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Bible Commentaries
John 19

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-6

25-27 Compare Mat_26:71-75 ; Mar_14:69-72 ; Luk_22:58-62 .

28-32 Compare Mat_27:1-2 ; Mar_15:1 ; Luk_23:1 .

28 What insufferable hypocrites they were! Plotting the death of God's holy One, and afraid their bloody feet would be defiled by entering where He was! The law said, "You shall not murder." And their greatest regret was that they could not kill Him themselves! The only accusation they could bring was that they demanded His death.

29 In marked contrast with the high priest is the conduct of Pilate. They were enlightened by the law, but their light had become darkness. He had nothing but the feeble flicker of natural conscience, but he wished to follow it. His first thought, however, was for himself. If possible, he would get out of this dilemma by turning Him over to them. In so doing he would not invite their displeasure and would avoid the immediate responsibility of doing what was undoubtedly an unjust act. But they did not want to try Him. They wanted to murder Him.

33-38 Compare Mat_27:11-14 ; Mar_15:2-5 ; Luk_23:2-12 .

36 Scripture knows of five "worlds", which correspond to the five eons. Before Christ's kingdom will be set up there must be the great judgments which usher in a new eon and a new world. Had the Jews received Him, humanly speaking, the kingdom would have come, but, since they reject Him, He could say " Now is My kingdom not hence." Ever since the crisis in His ministry when it became evident that the nation would not hear, He had put off the kingdom to a distant time. For some time He had not been proclaiming the kingdom, so that

Pilate had no fault to find.

37 Pilate, like many others who have mistaken the Lord's meaning, thought that He denied being a King. Perhaps he thought that He was founding a "spiritual kingdom." But the Lord corrects this false supposition, He solemnly asseverates that He is in very truth a King. This was a very serious matter for Pilate to pass upon, for he was the political head of the people. It is this charge alone that appeals to him, hence he gives our Lord the private investigation noted only in this account. Many zealous impostors arose from time to time among the Jews, proclaiming themselves to be the Messiah, and inciting the Jews to insurrection against the Romans. The real issue between Pilate and our Lord was to settle the question whether He intended to lead an armed resistance to the rule of Rome. In case He did, Pilate perforce must act to suppress the incipient rebellion and to execute the leader. But, as the Lord had no thought of establishing His kingdom in this manner, He convinces Pilate of His innocence in that regard. The other charges were religious and did not interest Pilate, Hence he desired to set Him free.

38-40 Compare Mat_27:15-23 ; Mar_15:6-15 ; Luk_23:13-25 .

40 The people choose Bar-Abbas, which signifies Son-Father. They preferred a son of their own father, the Adversary, a man who was a robber and a murderer, to the Son of the Father, Who not only brought them an untold wealth of blessing but actually brought the dead to life again. What a contrast between these two, whose names are so similar! The Saviour suffers: the sinner is set free! Bar-Abbas is a type of the great mass who will eventually be saved without faith.

1-3 Compare Mat_27:24-31 ; Mar_15:15-20 .

1 The Roman soldiers mock the Messianic hope of Israel by making Him a mimic monarch. The royal purple and the thorny wreath are accompanied by mocking adulation of His imaginary majesty. Some day that bleeding brow will wear its many diadems. But all the regal rank that these reveal will not endear Him to our hearts like the cruel wreath of thorns. It is the symbol of a power and a glory that compels a willing homage and an adoring loyalty.

Verses 7-24

7 It appears on the surface, that Pilate's question, when he heard that the Lord claimed to be the Son of God, was ignored. Not so. Since the Lord was the Son of God it was far beneath His dignity to reply in words; His conduct was far more convincing. Pilate understood His silence far better than any words.

8 The magnificent bearing of Christ before Pilate is without a parallel in the annals of justice. He should have been afraid of the cruel and unscrupulous Roman minion, but it is Pilate who fears. And when the haughty Roman threatens Him He calmly tells him that there is a higher authority. What a triumphant trust in God sustained Him in all this terrific and heart rending ordeal! Can we not picture to ourselves the furious, bloodthirsty mob, keeping its distance for hypocritical fear of contamination, yet fouling the very atmosphere with their false and fiendish accusations; the disdainful governor, who has no wish to become involved in their religious controversies, arrogant, yet fearful, strong, yet weakly catering to their unjust demands; and the solitary, self-composed, lowly Man. He was meekly bowing to the will of God; they were ignorantly fulfilling the behest of Satan.

12 Pilate was submitting to what he deemed a political necessity. We must concede that he did all any Roman governor would have done under the circumstances. The Jews could easily have caused trouble at Rome if he should fail to deal summarily with one who was popularly hailed as apolitical opponent of Caesar.

14 The reading "third" (instead of the usual "sixth") is used on the evidence of the editor of Sinaiticus. Many ingenious explanations have been offered in order to harmonize the sixth hour in this passage with the third hour in Mar_15:25 , but none of them are satisfactory. The darkness did not fall until the sixth hour, which is midday, but that came not only after His own crucifixion, and that of the malefactors, but also after the robbers had been impaled.

16-24 Compare Mat_27:24-35 ; Mar_15:15-24 ; Luk_23:24-34 .

