-Pilate took Jesus after the events detailed in the previous chapter and scourged Him. This was a relentless beating from barbarians that killed many who were not strong. Jesus was tough, and endured this torture. The soldiers mocked Him, the King of the Universe, by weaving a crown of thorns and putting it on His Head. They also arrayed Him in a purple robe and came ridiculing Him in His desecrated state, “Hail, King of the Jews!” At the same time, they gave Him blows to His Face. The very hands He created were beating Him mercilessly. Soon, Pilate came back out to the Jews and said, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Then, Jesus came out before them wearing His crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate spoke, “Behold, the Man!” When the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate told them they could go and kill Him by crucifixion themselves since he found no guilt in Him. The Jews weren’t through however. They answered, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” Upon hearing this statement, the author tells us that Pilate grew even more afraid. He entered the Praetorium again, and said to the Lord, “Where are You from?” But, Jesus gave him no response. Pilate became somewhat indignant, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus once again overcame in the moment with total self-control in answering, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.” This comment prompted Pilate to make even more efforts to release the Christ, but the Jews were having none of this. They completely denied their covenant God by stating, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” Jesus was brought out and sat down on the judgment seat at the place called “the Pavement,” in Hebrew, “Gabbatha.” It was the day of preparation for the Passover, about the sixth hour (around 6am Roman time), when Pilate shouted out, “Behold, your King!” The riled-up throng cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests, the ones ordained to keep the Law of the LORD including the one about having no other gods but Yahweh, made their answer, “We have no king but Caesar (John 19:1-15).”
-At this point, Pilate gave up the Messiah to the Jews to be crucified for the sins of all mankind. They took Jesus, and He went out carrying His cross to the place called “the Place of a Skull,” in Hebrew, “Golgotha.” There is where He was crucified, along with two other men on either side of Him. Pilate wrote an inscription and put it on the cross for all who passed by to see. It read in three languages (Hebrew, Latin, and Greek), “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” The chief priests of the Jews were ticked off about this inscription. They wanted it to read “He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” But, Pilate was immovable on this, “What I have written I have written.” The soldiers who crucified the Lord took His outer garments as a commodity and made four parts, a part for every soldier. But, when it came to His tunic (the garment worn next to the skin), it had only one woven piece with no seams. Not wanting to rip this piece up, they decided to cast lots for it to find a winner for the prize. They didn’t know it, but they were fulfilling Messianic prophecy, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22:18).” Now, standing by the cross where Jesus died were His mother, Mary, and His aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, along with Mary Magdalene, whom He had cast out seven demons (Luke 8:2). When Jesus saw His mother and near by a man whom most scholars believe to be the author, John, called here “the disciple whom He loved,” He exclaimed, “Woman, behold, your Son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, this disciple took Mary into his own household for well-being and care. With this final task now completed of taking precaution for the sustenance of His earthly mother, Jesus spoke on His own behalf, “I am thirsty.” Beside the cross was a jar full of sour wine. So, they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop (a purifying symbolism here, see Exodus 12:22, Leviticus 14:4-6, 49-52, Psalm 51:7, Hebrews 9:19) and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” He bowed His Head and gave up His Spirit (John 19:16-30).
-Now, the text examines the care of the Lord’s Body post death. The Jews, realizing it was the day of preparation for a high-holy day, did not want bodies to remain on the cursed crosses for the Sabbath. They asked Pilate that their legs might be broken to speed up the process of death by asphyxiation, a most gruesome way to die (the process of dying by crucifixion has been known to last days, read Psalm 22 for basically a medical journal on the throes of this type of death). They wanted to take the bodies away before sundown, which would be the start of the holy day. The soldiers broke the legs of the two men on opposite sides of Jesus, but coming upon the Messiah, they saw that He was already dead (proof of His bodily cessation). This also fulfilled prophetic Scripture. They had no need to break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear producing a flow of blood and water from His Being. John, who bore witness to these things, truthfully relates this for the purpose of faith citing the prophetic texts (Psalm 34:20, Zechariah 12:10). After these things happened, Joseph of Arimathea, whom John describes as being a disciple of Jesus in secret for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate for permission to take away the body of Christ, which was granted. Nicodemus also reappears in the narrative offering us hope that he had become a believer according to the witness Christ had presented back in John 3. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes of about 100 pounds in weight. They took the Body of Jesus and bound it linen wrappings with the spices, as was the burial custom of the Jews. In the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and Joseph of Arimathea happened to own a new tomb there (Matthew 27:60). No one had ever been laid in this tomb hewn out of the rock in what was probably a quarry from Herod’s Temple area building project. They laid Jesus here on account of the Jewish day of preparation and its proximity to the area where Jesus had been slain (John 19:31-42).
-*Application*- This passage is a stark reminder of the pain and suffering that obedience requires when breaking the curses of this wicked world. This passage today calls us to meditate on the love of Jesus Christ even in our fallen condition. God didn’t just curse the world and go on His way. He sent His only begotten and beloved Son to come and pay the price for our redemption, and this was a terrible price to pay. The agony of which, we have a hard time even fathoming. If He loves us that much, shouldn’t we extend that love to others, even when they persecuted us? Don’t retaliate, embrace. Don’t get vengeance, seek restoration. This is the mind of Christ. Finish the course (John 19:30, 2 Timothy 4:7).
Verse to Memorize: John 19:30