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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
John 19

 

 

Verses 1-3

JESUS SCOURGED AND MOCKED

Mark 15:19; John 19:1-3; Matthew 27:26-30. And having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him up, that He may be crucified.” As it was customary with the Romans to precede the crucifixion of condemned criminals by this awful and cruel scourging, Pilate now proceeds to have Jesus scourged, thus publicly demonstrating His condemnation, and afterward delivering Him up to be crucified pursuant to criminal law, at the same time congratulating himself on the presumed clemency of the Jews to permit His release. This was Pilate’s weakness. He here let go his grip, thinking to regain it, but failed.

Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus into the judgment-hall, gathered round Him the whole band; and divesting Him, put on Him a scarlet robe; and plaiting a crown of thorns, placed it on His head, and a reed in His right hand, and bowing the knee before Him, continued to mock Him, saying, Hall, King of the Jews. Spitting upon Him, they repeatedly took the reed, and struck Him on the head.” All this pomp, pageantry, and abuse, dressing Him up like a king, paying Him royal adoration, at the same time indulging in the vilest insult and abuse, was their way of humoring what they regarded as a ridiculous joke; i. e., His claim to be King. While Pilate, especially since the reception of his wife’s warning letter, was awfully troubled with suspicion and apprehension that He might be superhuman, and even one of the Roman gods, as their poets had described their deities as coming down in human form and walking over the earth ever and anon, the soldiers looked upon Him as a regular oddity, fanatically dreaming that He was King of the Jews. Consequently they intensely enjoyed amusement at His expense, dressing Him up like a king, with a crown on His head and a scepter in His hand, and His loyal subjects round Him, bowing the knee and doing homage to His Majesty.


Verses 4-16

FINAL EFFORT OF PILATE FOR HIS RELEASE

John 19:4-16. Then Pilate again came out, and spake to them, Behold, I lead Him out to you, that you may know that I find nothing criminal in Him. Then Jesus came out, bearing the thorny crown, and the purple robe. And he says to them, Behold the Man!” Now recognize the scene. Pilate leads Him out, lacerated and bleeding because of the cruel scourging; the cruel thorns at the same time interpenetrating His flesh, the blood issuing from every thorn point! He is now an object of indescribable pity. So Pilate thinks to arouse their sympathies and produce a merciful reaction in His favor, and that they would relent and say, “He has suffered enough, release Him; and if He can survive all of those cruel wounds, let Him live.” But in this, Pilate is mistaken. He finds them as cruel as the grave and as merciless as the pandemonium. In the old judgment-hall in Jerusalem they point out to us travelers the door out of which Pilate led Him when he said, “Behold the Man!” There is now a life-size effigy on the wall above the door, exhibiting Him as He stood before His persecutors, led out by Pilate.

Then, when the high priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him! crucify Him!” Having already suffered death over and over in the cruel scourging, and now the bleeding, smarting wounds excruciating Him unutterably, yet those demonized preachers and officers, as destitute of sympathy, pity, and mercy as the fiends of the pit, on sight of Him, instead of being moved to commiseration, give way to the volcano of diabolical cruelty ‘heaving and surging in the deep interior of their fallen spirits, screaming vociferously, “Crucify Him! crucify Him!”

Pilate says to them, You take Him, and crucify Him; for I find nothing criminal in Him.” Pilate awfully fears his responsibility in the case, and resorted to every conceivable stratagem to evade it; but signally and finally failed, as he was dealing with incarnate demons, though standing at the head of the fallen Church.

