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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
John 19

 

 

Verses 1-16

John 19:1-3. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe. And said, Hail, King of the Jews!

Just as they were gathered to say, “Ave Imperator” — “Hail emperor” —so imitating that word which they applied to Caesar. and applying it to Jesus in mockery. “King of the Jews,” the utmost scorn was thrown into the last word, “of the Jews.” There had been a general tradition that there should arise among the Jews a king who would subdue the nations, and the Romans jested at the very thought that they should be conquered by the leader of such a despised race as the Jews, and so they said, “King of the Jews.”

John 19:3-4. And they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

That is the second time he said it. He had declared it before; in the 38th verse of the previous chapter we read, “I find in him no fault at all.” And now again, “That ye may know that I find no fault in him.” “Then came Jesus forth” — you can see him going down the steps out of Pilate’s hall into that same courtyard — “wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them” — “Ecce Homo” — “behold the man.” He does not call him king; he only gives him the title of man. As if to say, “How foolish are you to think there is any danger from him; look at him in all his suffering and shame.”

John 19:5-6. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

That is the third time. It was well that he who had the principal hand in the slaughter of the Lamb of God should make his report that he was “a Lamb without blemish and without spot”; and, therefore, fit to be presented in sacrifice before God. For the third time he doth acquit him. The Jews answered him, “We have a law” — it may not be your law — “and by our law he ought to die because he made himself the son of God.” This is a reviving of the charge of blasphemy which they had brought against him in the palace of the high priest.

John 19:7-8. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid:

It shows he was afraid all along — the coward — the vacillating coward — and now a fresh superstition seizes upon him. He believed, as a Roman in gods many. “What?” said he to himself. “What if, after all, I should have been torturing a divine Being, a God who has come among men in their likeness?”

John 19:9-10. And went again, into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. The, saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I hate power to crucify thee, And have power to release thee?

And he trembled with fear, “and went again into the judgment, hall,” taking his prisoner with him — you can see the two sitting there alone — “and saith unto Jesus, ‘Whence art thou? Tell me now, what is thy character, thine origin, thy rank? ‘But Jesus gave him no answer.” Pilate’s day of grace was over; he had had his opportunity, but that was now ended; there was no answer. It is a very solemn thing when God gives no answer to a man; when a man turns to Scripture, but there is no answer; when he goes to hear the voice, but there is no voice from the oracle for him; when he even bows the knee in prayer, but gets no answer. The silence of the Christ of God is very terrible. “Then saith Pilate unto him,” with all the pride of a Roman in his face, “Speakest thou not unto me Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee?”

John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

“Thou hast the power to execute the sentence, lent to thee from heaven: but he that brought me here, and laid the charge against me, even Caiaphas, as the representative of the Jews, hath the greater sin.” And then the Blessed One closed his lips, never to open them again until on the cross. From this time, “like a sheep before her shearers,” he is dumb. Notice that even though that word is the word of the Judge who judges Pilate, who judges the Jews, yet there is a strain of the gentleness of his character about it, for though he does virtually declare Pilate guilty of great sin, yet he says there is a greater, and while there is no apology for Pilate, yet he puts it softly.

John 19:12. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out. saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

One of the Herods had put upon his coins the name, “Caesar’s friend.” and so they quoted the title which one of their kings had taken, and they tell Pilate that he will not be the friend of Tiberius. Here was a sore point with Pilate; he knew that just then Tiberius was gloomy and morose, too ready to catch anything against his servants; and the man by whose influence Pilate had come into power had just then lost all influence at court. So he was afraid it would be his disgrace and discharge as governor if the Jews brought a charge against him to Tiberius. Therefore he trembled.

John 19:13. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

The usual form of the Roman judgment-place, in the open air, with a stone pavement, and a raised throne.

John 19:14-15. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

“To crucify your king.” In bitter sarcasm: “You call him king, and ask to have him crucified.” “The Chief Priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’” Verily they thus proved the truth of that word, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come.” And here he was sent, of God. He has come at last, for the scepter has evidently departed from Judah; and these men are crying, We have no king but the alien monarch, the all-conquering Caesar.”

John 19:16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led him away.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 1:19-33; John 19:1-16.


Verses 1-37

John 19:1. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

This was one of the most terrible punishments to which a man could be sentenced. The Roman scourge was no trifle. It tore off the quivering flesh of the agonized sufferer for it was constructed on purpose to do so. It was generally made of the sinews of oxen, intertwined with the knuckle bones of sheep, and small slivers of bone. This torture our blessed Saviour endured. These are the stripes with which we are healed.