17 Stoning was the mode prescribed by the law of Moses for the death penalty. It was a comparatively swift and painless death, as a single blow on the head would stun the victim into unconsciousness. The Roman cross or stake was far more painful and shameful. The victim was nailed to a single upright stake and left to die, a lingering and humiliating spectacle to all who beheld. The glamour with which religion seeks to surround the cross is false and misleading. Its only halo is dense darkness, its power weakness, its glory shame. The shamefulness of crucifixion is the fitting climax to the descent of Christ from the highest glory to the lowest humiliation. Even as He had been far above all, so now it was meet that He should come down to the lowest depths of degradation. It is this aspect of His death which is intended by the term "cross" or "pale." This registers, not the fact of His death, but the manner of it. This, in turn, throws a lurid light on the world that had so little respect for the One Who had the highest place in heaven. But, besides this, the cross is the place of the curse. It was necessary for the sinless One to become sin. It was needful for Him to forsake the place of the blessing for the place of the curse. " Accursed is everyone being hanged on a pole" was a portion of the law which He had never fulfilled. This form of death-crucifixion-robbed Him of His last refuge. God Himself became His enemy, and forsook Him.

23 As our Lord belonged to the lower class, He would doubtless dress accordingly. They wore only five articles of clothing, a long cotton shirt, a girdle, usually of leather or worsted, a turban, sandals; and a tunic over all made of goat's or camel's hair or worsted. The four soldiers could readily divide the first four among themselves, but the fifth, being specially made without a seam, was probably of more value than all the rest together. It would spoil it to divide it, so it was that they were compelled to cast lots and fulfill the Scriptures.

24 See Psa_22:18 .

Verses 25-42

25 Physical relationships are temporary, and will be superseded by spiritual ties. All lasting spiritual bonds are made at the foot of the cross.

28-30 Compare Mat_27:45-51 ; Mar_15:33-36 ; Luk_23:46 ; see Psa_22:15 ; Psa_69:21 .

28 Perhaps in no other circumstances could we realize the intense passion of Christ for the word of God. His work was accomplished. We may know a little of what He felt from the words of the Psalmist ( Psa_22:14-15 ).

I am poured out as water,

And all My bones are dissected.

My heart becomes as wax;

It Is melted In the midst of My bowels.

My vigor Is dry as earthenware,

And My tongue Is clinging to My jaws,

And on the soil of death,

Thou art setting Me as the hearth stones.

Death, at the hands of God,

not His enemies, was before Him.

Yet one passage of Scripture was not fulfilled. He had done His part, but men had not done theirs. The Psalmist had foretold

( Psa_69:21 ):

And they put poison In My repast;

And for My thirst they cause Me to drink vinegar.

So He prompts them, and they fill the sponge and fulfill the passage. Truly, not one letter of the law shall fail till all is fulfilled! If He could drink that bitter draught in the moment of His greatest weakness and deepest despair, that the Scripture may be perfected, what will He do in the day of His power and glory? He will surely see that not a single line of the Scriptures will fail of fulfillment.

30 The death of Christ was not due to the failure of His faculties, or to exhaustion. It was a deliberate act of His will. After having accomplished the work the Father set for Him to do, there was no need of further suffering. So He laid down His soul of His own volition; He gave up His Spirit to God.

31 There were many sabbaths in Israel beside the weekly one. This sabbath was the first day of the festival of Unleavened bread ( Lev_23:7 ). As it introduced the seven day festival when all leaven was excluded from their houses, it was considered afar greater day than a weekly sabbath. It may be that the Spirit of God is hinting also at its real greatness. Leaven is a type of sin. Now the great Sin Offering had been slain, and sin was indeed put away! It was the greatest day in the Jewish calendar.

32 The course of the narrative here clearly shows that there were four others crucified with Christ. There were two malefactors and two robbers. The soldiers crush the legs of two before they come to Christ, so there must have been two on each side. There were no "thieves". One of the malefactors believed on Him.

36 See Num_9:12 ; Exo_12:46 ; Psa_34:20 .

36 With His supernatural vitality He would have remained alive long after the others, and suffered the breaking of His bones if He had not laid down His soul of Himself. It is remarkable that, in all this, there is a divine intelligence behind the ignorance of man. They marred His flesh but did not break His bones. They poured out His blood, but did not mutilate His form. So that, in resurrection, His body is composed of flesh and bones and has no blood. The soul of the flesh is in the blood, but the spirit needs no blood. The wanton hands of His enemies were used to transform His body to the new condition needed in resurrection!

37 See Zec_12:10 .

38-42 Compare Mat_27:57-60 ; Mar_15:42-46 ; Luk_23:50-54 .

38 What a notable change the crucifixion makes in two of the secret disciples of our Lord! Joseph of Arimathea was afraid of the Jews, but now he has the courage to go to Pilate and he takes the body away before the eyes of those he once feared. Nicodemus, also, does not wait till dark to bring the spices for embalming the body. He comes forth in the light of day. It is the cross, the suffering and shame, the agony and the degradation, of the One Who had won their hearts which took their timidity away. And it is still the inspiration for brave deeds and noble acts free from the fear of man.

Compare Mat_28:1 ; Mar_16:1-4 ; Luk_24:1 .

1 "One of the sabbaths" is the true rendering. The usual "first day of the week" is absolutely devoid of scriptural evidence.

2-10 Compare Luk_24:12 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 19". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/john-19.html. 1968.
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