The Jews responded to him, We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” You find the law against blasphemy to which they here refer in Leviticus 24:16. You see the dilemma in which their blind and wicked misconstruction of the law would necessarily place the Messiah. He must be true, and consequently testify to His Divine Sonship. Whereas it would be blasphemy for any of us to claim to be the Son of God in that high Messianic sense, it was not blasphemy for the real Christ to thus publicly proclaim Himself. You see the Jews had no trouble to find a law in the Bible for the condemnation and execution of Christ. Hence they boldly, and even boastingly, certify that they are acting according to the law. How wonderfully history repeats itself! The denominations have no trouble now to find a law for the decapitation and excommunication of their most godly members and ministers. But what about the law? They utterly misconstrue and misapply it, precisely as these fallen preachers and Church officers when they found a law in God’s Book which required them to kill His Son. You see demonstratively, as illustrated in the martyrdom of Jesus and millions of His followers, that when the devil gets into preachers and ruling elders they have no trouble to find a law in the Bible justifying them in the most diabolical treatment of God’s saints. God says for us to go everywhere and preach. Who dares say “No?” Satan and the people actuated by him are all who could possibly antagonize the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, as all of God’s true and intelligent people want the gospel preached to “every creature.” So on the law questions, so much agitated by ecclesiastical tyrants at the present day, just remember John 19:7, where the murderers of Jesus boldly claimed to be acting in harmony with the law of God.

Then when Pilate heard this word, he feared the more.” The Roman mythology claims that Jupiter, Apollo, Neptune, and other gods, have their sons upon the earth, invested in mortal flesh. Now, Pilate becomes terribly alarmed, lest he may be dealing with the son of some one of the gods — a most dangerous affair, as Jupiter might strike him with a thunderbolt, Apollo with an arrow, or Neptune engulf him in the sea if he ever sailed again. Under this alarm, Pilate puts forth every feasible effort (in his own estimation) to save His life.

And again he went into the judgment-hall, and says to Jesus, Whence art Thou? And Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate says m Him, Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to crucify you, and I have authority to release you?” Exousia, “power,” in E. V., is better translated “authority,” which Pilate did have; while at least he felt that he lacked the power (dunarnis), which he would have used if at that time at his command, his military forces being too weak to protect Jesus.

Jesus responded, Thou hast no authority against Me, unless it were given to thee from above; consequently the one having delivered Me to thee [the high priest] hath the greater sin. From this, Pilate sought to release Him. But the Jews continued to cry out, saying, If you release Him, you are not Caesars friend. Every one making himself a king speaketh against Caesar.” Now you see the Jews come out and boldly threaten Pilate with prosecution for high treason against the Roman emperor, because of the favor he was extending to Jesus, whom they claimed to be an enemy and a rival of Caesar. This was a delicate point. Pilate, a corrupt, intriguing politician, had held the proconsulate of Judea seven years with difficulty. He is very anxious to remain in office; for at that time all the world was subject to the Roman despotism, and many a king, as well as subordinate ruler, when charged with treason, had been summoned to Rome, where he laid down his head on the executioner’s block or submitted to lonely exile. This really turned out to be Pilate’s final destiny as three years subsequently, deposed from his governorship and ordered to Rome to answer charges for maladministration, the Emperor Caligula, an awful tyrant, not only dethroned him, but banished him to Vienne, in Gaul (France), then a lonely retreat in the wild West, there to spend the remnant of his days in solitary exile. It is said that he was haunted by the form of Jesus — pale, feeble, and bleeding at many wounds, as he saw Him those several hours at his bar and on the cross — and was so affrighted and tormented by the awful specter, which his guilty conscience would likely portray, that he finally committed suicide, A. D. 41, thus surviving the dark tragedy of Calvary only eight miserable years. Like other corrupt, ambitious politicians, Pilate was appalled at the threat of the Jews to report him to the emperor for high treason if he dared to release Jesus, whom they claimed to be a rival of Caesar. In this way, Pilate was intimidated into acquiescence.