John 19:2. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

Mockery was blended with cruelty. They might have made him a crown, yet surely it need not have been one of thorns unless they intended to put him to the utmost torment that they could conceive. By this crown of thorns our blessed Lord was crowned King of the curse, for the earth was cursed through Adam’s sin, and part of the sentence pronounced by God in the garden of Eden was, “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” So Christ wore the mark of the curse which man’s sin had brought upon the world.

John 19:3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

This was the homage which the Son of God received from men; harmless and gentle, he came here with no purpose but that of doing good, and this is how mankind treated him.

John 19:4-5. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

Was there ever such a sight of majesty in misery before or since? Yet he needed not to endure all that ignominy, he was no vanquished monarch unable to maintain his own rights. He was still “over all, God blessed for ever,” and be could have smitten everyone there to death if he had pleased to do so. But he was the Lamb of God’s passover, so he meekly suffered.

John 19:6-7. When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him. We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

They no doubt understood that he claimed to be divine, and so he did. I have heard some say that he was a good man, but not God. If he was not God, he was certainly not a good man, for no good man, who was only a man, would claim to be God, or lead others to believe that he was divine. If he was not actually divine, he was a rank impostor; but he was divine, and therefore we worship and adore him equally with the Father and the Spirit.

John 19:8-10. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

Pilate talks like some great one, yet how contemptibly little he was, vacillating, cowardly, unable to do what he knew was right. His poor Victim who stood before him was infinitely greater in character than he was.

John 19:11. Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Christ referred to Judas, and through him to the Jews who had conspired to put him to death; but what tenderness it was, on the part of Jesus, to make an excuse as it were even for Pilate! He was notable for making excuses for the guilty. That was a remarkable excuse that he pleaded for his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There was never another such a tender heart as his; he was so gentle and so kind that all their cruelty only moved him to pity them, and pray for them.

John 19:12-14. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that crying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

What mockery there was in Pilate’s use of this title, and yet how true it was! They asked to have Christ put to death, yet he was their King. Their accusation was transparently false, and Pilate made them see that it was so.

John 19:15-17. But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

The inspired writers seem to delight to give us the Hebrew names of these notable places that are linked with Christ’s last agonies, and they are still very precious to Christians, Gethsemane, Gabbatha, Golgotha¾, three names never to be forgotten by those who were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.

John 19:18. Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

As if to show that they thought him the worst of the three, and therefore gave him ¾shall I call it the place of chief dishonour?

John 19:19-20. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was near to the city and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

So that all who gathered around the cross might read it.

John 19:21-22. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am king of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

He could be stubborn about some things which shows that he had strength of mind if he had chosen to use it; yet he was beaten to and fro like a shuttlecock by these wicked men, and seemed to have no power to resist them.

John 19:23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments,¾

For they had stripped him. He must be naked, because sin makes us naked, and his garments must be a covering for us. They “took his garments,” —

John 19:23-24. And made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled,¾

They knew nothing about that ancient prophecy, yet God ordained that they should act thus “that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” —

John 19:24. Which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Doubtless, on the dice there fell the blood of Christ, yet they still gambled there. There is, perhaps, no sin which so effectually hardens the heart as that of gambling; it is a sin with which Christians should not have even the reluctant connection.

John 19:25-30. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished;

Consummatum est. “The work is done, redemption is accomplished; the salvation of my people is for ever secured.”

John 19:30-37. And he sowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,)besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look upon him whom they pierced.


Verses 14-37

John 19:14. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

They had accused him of being a King, or of pretending to be one. Pilate had scourged him, the soldiers had mocked him, and there he stood piteous spectacle of woe. What cruel sarcasm there was in the tones of the Governor when he said to the Jews, “ Behold your King.”

John 19:15. But they cried out, away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?

“How could you call him King, and bring against him a charge of setting up a rival kingdom when you, who would be his subjects, are all crying out, ‘Crucify him’? ‘Shall I crucify your King?”’ How false they were their own actions proved.

John 19:15. The chief priests answered, we have no king but Caesar.

They said this with all the coolness in the world. The mob had been stirred up and excited, but the chief priests, the principal ecclesiastics of the day, coolly said, “ We have no king but Caesar.” Did they not recollect that the scepter was not to pass away from Judah until Shiloh came, so that, as it had evidently passed away, Shiloh must have come? After all their Bible-reading, did they not know that? Oh, how easy it is to read much of Scripture and yet to know little about its teaching! Dear friends, let us not join the Jews in refusing to have Christ as King. They cried, “ Away with him, away with him,” when he was set before them as King. Let us not do that, but let us rather accept the Crucified as our Master and Lord, and cheerfully bow at his feet.

