Hi everyone, welcome back! Today we are in John Chapter 19. We will read about Jesus being nailed to the cross and taking all of our sin, unrighteousness, shame, and guilt along with him. He pays the price of our sins so that we could live eternally with Him in paradise. He lays down his life to give us ours.
It’s hard to find the right words for the chapter we are about to read. I was going to call it the “darkest” chapter yet, but I’m not sure I can even say that. It hurts to read and envision all that Jesus endured, however, this chapter shouts the loudest of the reckless love of God. He went through all that He did so that I could be called His child. And for that, the greatest response of my heart is to rejoice!
As always, the chapter and its headings below were taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red, and my commentary and insight are blue. I’ll have the video of today’s reading attached at the bottom of the page.
Take a deep breath. Here we go…
John Chapter 19
Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
The flogging was horrendous – look it up. The excruciating details have been left out of the gospel accounts. Some believe this is because the authors didn’t want to emphasize anything to impact the emotions of the readers. They knew it was enough to tell the story plainly. Others say it’s because most everyone in those days were aware of the details.
Regardless, we know Jesus suffered greatly before even reaching the cross.
Purple signified honor and wealth. The purple robe and the “crown” they dressed him in… you get it. They were mocking him.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
Pilate had questioned Jesus and found him to be innocent. He was hoping the people would be satisfied with the flogging so that he could release Jesus.
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
They are convicting Jesus with the law of God. The law that he was present for, and had a hand in its creation. The law that he represents and came to fulfill. HIS very law is the one that they claim he breaks – and so badly so, that they claim he is deserving of death.
And notice what they did: they exposed their real desire to have Jesus killed. It wasn’t because he claimed to be the king of the Jews. It was because he claimed to be King of the world – God in the flesh.
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
Hearing from the Jews that this innocent man claimed to be God terrified Pilate. If it’s true, he does not want to be responsible for sentencing God to death. So he goes back to speak to Jesus, trying to find a way to clear his name and let him go free.
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
Jesus tells Pilate that the outcome is ultimately in God’s hands and Pilate has less power over the matter than he thinks he does.
12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Note that it is the chief priests – the head religious leaders – that are begging for this.
The Messiah that they have been waiting on all their lives stands before them, and they deny him. Pledging allegiance to Caesar of the Roman Empire above God himself, the One whom they had devoted their whole lives to study.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
Here the prophecy of Psalm 22:18 is fulfilled.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
In our study, we have read “the disciple whom Jesus loved” several times. Theologians believe that this was the author John writing of himself. We know that Jesus loved each of his disciples – even his betrayer, Judas. We can assume that John speaks of himself with this title because of the unbelievable love that he personally experienced from Jesus. And I don’t blame him – once you’ve experienced the love of Jesus, it becomes identifying for you. And this is exactly how it should be.
Jesus will not be around to care for his mother, so he leaves the job to John, whom he trusts, and John willingly obeys.
Jesus redefines relationships. He tells us in his word that it is no longer our blood that relates us to each other, but his. Once we are a child of God, our family becomes our fellow believers all around the world.
The Death of Jesus
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
“It is finished”. The very mission that Jesus was sent down for is finished and the work of our salvation is complete. The wage for our sins has been paid in full, and eternal forgiveness has been made available to all.
We no longer need to strive to try and earn salvation, but now get to rest and rejoice in the finished work that Jesus did for it. Our fates are secured in Christ and it is finished!
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
John spoke to the man who pierced Jesus with the spear. He says that the man “testifies so that you may believe”. This means that the very soldier who spilled Jesus’ blood in order to confirm his death, later came to believe and receive Jesus. And you can be sure that Jesus died for that man’s forgiveness, just as he died for yours and mine.
The Burial of Jesus
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Everything Jesus did on that day, 2000 years ago, he did for you too. In fact, if you were the only human to ever live, he would’ve done it even still.
God adores us. Each of us personally. He wants all of our hearts, but it’s not about the numbers. It’s that He created each of us intricately and individually and wants a relationship with each of us as His children.
If you have never accepted Jesus as the Son of God, and God is compelling you tonight, please follow that prompting. Bow your head and speak to your Father. Receive the free gift of salvation in Jesus’ name, and rejoice in a promise of an eternity spent in paradise with your Maker. He is waiting for you, and He wants you as you are.
I’m praying for you now as well.
I’ll see you all tomorrow for chapter 20!