Then, Pilate hearing this word, led out Jesus, and sat upon his tribunal in the place called the Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. And he says to the Jews, Behold your King!” This is the last resort of Pilate to effect the release of Jesus by an effort to arouse their national pride. Already Judea had been a Roman province thirty-three years. Yet those high priests, elders, and Pharisees remembered well the halcyon days of their former freedom, and so loathed the despotic yoke of Rome that they sighed and cried for the good time coming, when God would break the yoke, set them free, and give them a king of their own. As they charged Jesus with claiming to be their King, Pilate, recognizing that fact, led Him out to them, saying: Behold your King! Shall I crucify your King? Will not that be an ineffaceable disgrace upon your national escutcheon?” thus endeavoring to rekindle the lingering spark of their patriotic zeal, which in olden time was a rolling flame. But this, like all preceding efforts, signally failed, as we see from their response, And they cried out, Take Him away! take Him away! crucify Him! Pilate says to them, Shall I crucify your King? The high priests responded, We have no king but Caesar.” Thus you see they utterly rejected Pilate’s appeal to their national pride and patriotism. Much as they hated Roman rule, and longed to regain their independence and have their own king, now, that they may sweep away every excuse of the governor and force him to crucify Jesus, they surrender forever all hopes of regaining their freedom, and acquiesce in their fate as the vassals of imperial Rome. How strikingly significant! They have never had a king from that day to this, and never will have till Jesus comes in His glory, gathers the elect remnant back to the Holy Land, and, pursuant to the prophecies, ascends the throne of David, King of the Jews forever.

Therefore he then delivered Him up to them, that He may be crucified.” Pilate, though awfully opposed to the crucifixion of Jesus, and terribly suspicious that He might turn out to be one of the Roman gods, yet, upon the whole, displayed the coward from beginning to end. If he had been a true man, finding Jesus utterly innocent, as he certified all the time, as governor of Judea he would have defended him with the last drop of his blood. When Martin Cozta, a Hungarian, having been imprisoned by the Austrian authorities at Smyrna, sent for Captain Ingram, of the United States war-sloop St. Louis, and showed him his naturalization papers, satisfying him that, though far away in Asia, he was a United States citizen, and the captain demanded of the Austrian general, in command of one hundred thousand soldiers, the release of the prisoner, and upon receiving a haughty denial, prepared immediately to open fire on the Austrian fleet, though he had but one hundred men and was five thousand miles from home, the Austrian general, seeing that he would have to kill every one of them, at once released the prisoner. If Pilate had done his duty, and shown up the hero; releasing Jesus and taking the consequences, he would neither have died an exile nor a suicide; and, best of all he might have saved his soul. But did not Jesus come into the world to die? Certainly He did; but that was no apology for either the cowardice of Pilate or the treason of Judas. God makes no provision for sin. Jesus would have died in some way if neither of these men had lost their souls by serving the devil, either in His betrayal or crucifixion.


Verse 16-17

CHAPTER 27.

JESUS LED TO CALVARY

Matthew 27:31-34; Mark 15:20-23; Luke 23:26-33; John 19:16-17. And they took Jesus, and led Him away, carrying His cross.” Mark: And when they mocked Him, they divested Him of His purple robe, and put on Him His own raiment, and led Him away, that they may crucify Him.” You see the crown of thorns was not taken off but remained on His brow throughout His crucifixion. They compel Simon, a certain Cyrenian along with them, having come from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, that he may bear His cross.” As the city of Cyrene stood on the northern shore of Africa, there is at least a probability that this was a stout, muscular colored man, who enjoyed the honor of carrying the cross, which proved too much for the fainting Jesus after a night of sleepless harassment and terrible suffering, attended by the loss of much blood.

Luke 23:27-32. And a great crowd of people followed Him, and of women, who continued to weep and bewail Him. And Jesus, turning to them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves, and your children. For, behold, the days are coming in which they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs which did not bring forth, and the breasts which did not nurse. Then they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.” These words of our Savior describe the horrific sufferings which came on those people forty years from that date, the Roman wars lasting five years, and resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem, the death of a million, the slavery of another million, the exile of the little remnant, and the annihilation of the Jewish polity. All this He saw in vivid panorama before His eyes — mountains of the dead, rivers of blood, and the desolation of the city and the land.

Because if they do these things in the green tree, what may be done in the dry?” This statement is metaphoric; e. g., If, while Mercy’s door is wide open, the Holy Ghost wooing, Jesus and His apostles and evangelists preaching, and everything prosperous and auspicious, they reject and crucify Him who came from heaven to save them, killing their own Christ for whom they had waited two thousand years, what will they do when the Holy Ghost has retreated away, and God has turned them over to hardness of heart and reprobacy of mind, to believe lies and be condemned? Thus the green tree emblematizes the mercy and grace abounding in the days of Jesus; and the dry, the horrific spiritual dearth coming on the land because they insulted God, slew His Son, and outraged the Holy Ghost.

