with a crown of long thorns and a purple robe. They made sure the thorns dug into His scalp and forehead. Through all of it, Jesus was silent, as a lamb being led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
IMPORTANT POINT #1: Again, this was the punishment YOU deserved for your sin, dear reader (Isaiah 53:5).
IMPORTANT POINT #2: Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about Him, in His life on this earth, and when He returned to His Father. These prophecies were written a very long time before He came. How much does God know? Everything that ever was, is, and will be.
Verses 4-5 — Pilate came out of the Praetorium again, to tell the Jews, for the second time (see 18:38), that he found no guilt in Jesus. Behold! It was an emphatic statement.
Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. “Behold the
Man,” exclaimed Pilate.
IMPORTANT POINT: Pilate, a notoriously evil ruler, did not want to crucify Christ. Wasn’t the scourging and beating enough?
Verse 6 — The Jewish elite saw Him and said, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said, you do it, for I find no guilt in Him. That was the third time Pilate expressed Jesus’ innocence.
IMPORTANT POINT: To this very day, Jesus’ followers are persecuted and killed, though they are innocent.
Verse 7 — But, as Pilate well knew, the Jewish elite could not crucify Jesus because they were under Roman rule. The Jewish elite considered Jesus to be a blasphemer because He made Himself out to be (appointed Himself as) the Son of God. The punishment for such blasphemy was death, under Mosaic law. But it would have to be done by the Romans, because the Jews had no authority to condemn a man to death.
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus did not appoint Himself anything. God the Father sent Him to die in our stead. But even today, many people accuse Jesus and His followers.
Verse 8 — Pilate was more afraid than ever . . . Jesus was innocent, and he knew it. But the Jewish elite was hell-bent on crucifying Him. What if He was the Son of God? What would happen to Rome, if Pilate killed God?
IMPORTANT POINT: Even a ruthless pagan governor was afraid of killing God, but the Jewish elite were not. How ironic!
Verses 9-10 — He entered into the Praetorium again, and asked Jesus where He was from. But Jesus did not answer. Pilate was irritated because Jesus did not respond. So Pilate told Jesus that His life was in his hands. He has authority to release Jesus and authority to crucify Him.
Verses 11-13 — Jesus said the only reason Pilate had authority to crucify Him was because it was given to Pilate from above (from God the Father). Pilate was simply fulfilling God the Father’s plan for our reconciliation to Himself. It was necessary for Jesus to be crucified, so we may be saved. Therefore, the chief priest who made the ruling that Jesus was guilty sinned more greatly than Pilate sinned by ordering Christ to be crucified. The Jewish elite committed premeditated murder, a greater sin.
IMPORTANT POINT: Sin is sin to God, and all sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). but there are some sins that He singles out as being more serious, and classifies some even as abominations, things that repulse Him because they are completely contrary to His nature.
So Pilate was more alarmed than ever, and sought to release Jesus. But the Jewish elite would not relent. They said Pilate would be guilty of treason if he released a Man who made Himself out to be (appointed Himself as) a King, thus speaking against Caesar, who was king over the Roman Empire and claimed to be a god.
Treason would have meant death for Pilate. So he brought Jesus out again and sat in the judgment seat at Gabbatha.
IMPORTANT POINT: Some will deny Jesus when they are threatened with death. But if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father (Matthew 10:33).
Verses 14-15 — The Passover Lamb was about to be sacrificed. The Jews were thinking of natural lambs, but God the Son was the true Passover Lamb whose blood would atone for our sin, and let us live eternally with Him, if we believe in Him. It was 6 a.m. All of Jesus’ trials were illegally conducted at night.
Pilate exclaimed, “Behold your King!” He mocked the Jewish elite, who certainly did not want Jesus to be their King. And their response was, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Mocking them again, Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your King?” And the next statement of the Jewish elite is the ultimate in irony.
They had no king but Caesar. They rejected the kingship of God the Father when they rejected His Son. So they certainly had no king but Caesar. God was no longer their King.
IMPORTANT POINT: It wasn’t the first time Israel rejected God as their king. Check out 1Samuel 8:5 and forward. How foolish man is! What human king can compare with King Jesus? Don’t we still do that, when we decide we will be king over our lives, and that we don’t want to live under the glorious rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords?
Verses 16-17 — Pilate handed Him over to his guards to be crucified. They took Him to Golgotha, Place of the Skull. John says He carried His own cross, but the other gospels tell us that He required help, at some point, as He was led to His death.
Now, I must explain that crucifixion was the most excruciating way to kill a person. It was sheer torture The naked person was suspended by their hands on a cross, their hands nailed and sometimes bound, their feet on a tiny shelf, nailed to the cross. Tremendous blood flow resulted. Jesus had already lost a great deal of blood during the scourging and beating. He had very little left in His body by the time they nailed Him to that cross. His organs were beginning to shut down. His breathing was labored because of lack of oxygen-carrying blood. Then, hanging on the cross, it was impossible to inhale. The shoulders dislocated because of the weight of the person’s body. All His bones were out of joint (Psalm 22:4).
Between blood loss and asphyxiation, death usually came within hours.
