Chapter 19


Jesus Scourged


19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged severely.


At the close of chapter 18 the crowds had accepted Barabas and rejected Jesus and so Pilate had bowed to their demands and released the criminal. After this He was handed over to the soldiers to be scourged. This was common practice before crucifixion and was carried out with a whip having sharp bits of metal or bone in it which tore the flesh of both back and breast (Psa. 22:17). It appears that Pilate had another end in view by scourging the Lord. He hoped that this would have satisfied the Jews, and that he might then have dismissed Jesus (Luke 23:16). The scourging of Jesus although done to most of those who were crucified has a great scriptural significance for it was by His scourging we are told that our healing was brought about (Isa 53:5 and Pet. 2:24).


The Soldiers Mock Jesus


19:2-3 The soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they clothed him in a purple robe. They came up to him again and again and said, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly in the face.


To mock means to ridicule, to taunt or make fun of. The soldiers must have heard the conversation between Jesus and Pilate in John 18:37 and decided to have some fun at the expense of the Lord. They crown him with a crown of thorns and dress Him in a purple robe; purple being the colour of royalty. In fact it was not Jesus that was being mocked, for He was born a King and He is the "King of Kings" (Rev. 19:16 and John 18:37) but the so called kings of the world who thought they had all power and ruled by their own right when they were only in that position by the sovereign will of God (Psa. 66:7).


19:4 Again Pilate went out and said to the Jewish leaders, "Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no reason for an accusation against him."


After Jesus had been scourge and the soldiers cruel fun was over they hand Jesus back to Pilate who in turn presents him before the people declaring that he could find no fault in Him. This of course was true because the charges made against Christ were false. It was also true in a fuller sense because Jesus was the spotless Son of God, He without sin (1 Pet. 2:22).    


Pilate on Trial


19:5 So Jesus came outside, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Look, here is the man!


In showing the pathetic figure of Jesus to the crowds Pilate apparently hoped that they would be satisfied with the scourging and take pity upon Him and he could set Him free. "Behold the Man" although not given by Pilate as a title to Jesus, He is the only man who has ever lived who is worthy to be addressed as such for He was indeed "man" as God intended.   Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of Man" on a number of occasions.  


19:6 When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they shouted out, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate said, "You take him and crucify him! Certainly I find no reason for an accusation against him!"


The Jews would have none of it for they had completely hardened their hearts and demanded that He be crucified. Pilate in turn taunts them for he knew they had no authority to take the life of anyone and again declares that he finds no fault with Him. In doing so he further condemns himself for his crime of injustice.


19:7 The Jewish leaders replied, "We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!"


Jesus is the middle of a game of tit for tat between these two parties as the Jews throw the ball back into Pilate's court by stating that Jesus had broken the law of blasphemy by making Himself the Son of God (Lev. 24:16).


19:8-9 When Pilate heard what they said, he was more afraid than ever, and he went back into the governor's residence and said to Jesus, "Where do you come from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.


This was the first time that Pilate had heard this charge against Jesus for He had been brought before him as a disturber of the peace of the nation. He has already shown by his actions is a frightened man but he becomes even more afraid at this charge and hastily retires to confront Jesus. "Where are you from?"  In asking this he didn't want to know from which town or country He came from but His origins. As a Roman Pilate would have believed in many gods and would have had a fear of them.  At this time the Caesar was considered to be a god and revered as such. What if this man is the "Son of God?".   What has Pilate done to Him? What will become of him if he has raised his hand against a Divine being? Doubts flood his mind, but Jesus leaves him to it and does not answer him (Isa. 53:7).  


19:10 So Pilate said, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you know I have the authority to release you, and to crucify you?


Again Pilate condemns himself by clearly accepting the fact that he is a man in a responsible position representing Caesar in Judea and therefore will be called to account for the decisions he is making, both before Caesar and more importantly before God.  


19:11 Jesus replied, "You would have no authority over me at all, unless it was given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of greater sin.