And there were also two others, malefactors, being led, along with Him to be put to death.” Matthew 27:33-34 : And having come into the place called Golgotha, which is denominated the place of a skull, they gave Him vinegar mingled with gall to drink; and tasting it, He did not wish to drink.” This was a soporific potion, conducive to the lulling of the nerves to insensibility and the obtundification of the feeling, so as to mitigate the awful severity of the pain, somewhat corresponding with the modern chloroform. You see that Jesus declined to drink it, preferring to enjoy the clear and unclouded exercise of His intellect and the full acumen of His nerves. So when physicians want you to take chloroform, or some kind of a nervous sedative, which might probably render you unconscious of your suffering, you have the example of Jesus declining all artificial relief when passing through the terrible ordeal of crucifixion, enjoying the normal exercise of nerves and brain. Calvary is not far from Pilate’s judgment-hall, the ascension beginning in the city about one square from the hall, and continuing really to the summit of Calvary, passing northward through the Damascus Gate, then turning somewhat eastward, the mountain being one of the peaks of Bezetha, and within the angle formed by the road to Jericho, leading east, and the way to Damascus leading north, as the Romans were in the habit of crucifying their criminals in the most public and conspicuous places, so as to present the greatest possible terror to evildoers. Hebrews 13:12, locates it “without the gate.” Calvary is Greek, and means “skull,” because the hill has the shape of a human skull. When I first came to Jerusalem, with nothing but the Scripture for my guide, I recognized Calvary before any one pointed it out to me.


Verses 18-24

THE CRUCIFIXION

Matthew 27:35-38; Luke 23:33-38; John 19:18-24; Mark 15:24-28. And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” Here you see the bloody work of death began at 9 A.M., and they remained on the cross till 3 P.M. And they crucify along with Him two thieves; the one on His fight, and the one on His left. And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, He was numbered with the transgressors.” Thus the high priests maneuvered to do their utmost to cover Him with ineffaceable disgrace, having Him crucified between two robbers. N.B. — If you would follow Him up to heaven, you must go with Him to Gethsemane, and there give up all the world, your will sinking away into the Divine. Then you must go with Him to Calvary, and be crucified between two robbers; i. e., if you would get sanctified, you may expect the people to pronounce you a thief robber, or some other vile reprobate. They will so misunderstand and misjudge you as to identify you with the worst people. All this you must bear patiently and unmurmuringly, like Jesus, if you are going up to live with Him in heaven.

Luke 23:34. And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.” How true! If those preachers had known that they were killing their own Christ, they would not have done it for a million of worlds. They were so blinded by the devil that they did not know what they were doing. So have the people claiming to be God’s elect slaughtered about two hundred millions of God’s people. They killed them all under criminal charges, believing them to be bad people. What is the solution of this wonderful mystery? Satan, as in the case of the Jews when they crucified Jesus, had so deluded them as to make them follow him, thinking he is God. Amid these delusions, are the people inculpatory? Certainly they are. Having rejected the light and believed Satan’s lies, they have drifted into the awful dilemma where they call evil good, and good evil.