John 19:16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

So was he led as a sheep to the slaughter, as Isaiah had long before foretold that he would be.

John 19:17. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha:

Probably a knoll of rock which today stands outside the city gate looking wonderfully like a skull, with two depressions in the rock which at distance appear like eyes. This was the common place of execution, the Tyburn, the Old Bailey of Jerusalem.

John 19:18-19. Where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was, Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.

What could have moved Pilate to write that title? Perhaps he did it just to let the Jews know that they had forced him to put the Christ to death; he would put over him their accusation without any endorsement of his own: “ JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS “ and so he is, and King of the Gentiles, too.

John 19:20. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

So that everybody could read it, for some one or other of these languages would be known to everybody in the crowd; they were not dead languages then as they are now.

John 19:21-22. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

He could sometimes be firm; perhaps when there was least excuse for it but when there was need of firmness, this vacillating Governor was swayed by the will of cruel men.

John 19:23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments.

It was the custom with executioners to take the garments of the criminal.

John 19:23. And made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat woven without seam, woven from the top throughout.

The common robe of the country, for Christ assumed no garment or vesture that would make him seem great. He was too great to need the adornment of any special style of clothes.

John 19:24. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Those rough Roman soldiers knew nothing about the ancient prophecy, yet a divine destiny guided them. God’s Word must be fulfilled; and they, in the freedom of their will, did exactly what God had ordained, and the Spirit had long before prophesied. There are two things that are true; ¾that men act freely and are therefore responsible when they sin, but that there is a divine predestination that rules all things according to the purpose and will of God. It would have puzzled us to explain how such a prophecy could be fulfilled at all, ¾parting Christ’s raiment among them, and then casting lots for his vesture; yet so it was, they divided what could be divided, and they cast lots upon what would have been spoilt if they had rent it. I think that no Christian man will ever like the rattle of dice when he remembers that they were used at the cross; all games of chance should be put away from us, for we can, as it were, see our Master’s blood bespattered upon them.

John 19:25-26. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

“See in John one who will act as a son to thee.”

John 19:27. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!

“John, take her home, and treat her as a mother should be treated.”

John 19:27. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

He was the disciple whom Jesus specially loved, so as a token of Christ’s great love to him, he left his mother to his charge. Have you any poor folk dependent upon you? Do you know any of God’s very poor people? Take care of them, and do not think the charge a burden; but do it for the sake of him who loves you so much that he entrusts his poor ones to you. Oh, that everybody would look at this matter of caring for God’s poor in that light!

John 19:28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst!

It seems a strange thing that Jesus should have said, “ I thirst,” because, out of all the pains that he endured upon the cross, and they were very many and very sharp, he never mentions one except thirst. A person in such terrible agony as he was enduring might have mentioned fifty things, but he singles out this one because there was a prophecy concerning it.

John 19:29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Why is hyssop mentioned here? You remember that the hyssop was used in the cleansing of the leper, and that David prayed, “ Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The hyssop was also used in the sprinkling of blood under the law, so it is introduced here with a set purpose. The spunge is introduced here too; it always seems to me very remarkable that, in the death of Christ the circle of life was completed. The spunge is the very lowest form of animal life, and Christ is the very highest type of life of any kind. The spunge was lifted to the lip of the King of glory, and carried refreshment to him; and you and I, like the spunge, the very least of God’s living ones, may yet bring refreshment to our Saviour’s lips.

John 19:30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

It is not that he died, and that then his head fell forward; but while he yet lived, having before maintained an erect, noble bearing even in the pangs of death, he now, to show his perfect resignation to his Father’s will bows his head, and yields up that saved spirit of his which dwelt within his body.

John 19:31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

The breaking of the legs was intended to hasten death, ¾a very cruel method, but a very effectual one. Passing by Christ hanging in the center it was a strange thing for them to do, yet it had to be done, although they were quite unconscious of the reason why they so acted.

John 19:32-34. Then came the soldier, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,-

To make sure that he should not survive,¾

John 19:34-37. And forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”

So his side must be pierced, but his bones must not be broken. See how the hand of God carries out the Word of God, and value every line of Scripture. Our Lord Jesus Christ seemed to go out of his way so as to ensure that every single word in the Old Testament in reference to himself should be fulfilled, so mind that you do not think little of the Old Testament which he so highly prized.


Verses 23-37

John 19:23. There the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments,

They had already stripped him, no element of shame was wanting in his substitution for us. He stooped as low as our sins could have thrust us, that he might bring us up from the very depths of degradation and shame.

