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Bible Commentaries
John 19

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

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Verse 1

Pilate’s motive, for ordering our Saviour to be scourged, was no other than this; that the Jews might be satisfied with these his numerous sufferings, and might no longer seek his death. For the same reason, likewise, he permitted his soldiers to inflict those unheard of cruelties, related in the sequel. (St. Augustine, tract. 110. in Joan.)

Verse 11

Unless it were given, or permitted thee from above. Therefore, he that delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. Some expound this of Judas; others, rather of the high priest Caiphas, with the Jewish council: for they could not be ignorant that Jesus was their Messias, having seen the miracles Jesus did, and knowing the predictions of the prophets. (Witham) --- Lest any should think, from what our Saviour had said, that Pilate was not in fault, in this place, he here adds, that he that had delivered him up, had the greater sin: God, indeed, had permitted it; but still these instruments of his death were not without fault. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiii. in Joan.) --- Christ had been delivered into the power of Pilate through envy, and Pilate was about to exercise that power through fear. But though this last motive of fear can never justify any one, who condemns the innocent, yet still it is much more pardonable than the motive of envy, which was the incentive of the Jewish multitude. (St. Augustine, tract. 116. in Joan.) --- Judas delivered Jesus into the hands of the priest, but both the priests and the people delivered him up to Pontius Pilate.

Verse 14

The Parasceve of the Pasch; that is, the day before the paschal sabbath. The eve of every sabbath was called the Parasceve, or day of preparation. But this was the eve of a high sabbath, viz. that which fell in the paschal week. (Challoner) --- It was about the sixth hour when they crucified him. St. Mark, in his gospel, says, it was at the third hour that Jesus was crucified. These two evangelists are easily reconciled, if we consider that according to the custom of the Jews, all that took place between the third hour and the sixth hour of their day, was said to have happened in the third hour: their days being divided into four parts of three hours each, in the same manner as the nights were into four watches, of three hours each. St. Mark, therefore, might say very well, that the crucifixion of our Saviour took place in the third hour: though it might have been towards the conclusion of this general division of the day: whilst St. John, with a reason equally as good, says that it happened about the sixth hour. (John Nicolaus, in his marginal notes on St. Thomas Aquinas’ Aurea Catena.)

Verse 17

St. John makes no mention of what took place on the way to Calvary, when Jesus, being worn out by fatigue, could not proceed any farther, and they were obliged to relieve him of his burden, and to give it to a man, named Simon, of Cyrene, to carry for him, as is related in St. Matthew xxvii. 32. and St. Mark xv. 21. (Calmet) --- For the honour paid in the early ages to the holy cross see St. Cyril, lib. vi. cont. Julian.; St. Jerome, ep. xvii.; St. Paulin. ep. xi.

Verse 19

He is the king, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also. But it is not without reason, that he is called king of the Jews. For they were the true olive (Romans xi.); and we, the wild olive, have been ingrafted, and made partakers of the virtue of the true olive. Christ, therefore, is the king of the Jews, circumcised, not in the flesh, but in the heart, not according to the letter, but the spirit. (St. Augustine, tract. 118. in Joan.)

Verse 20

As there were probably many Gentiles at Jerusalem at this time, on account of the festival day, this inscription was written in three different languages, that all might be able to read it. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- It was written in Hebrew, on account of the Jews, who glorified in the law of God; in Greek, on account of the wise men of all nations; and in Latin, because of the Romans, who at that time commanded almost every nation of the earth. (St. Augustine, tract. 118. in Joan.)