John 19:23-24. Then the soldiers, when they crucified Jesus, took His garments, and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier; also His tunic. For the tunic was seamless, woven from the top throughout. Then they said to one another, Let us not tear it, but gamble for it, whose it shall be; in order that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, saying, They parted My garments among themselves, and upon My vesture they did cast the lot. Indeed, then, the soldiers did these things.” Roman law gave the garments of the crucified to the quaternion, consisting of four soldiers, who took charge of each criminal and executed the bloody work. In that day, when there were no factories, clothing was not only very valuable, but quite scarce. The vesture or tunic was the inner garment, and, as you see here, it was seamless throughout, beautifully illustrating the absolute unity of the true Church, the body of Christ, the divisions all having been made by Satan, and, so far as they go, represent the Satanic phase of the true Church. The soldiers having divided all of His other garments, now recognized this seamless vesture, and concluded that it will spoil it to tear it into pieces; consequently they agreed to settle the ownership by a game of dice. O that all religious people could only have the gumption of these heathen barbarians, and see that they can not divide up the Church of Christ without serious detriment! Luke 23:38 : And the superscription was written over Him in Greek, Roman, and Hebrew letters, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Roman law claimed pre-eminent justice in all things. Consequently the crime for which every culprit was crucified was written on the cross over his head, so the multitudes could all read it and know the reason why he suffered this awful death. Though the Jews had condemned Him for blasphemy, they could not use that charge against Him under Roman administration, as their law knew no such a crime. Though both Pilate and Herod had positively vetoed the charge of treason against Caesar which the Jews tried so hard to get them to recognize, yet in the finale, Pilate had it written over Him simply to fill a vacancy, as he had nothing else. As you pass by Roman Catholic cemeteries and churches, you frequently see a cross, superscribed I.N.R.I. This is an abbreviation of Jesus Nasarenus Rex Judaeorum, “Jesus of Nazereth, King of the Jews.”

These are the very words which were superscribed on the cross above the head of Jesus, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the language of religion, learning, and law, for the convenience of all the multitudes, as they could all find it out from these three languages.

John 19:20-21. Then many of the Jews read this title; because the place was near the city where Jesus was crucified.” Calvary overlooks the city, the prominence rising only about one hundred yards from the north wall, the Jericho road running between, and then the hill about one hundred yards more to its summit, which is somewhat level on top, uniformly and gradually descending, actually resembling a human, skull, for which it is named, and is the most conspicuous place about Jerusalem, lying in the angle of the two most important roads — i. e., those leading to Damascus and Jericho — in harmony with the Roman policy of crucifying criminals in the most conspicuous places. I emphasize these, specifications because the Greek, Roman, and all other Oriental Churches, locate Calvary some distance within the present wall of the city, where there is no mountain, but rather a subsidence, between Zion and Akra, within the great Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which has stood there since the days of Constantine, the most magnetic pilgrim-resort in all the Holy Land, as they believe that Jesus there laid down His life to save a guilty world. I believe they are mistaken as to the location of Calvary; and this lonely hill, outside of the wall, for more than a thousand years a Moslem cemetery, is, beyond doubt, the true Calvary. You remember that the Romans utterly destroyed the city, A. D. 73, verifying the prophecy of Jesus, leaving it utterly desolate fifty years. Then the Emperor Adrian went there, and founded a Roman colony, using the ruins to rebuild the city, calling it Elia Capitolina, thus even burying the name “Jerusalem” in (as they supposed). hopeless oblivion. So two hundred years rolled away during the nonexistence of Jerusalem, this Roman city occupying the site. When the Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, A. D. 325, he and his royal mother, Queen Helena, came to this sacred spot, revived and rebuilt the city, and restored the heaven-born name, Jerusalem. During these three hundred years there were no people there who knew the sacred places. Hence the confusion with reference to the locations. For an exhaustive elucidation of this matter, see “Footprints of Jesus.”

Then the high priest of the Jews said to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate responded, What I have written, I have written.” In Oriental dialect, this is the very strongest negative, bluntly and stubbornly muttered out by the impatient proconsul. The truth of the matter is, they had browbeaten Pilate from the beginning, and run over him like a dog. Fearful of official depreciation, deposition, arraignment before the emperor, and untold humiliation, with which the high priests and elders threatened him, despite all his protestation of the innocence of Jesus, and the diversity of stratagems to which he resorted for His release, they treated all his efforts with utter contempt; having yielded to their imperious clamors again and again, and finally, though with the utmost reluctance, signed His death-warrant, and, pursuant to the Roman custom, superscribed the only accusation they had brought against Him on the cross above His head, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” and still they are dissatisfied and clamored for a change, — his patience broke down, and he positively and abruptly refused. No wonder Pilate refused to change that writing. He could not change it; Jesus is King of tile Jews, and will be forever. In coming eternity, as well as through the bright millennial centuries, when God will honor the patriarch and prophets, the elect custodians of His Revealed Oracles, amid a world of darkness and sin, Jesus will be King of the Jews forever, encumbering and honoring the Theocratic throne of David.