Now Jesus answers him - Yes you have power to do with me as you say but you only have it because it is given you from my Father above (Rom. 13:1)  In the second part of His answer Pilate must have found some relief when He tells him that it is those who handed Him over has committed the greater sin.


19:12-13 From this point on, Pilate tried to release him. But the Jewish leaders shouted out, "If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar! Everyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar!" When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus outside and sat down on the judgment seat in the place called "The Stone Pavement" (Gabbatha in Aramaic).


Although Pilate endeavored to find some sound reason for releasing Jesus, the Jews are too much for Him. If he lets Jesus go they will accuse him of supporting someone who proclaims himself a king above Caesar and therefore a traitor.  


19:14-15 (Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover, about noon. ) Pilate said to the Jewish leaders, "Look, here is your king!" Then they shouted out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" Pilate asked, "Shall I crucify your king?" The high priests replied, "We have no king except Caesar!


Pilate begins to weaken and throws the ball into their court "Behold your King"  not his but theirs !   Again "shall I crucify your King?". At this the chief priests further add to their crimes by making a false declaration of loyalty to Caesar.  


19:16 Then Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus.


So the trial of Pilate is over, for it is he that has been tried not Jesus and the verdict can only be guilty of carrying out an injustice because of intimidation and fear of man. So he delivers Jesus up to be crucified.


The King on a Cross


19:17-18 And carrying his own cross he went out to the place called "The Place of the Skull" (called in Aramaic Golgotha ). There they crucified him along with two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.


Jesus took up "His Cross" and bore it to a place with an appropriate name for crucifying people on "place of a Skull."   Although we are told in Matthew 27:32 that when He became exhaustion because  of what He had previously been subject to He could carry it no longer, another carried it for Him.  He was crucified between two criminals - He was still at the centre of things.


19:19 Pilate also had a notice written and fastened to the cross, which read: "Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.


Pilate deliberately wrote the title "Jesus of Nazereth King of the Jews in three languages so that everybody could understand to provoke and get back at the Jews.  


19:20-22 Thus many of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the notice was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The king of the Jews,' but rather, 'This man said, I am king of the Jews.' " Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written.


This he achieved for they were furious at it and wanted him to change it. In no way were they going to accept Jesus as their King!  Pilate refused to give into them on this matter at least! Jesus Christ is not only the King of the Jews but He is the King of Glory, King of the whole earth and the everlasting King (Psa. 24:7, Psa. 10:16 and 1 Tim. 1:17).


19:23-24 Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldier, and the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.) So the soldiers said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it." This took place to fulfill the scripture that says, "They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice." So the soldiers did these things.


It was common practice for the executioners to receive the garments of a crucified man.  John tells us that there were four soldiers and they each received an item of the Lord's garments. This left a woven seamless coat  and not willing to

tear it into four pieces they cast lots for it,  The actions of the soldiers while they waited for Jesus to die were all done in fulfilment of the scripture (Psa. 22:18).

The Jews would not have Jesus to be their King. Pilate would not have Jesus to be his King.Is He King of our lives? W. J. Kirkpatrick's hymn begins: "King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be; Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary." (1929, public domain).


At the Cross


a)   His Love and Concern for His Mother.


19:25 Now standing beside Jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.


Although we are told in Mark 14:50 that all His disciples forsook Him when He was taken captive in the garden of Gethsemane, some of them made their way to the scene of the cross among them John.   There were also four women most notably among them His mother Mary.   Her sister, probably Salome wife of Zebedee (Matt. 27:56).  Mary the mother of James and Joses and Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons.


19:26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, look, here is your son!


To the very last Jesus' earthly life showed the priority He placed on love and concern for others. Even though He was suffering such dreadful agony he thought of the needs of others, in this case for His mother. Although He was born of Mary He was in fact the Son of God in saying to her "Behold your son" referring to the disciple John, He was telling her that from this moment on, although He would rise from the dead, He was no longer 'her" son after the flesh but Her Saviour. Mary the mother of Jesus was a sinner the same as everyone else and she needed to be saved.  


19:27 He then said to his disciple, "Look, here is your mother!" From that very time the disciple took her into his own home.