He was crucified between two thieves. Thus Isaiah 53:9 was fulfilled. Wicked men were on either side of Him.
IMPORTANT POINT: He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, and knows the end of things from the beginning, before time began. Long before God the Father sent Him, both the Father and the Son knew what He would need to do, to reconcile us to God. (See Revelation 13:8, from the original Greek-to-English,
“ . . . the Lamb who has been slain form the foundation of the world. Also see 1Peter 1:20.)
Verses 19-20 — Don’t miss the significance here. Pilate again mocked the Jewish elite, by putting up a sign on His cross that read, “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” He wrote it in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. What did it look like in the Hebrew?
Yeshua — Y — Jesus
Hanaseray — H — the Nazarene
Vimilek — V (our W) — King
Hayahuda – H — of the Jews
YHWH means I AM. Pilate identified Jesus as the I AM of the burning bush in Exodus 3! No wonder the Jewish Elite were upset. The sign made it look they were killing God!
IMPORTANT POINT: Many have tried to kill God, and erase His Word. But it will not happen. His word will never pass away (Matthew 24:35), and He always has been and always will be the eternally existent, living God.
Verses 21-22 — So they said, “Do not write that.” Write “He said He was King of the Jews — that way it wouldn’t read YHWH. But Pilate said, “I’ve written it, and I’m not changing it.”
IMPORTANT POINT: This was Pilate’s final condemnation of the Jewish elite.
Verses 23-24 — Then the Roman soldiers cast lots for His garment, specifically His seamless tunic which was a symbol of His priesthood. It was considered valuable by His executioners, so they didn’t want to tear it into four pieces, as they had his other clothing. Thus, Psalm 22:18 was fulfilled. He would have been able to look down and watch them do it.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do you see that God planned this long ago and spoke of it through His prophets? Does He know everything about you? Absolutely! Come to Him, confess your sin, and He will most assuredly heal you of it.
Verse 25 — These next verses are remarkable, because Jesus should not have had breath or strength to speak loudly enough for anyone to hear. But He saw His mother, who was with Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdelene, standing by His cross. He exclaimed to John who was also nearby, “Woman, behold your son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” Jesus thus made John responsible to care for His mother, and John knew that was the meaning of His words.
IMPORTANT POINT: Even in His extreme suffering, He still guided His disciples.
Verses 28-30 — Now, to fulfill Psalm 69:21, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” He was given vinegar. After He took it, He exclaimed loudly, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
What was finished? Everything God the Father sent Him to do. When some folks read that we must fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Colossians 1:24), they think His work was unfinished. He commands all disciples to deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow Him (Matthew 61:24). Where? To Golgotha. Why? So we complete what is lacking in us — death of our old natures, so we become partakers of His nature (2Peter 1:4)!
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus finished His work, by which those who believe are able to be reconciled to God. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). That was the expression of God’s love to the world. He does not love sin. He loves sinners in this way only — He offered His Son, if they will believe, so they may be forgiven.
Verses 31-37 — The Jews insisted that the bodies be taken down from the cross, so they would not be on display and potentially ruin the special Sabbath of Passover. They assumed each one was still alive, and asked Pilate to have his soldiers break their legs, so they would quickly bleed to death. So the soldiers broke the legs of the two men crucified next to Jesus.
But Jesus was already dead, so they did not break His legs. It fulfilled the Passover lamb requirement — no broken bones (Exodus 12:46). And it also fulfilled Psalm 34:20.
Instead, to ensure He was dead, they pierced His side, rupturing His heart and pericardium (the fluid-filled sac around the heart). Blood and water immediately spurted out. Just as Zechariah spoke in Zechariah 12:10, the Jewish elite looked upon Him whom they pierced.
IMPORTANT POINT: The Roman soldiers knew nothing of these scriptures. Yet they did exactly what God’s prophets had spoken. How much greater is God than us? More than we can comprehend!
Verse 38-40 — Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin. But he was also a disciple of Jesus, secretly, because he feared the consequences. Because he was a prominent and wealthy man, he was able to approach Pilate and ask him for Christ’s body. Pilate agreed to it, and Joseph took His body.
Nicodemus, also a member of the Sanhedrin had also become His disciple. He had come to Jesus in the night, in John 3. Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes — such great amounts were only used for the burial of kings. So Joseph and he took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, a Jewish custom.
IMPORTANT POINT: Joseph and Nicodemus knew Jesus was King of kings and Lord of lords, and treated Him accordingly, even in His death. Is Jesus your King? If so, you will treat Him accordingly.
Verse 41-42 — He was crucified on Golgotha, and nearby was a garden with a new tomb. It belonged to Joseph of Arimethea (Matthew 27:60). Thus, Isaiah 53:9 was fulfilled — He was with a rich man in His death. Thus, He was buried, and a large stone rolled over the mouth of the tomb.
IMPORTANT POINT: Every detail of Christ’s life and death was foretold. God is all-knowing. Do not try to hide your sin from Him. Come into the Light of Christ for salvation, and then ask Your Father for your own personal Pentecost, for the infilling of His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13)!