Verses 25-27

CARE OF JESUS FOR HIS MOTHER

John 19:25-27. His mother and the sister of His mother, Mary the mother of Clopas do not identify the sister of our Saviors mother with Mary the mother of Clopas, as in that case there would be two sisters in one family by the name of Mary, and Mary Magdalen are standing by. Then Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, says to His mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then He says to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” Though Mary had four sons besides Jesus — Simon, Judas, James, and Joses, who are believed by Roman Catholics to be the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, but all the facts in the case decidedly favoring the conclusion that they were her own sons, younger than Jesus — and we also read about the sisters of Jesus in Nazareth, who were evidently her daughters, yet we see Jesus commits her to the Apostle John for safekeeping, confirmatory of the fact that the consanguinity of the Spirit is stronger and dearer than that of the flesh. Doubtless John was the most loving man in the world at that time, this being the reason why Jesus honored him with the custodianship of His mother. You see how John at that very hour took charge of her, under the expiring eye of her Divine Son. You see here that Jesus does not salute her by the endearing epithet “mother;” illustrating the consolatory fact that He is not a member of any isolated family to the exclusion of the rest of mankind; but, as He uniformly called Himself, “The Son of man” — i. e., the Son of humanity — representing the whole human race, everybody’s Brother in the common consanguinity of a universal blood brotherhood.


Verses 28-30

JESUS EXPIRES AMID THE DARKNESS

Luke 23:44-46; John 19:28-30; Mark 15:33-37; Matthew 27:45-50. And from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.” Infidelity has ransacked astronomy to find a total solar eclipse at this time and thus account for the darkness. If you will think of one fact you will see the utter folly of such an effort. You know it was the time of the Jewish Passover, which always took place at the full moon of our April. You know this is a time when a solar eclipse is utterly impossible, as the moon is in the east and the sun is in the west, the eclipse necessarily taking place when they are both on the same side of the earth, as the moon must come between the earth and the sun in order to produce the eclipse. Luke 23:45 : And the sun was darkened.” This settles the matter against the hypothesis of an eclipse, as the sun is not darkened in that case, but shining as brightly as if no intervening object casts a dark shadow on the earth. The revelation sustains the conclusion that the sun himself actually refused to shine.

“He dies, the Friend of sinners dies! Lo, Salem’s daughters weep around! A solemn darkness veils the skies, A sudden trembling shakes the ground. Come, saints, and drop a tear or two For Him who groaned beneath your load: He shed a thousand drops for you —

A thousand drops of richest blood.”

Matthew 27:46-49 : About the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a great voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Thus the darkness, prevailed from twelve to three o’clock, when our Lord expired with these words. A momentous crisis right here culminates, leading us down into the profoundest depths of the redemptive scheme.

“He made Him sin who knew no sin, in order that we may be the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21.)

In this wonderfully terse statement of the vicarious atonement, be sure you recognize the fact that “sin” in both clauses is a noun. If you take it for a verb, you ruin the passage. In the Greek, you see on a glance that it is a noun in both instances; but not so in English, which is a loose, unmechanical language, splendid for universal use, but really unfit for a Divine revelation. Consequently, God in mercy made the intensely mechanical Greek, in order to reveal His wonderful truth to the world in such an explicit presentation that human ingenuity: can never evade its legitimate meaning. While Jesus knew no sin — i. e., was always perfectly sinless and holy, — God made Him “sin” as a substitute for a guilty world. E. V. gives it “to be sin,” as you see, italicizing “to be,” showing thereby that it is not in the original, which is true. “To be” is objectionable, too much savoring the idea that Jesus in some way had sin in Him, which is utterly incorrect and unsustained by the Scripture. I trow, this moment, when God turned His face away from Him, was the identical crisis when He laid on Him the sins of the whole world, and the above Scripture was verified.

God can not look upon sin under any circumstances; hence when He laid the sins of the whole world on His Own Son, He turned His face away from Him, when the humanity cried out as above. You see here that sin and righteousness are antithetical and coextensive, all sin being laid on Jesus and all the world receiving the righteousness of God — i. e., being justified in Him — this taking place in infancy, and explaining the fact of universal infantile salvation. This is also the sinner’s hope. As Jesus carried all of his sins on the cross, he has nothing to do but forsake all, receive the righteousness of God by faith, and become a disciple of our Lord.