He therefore places her into the loving care of the disciple whom He knew would take care of her as his own mother. In providing for His mother Jesus was fulfilling the requirements of the Law of God (Exod. 20:12).



b)   Salvation Accomplished


All the way through these verses we see the fulfilment of the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament.


19:28 After this Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty!


Jesus knew that His hour had come and His tongue cleaving to the the roof of His mouth He needed something to drink in order to be able to cry out His final words so He cried "I thirst" (Psa. 22:15).  


19:29 A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth.


They gave Him sour wine, vinegar, and reached up to Him with it on hyssop, (a long slender branch- W.E. Vine, see also Psa. 69:21).


19:30 When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, "It is completed!" Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


Having drunk of this He then declares that "it is finished" the work of redemption has been completed once and for all and its results abide forever (Rom. 6:10 and Heb. 9:28). After this He "gave up His spirit". It was not taken from Him by anyone, no one could take His life for He is eternal life. He freely gave Himself for love of us that we might be saved (John 10:17-18).  At this moment the spirit of Christ left His body and did not return to it until the morning of the resurrection.


19:31-33 Then, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not stay on the crosses on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was an especially important one), the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to have the victims' legs broken and the bodies taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men who had been crucified with Jesus, first the one and then the other. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.


The day was drawing to  a close and as the following day was the special Sabbath of the Passover and Jewish law stated that bodies of executed criminals should be removed from sight before sunset (Deut. 21:23) the Jews asked Pilate to order that the legs of those crucified should be broken. This would hasten death as the victims could no longer ease the strain on the arms and chests, thus causing a greater restriction in their chests. When they came to Jesus they found that He was already dead and therefore did not need to break His legs, this fulfilled of Psa. 34:20. This was also in keeping with the command concerning the Passover Lamb that had to be slain to save the firstborn son of the Israelites (Exod. 12:46). Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7).  


19:34-37 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out immediately. And the person who saw it has testified (and his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth), so that you also may believe. For these things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled, "Not a bone of his will be broken." And again another scripture says, "They will look on the one whom they have pierced.


They did however thrust a spear into His side, piercing His heart, fulfilling prophecy (Zechariah 12:10) and out poured blood and water  (1 John 5:6-8). Note: The blood speaks of forgiveness and righteousness (Rom. 3:25, Eph. 1:7 ands Col. 1:14) whereas the water symbolises our sanctification  (Eph. 5:26, Heb. 9:19 and Heb.10:22).


19:35 And the person who saw it has testified (and his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth), so that you also may believe.


The significance of this verse is that John was there present at the foot of the cross and saw and heard  all these things for himself and therefore he could testify that they were the truth. The purpose of describing these things is so that those who heard or read his gospel would believe.


Jesus Buried


19:38-40 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus (but secretly, because he feared the Jewish leaders ), asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, so he went and took the body away. Nicodemus, the man who had previously come to Jesus at night, accompanied Joseph, carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about seventy-five pounds. Then they took Jesus' body and wrapped it, with the aromatic spices, in strips of linen cloth according to Jewish burial customs.


Both Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin, therefore it took a great deal of courage to come out in the open  and make known that they were believers in Jesus. While the disciples hid away these two men boldly came forward - one to claim the body of Jesus and to bury Him in a tomb he had most probably prepared for himself, the other to embalm Him. The equivalent in to-days weight of the spices would be about 5 stone 5lbs and only a wealthy person could have afforded to buy them.


19:41 Now at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried.


Because the time before the Sabbath was short Jesus had to be buried in a nearby garden where there was a tomb that no one had yet been buried in. It was probably a private one belonging to Joseph.


19:42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of preparation and the tomb was nearby, they placed Jesus' body there.


It was in this tomb that they buried Jesus in fulfilment of Isa. 53:9. There was no doubt at all that Jesus had truly died and John in writing his gospel was making certain that everybody should know it. For already at the time of his writing it there were those who doubted that Jesus really did die. But John was 'there" and so were many others who saw it all happen.   Because He died for us, we live (1 Thes. 5:10).  


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