Verse 23

They made four parts. Christ’s upper garment had seams, which the four executioners could easily divide; but his under garment, or vest, was without seam, so that being cut, it would have been of no use. (Witham) --- This coat without seam is a figure of the unity of the Church. (St. Cyprian, de unit. Eccles.) --- The Rev. Fred. Nolan, of Woodford, in Essex, in his late work, entitled, Objections of a Churchman to uniting with the Bible Society, after quoting 2 Peter iii. 15, 16, says: "That the Bible may, therefore, prove the remote, but innocent cause of harm, is not, I apprehend, to be disputed, if we are to admit of its own authority:" p. 23, and again, p. 24, "that the present mode of circulating the Scriptures must prove a most effectual specific for multiplying sects and schisms; and consequently, for increasing, to an infinite degree, the greatest evil, under which Christianity has suffered, from the time of its promulgation, down to the memorable epoch of this happy invention, for the establishment of Christian faith, and the extension of Christian unanimity." P. 62 in the same work, "That the Bible is the foundation of our religion, is new doctrine, unless in the divinity of the conventicle. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. (Ephesians ii. 20.) On this foundation others still build, who are labourers together with God; (1 Corinthians xi. 9. 10.) of which divine co-operation the successors of the apostles have an express promise, to the end of the world. (Matthew xxviii. 20.) And by persons thus authorized (John xx. 21.) apostolical tradition has been delivered down to the present day, p. 63. The one body, of which our Lord was resolved his Church should consist, was to have one faith, (Ephesians iv. 4, 5.) it was to contain no schism, (1 Corinthians xii. 25.) but the present confederacy is formed on the principle of combining every sect and party, and this, while we have received an express prohibition against associating with those, who reject apostolical traditions, committed to the Church." (2 Thessalonians iii. 6. 14.) In a foot-note on the above, the learned divine very appositely cites St. Ignatius, in which quotation we find these emphatic words: Greek: Me planasthe adelphoi mou, ei tis schizonti akolouthei, Basileian theou ou Kleronomei. Be not deceived, my brethren, not only acknowledged schismatics, but whoever shall join with a schismatic, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The same apostolic Father, in another part, adds: he who corrupts the faith of God, for which Christ suffered, shall go into unquenchable fire: Greek: eis to pur to asbeston choresei. St. Alexander, in the fourth century, says of the Arians: that seamless garment, which the murderers of Jesus Christ would not divide, these men have dared to rip asunder. Greek: Tou arrekton chitona schisai eiolmesan.

Verse 27

The disciple took her to his own[1] home, or into his own are, not for his mother, by the Greek expression. See St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine. (Witham)



Accepit eam discipulus in sua. Not in suam. Greek: eis ta idia.


Verse 31

Because it was the Parasceve. It is also called, (ver. 14.) the day of preparation of the Pasch. Literally, the Parasceve of the Pasch. And (ver. 31.) the Jews, because it was the preparation, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for that was a great sabbath day, &c. Some pretend, by these expressions, to prove that Friday, the year Christ suffered, was not the first and great day of the feast of Azyms, but only the day of preparation, and that on Friday night the Jews eat the paschal lamb, and not the night before, or Thursday night, as Christ had done with his disciples. But according to the common exposition, Friday is here called the day of preparation, for the great and solemn sabbath, which happened in the paschal week. See Tillemont on the 5th passage out of John, p. 698, section 11. and 12. (Witham)

Verse 34

There came out blood and water, which naturally could not come from a dead body. (Witham) --- Hence it is, that the sacred mysteries flow; as often, therefore, as thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert going to drink from thy Saviour’s sacred side. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- The holy Fathers say, that the spouse [i.e. the Church] of Jesus Christ was here taken out of his side, whilst sleeping on the cross, as Eve was from Adam’s side, when he was cast asleep in Paradise.

Verse 36

You shall not break a bone of him. This, which was literally spoken of the paschal lamb, (Exodus xii. 46.) the evangelist applies to Christ, of whom the lamb was a figure. (Witham) --- This had been said of the paschal lamb, which was a figure of Jesus Christ. (Exodus xii. 46. and Numbers ix. 12.)

Verse 37

This text is from Zacharias xii. 10. and seems to refer most literally to Jesus Christ.

Verse 39

About a hundred pounds. This seems a great quantity. It may be, they did not use it all. And besides, it was the custom of the Jews, at their great burials, to cover the body with spices and perfumes. (Witham)

Verse 41

This is added, lest it should be said, that it was not Christ, but some other, that rose from the dead; or at least, that he rose by the virtue of some other person reposing there. (Calmet).

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 19". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/john-19.html. 1859.
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