And certain ones of those standing by hearing, said, He is calling for Elijah.” As they did not understand the Hebrew word “Eli,” taking the sound, they mistook it for Elijah. And immediately one of them, running, and taking a sponge, and filling it with vinegar, putting it on a reed, gave Him drink. And the rest said, Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah is coming to save Him.” They all knew well that Elijah never died, but was translated to heaven alive. Therefore, looking upon him as still alive, and thinking that Jesus was calling him, they did not know but he would ride down from heaven on his fiery chariot, as he had gone up from the land of Moab many centuries ago.

Luke 23:46. Calling with a great voice, Jesus said, Father, into Thy hands I will commit My spirit. And saying these things, He expired.” Matthew and John say, “He gave up His spirit;” i. e., the human spirit left the body, going into Hades as above described, proclaimed His victory in hell, meeting the thief and all the Old Testament saints in the intermediate paradise, and returned the third morn, when He re-entered His body. As Jesus is both man and God, He has a perfect human soul and body, like Adam before he fell. O what a time the soul-sleeping heresy has with plain and unmistakable Scriptures like these, showing positively that Jesus had a human soul, which He gave up when He died, and it returned to His body in the resurrection, as they are under the necessity either to abandon their false doctrine or prove that Jesus had no soul, which you see flatly contradicts the Word of God, as here given! I hope, reader, if you have a creed of any kind you will throw it away, and take the Bible for your only guide. If your creed is true, you do not need it, as the Bible includes it; if untrue throw it away, lest it lead you to hell.


Verses 31-42

THE INTERMENT

Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42. “Then the Jews, in order that the bodies may not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, since it was the preparation (for the day of that Sabbath was great), asked Pilate that they may break their legs, and take them down. Then the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first, and the other one who had been crucified along with him.” It seems that the soldiers had a veneration for Jesus, as they passed Him by after breaking the legs of the one, going on to the third, and returning to Him, as He was in the middle. And having come to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with his spear, and blood and water immediately came out.” Roman law was terribly rigid, taking the life of a soldier for apparently trivial delinquency in duty. Hence the soldier felt it important to be sure that He was dead before he consented to intermit the verification of the order given to break their legs. Consequently he plunged the spear into His heart, thus making sure that He was dead. The Bible is a wonderful book, never relaxing its ipse dixit. If you are going up to heaven to live with Jesus, you must walk in His footprints by way of Gethsemane, the judgment-hall, and Calvary. This wicked world will plunge the spear of ridicule, contempt, and persecution into your side. Jesus died so dead that He did not feel this awful cruelty. Lord, help us to do likewise! Let me die so dead

“That no desire shall rise To pass for good or great or wise, In any but my Savior’s eyes.”

The entire constituency of salvation came out of the Savior’s side in the blood and the water. The blood redeems and sanctifies; the water regenerates, nourishes, and purifies. Hence you have the true works of grace represented by the water and the blood.

“Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure:

Save from wrath, and make me pure.”

O what a pity the millions run after the priests, who at best are nothing but saved sinners, forgetting that they need nothing but the blood and water flowing out of the Savior’s side! Then fly for a sale retreat in His clefted side.

And the one having seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he speaks the truth, in order that you may believe.” You see from this that John was an eye-witness of all he wrote in his Gospel. The same is true of Matthew; while Mark is believed to have served Peter as an amanuensis, receiving his narrative from the senior apostle; Luke being the amanuensis of Paul. Hence the literary culture manifested in the latter, and the straight, solid, flinty truth in the former.

Luke 23:54. And it was the preparation day, and the Sabbath drawing nigh.” Vv. 50-52: “Behold, a man by name Joseph, being a senator, a good and righteous man, who was not consenting unto their counsel and deed, from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who also himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; he, having come to Pilate, begged the body of Jesus.”

Mark 15:44-46 : And Pilate was astonished if He was already dead, and calling a centurion, asked him if He were dead a long time. And learning from the centurion, he delivered the body to Joseph. And purchasing linen, and taking Him down, he wrapped Him in the linen, and placed Him in a sepulcher which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone to the door of the sepulcher.” Matthew 27:59-60 : And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it in clean linen, and placed it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. and rolling a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, departed.” Luke 23:53 : And taking it [the body] down , he wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a hewn sepulcher, where no one had ever been laid.” John 19:38-42 : After these things, Joseph from Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, and having been concealed on account of the fear of the Jews, requested Pilate that he may take the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted him. Then he came, and took the body of Jesus. And Nieodemus also, the one having in the first place come to Jesus by night [John 3], came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about one hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and wrapped it in the linen, along with the aromatics, as it is customary to the Jews to embalm. And in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher in which no one was yet deposited. Then they placed Jesus there on account of the preparation of the Jews, because the sepulcher was nigh.” Luke 23:55-56 : And the women following along, who had come with Him from Galilee, saw the sepulcher, and where His body, was placed; and turning away, they prepared aromatics and myrrh; and they kept the Sabbath according to the commandment.”

a. Such was the punctilious rigor with which the Jews kept the Sabbath that they postponed the completion of His embalmment till the day of sacred rest had passed away; however, in order to expedite the embalmment as much as possible, they procured the materials on Friday evening, so that, all things being ready, they may proceed at the early dawn of the incoming week, and perfect the work begun on the preceding Friday by Nicodemus and Joseph.

b. I passed through the city of Ramlah, in the Plain of Sharon, on the road from Jerusalem to Joppa. Though, like other cities in that land, it went into utter desolation, in the last few years it has been colonized by Jews, who have made it very prosperous, like all of their colonies in that land. It now contains eleven thousand inhabitants, and is growing rapidly. This is said to be the ancient home of Nicodemus and Joseph, by whose kindness our Savior received a royal interment. John says they were secret disciples of Jesus on account of the fear of the Jews. This is an instance in which we see the power of death signally revealed, as these two great and good men never publicly confessed Him during His life, but when they saw Him die, covered with shame and popular contempt, calumniated as a malefactor (and not only executed in the most disgraceful method, such as hanging in this country, but, in order to augment His ignominy, actually crucifying Him between two robbers, thus proclaiming to the world His identity with the worst criminals), they became more courageous than ever before, coming out boldly, and Joseph furnished a valuable new sepulcher, hewn out of the great, precipitous rock at the base of Mount Calvary, and Nicodemus brought one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, both very costly, and especially the former, which was not native in Palestine, but transported from Arabia Felix; and the latter, though indigenous, was rare and costly. Thus these two wealthy theologians actually favored Him with a royal interment. This courageous public intervention on the part of these men, who were so prominent in the Theocracy, really warrants the conclusion that their faith had received a wonderful impetus during those memorable hours when the powers of darkness dominated earth and hell, and heaven veiled her face in sable night rather than behold the awful tragedy. If the trend of things at that time had continued, both of these men would have been executed as accomplices in the treason, heresy, and imposture with which Jesus was charged.

c. Down at the base of the skull-shaped summit on which our Lord was crucified, as here specified, there is a garden, and in it there is a sepulcher hewn out in the perpendicular rock, really constituting a part of Mount Calvary; and in that sepulcher there are three tombs, cut out in the solid stone. As it is said that the tomb in which they deposited the body of Jesus was new, no one ever having been laid in it, therefore we conclude that the one of these three which looks newest was the identical tomb in which the body of our Lord was laid. As this is the only sepulcher in that garden, we conclude that it is the identical one honored by containing the crucified body of our Lord.

d. The fine linen with which He was wrapped was made in Egypt, and used by kings for underwear, the Tyrian purple constituting their external robes. Thus we see our Lord received a royal burial in every respect. O how contrastive with His humble and lowly life, having no temporal estate, no money, no living, no home, not as much as a place to lay His head, thus vividly symbolizing the glorious victory won by His expiatory death, and at the same time adumbrating His brilliant royalty in His second coming!

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on John 19:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/john-19.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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