John 19:23-24. And made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also his coat: now the coat was without seven woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might he fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Quite unaware of the ancient prophecy, yet in complete accord with divine predestination these soldiers did exactly according to the eternal purposes of God. It is very wonderful how, in practice, the free agency of man tallies exactly with the predestination of God. We need not enquire how it is, but we may admire that so it is. “These things therefore the soldiers did,” yet the motive which swayed them was not the fulfillment of the divine will, but simply the commonsense thought that it would be a pity to spoil such a garment by rending it apart ¾also by that innate love of gambling which is found everywhere, in every age, so that often men would sooner run the hazard of winning all than take the safe one fourth which might fall to their lot. Let us reverently adore the whole scheme of providence by which God’s determinate purpose is carried out in every jot and little, while the free agency of man is left unfettered.

John 19:25. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

These gracious women stood by the cross: we call them the feebler sex; but we must grant that they are the stronger of the two in anything which has to do with pure disinterested love. Yield the first place to them.

John 19:26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother,

Here was another pang for him: he could not be spared anywhere. He must recollect in his death everything that would cause him grief: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother,” —

John 19:26-27. And the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother. Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

There was no specific direction given to John to entertain Mary. It was quite enough for the Lord to call his attention to her by saying “Behold thy mother.” How I wish we were always in such a state of heart that we did not need specific precepts, a hint would suffice. Dear friends, do not need pressing or driving to holy duty; be not as bullocks that must be goaded, but rather have within you such a spring of love that it shall be a delight to do anything that may give joy to the heart of the Well-beloved. When you see him on the cross, is there anything you can deny him? Will you not think spontaneously of what you can do to please him?

John 19:28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

There was yet a little more to be done; all the great things were accomplished, but he would keep even the least particles of prophecy, so he cried, “I thirst.”

John 19:29-30. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, —

He did receive that; he had refused the drugged draught which they had first offered to him to lull his pain, but he accepted this, which was simply weak wine, no doubt a little sour, possibly bitter. When he “had received the vinegar,” —

John 19:30. He said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Incarnate love has fulfilled its self-imposed task. Jesus, as the substitute for sinners, was condemned to die, and he died that he might finish the work of our redemption.

“It is Finished.’

Hear the dying Saviour cry.”

John 19:31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

To prevent a ceremonial error, they are willing to commit brutal cruelty; indeed, they had already committed the more brutal cruelty of putting Christ to death. How particular some men are about some merely human rubric, yet the divine precepts of the law they violate with impunity. God save us from a conscience which will stick at home minute point which is of no consequence, but will allow us to commit great sin! We have heard of a Spanish bandit who confessed to his priest, after having murdered a great many persons, not his robberies and his murders, but the fact that a drop of blood had spurted on to his lips on a Friday, and thus he had defiled the feast day by taking animal food! Ah me! Conscience is a strange thing, yet some call it “the vicegerent of God.” I believe it is no such thing, but that it very soon becomes as depraved as any other power of the human mind: we have need of far more than conscience to keep us right.

John 19:32. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

With a huge iron bar smashing the great bones of their legs.

John 19:33-34. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced him twice, and forthwith there came out blood and water. See how, even after death, his heart it tribute poured out for us. We have not only the love of Christ’s heart blessing us while he lives, but after he died there was the stream of blood and water to cleanse us from sins guilt and power.

John 19:35-37. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.


Verses 25-30

John 19:25. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Last at the cross, first at the sepulcher. No woman’s lip betrayed her Lord; no woman’s hand ever smote him; their eyes wept for him; they gazed upon him with pitying awe and love. God bless the Marys! When we see so many of them about the cross, we feel that we honour the very name of Mary.

John 19:26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith into his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Sad, sad spectacle! Now was fulfilled the word of Simeon, “Yes, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Did the Saviour mean, as he gave a glance to John, “Woman, thou art losing one Son; but yonder stands another, who will be a son to thee in my absence”? “Woman, behold thy son!”

John 19:27. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!

“Take her as thy mother, stand thou in my place, care for her as I have cared for her.” Those who love Christ best shall have the honour of taking care of his church and of his poor. Never say of any poor relative or friend, the widow or the fatherless, “They are a great burden to me.” Oh, no! Say, “They are a great honour to me; my Lord has entrusted them to my care.” John thought so; let us think so. Jesus selected the disciple he loved best to take his mother under his care. He selects those whom he loves best today, and puts his poor people under their wing. Take them gladly, and treat them well.

John 19:27. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home

You expected him to do it, did you not? He loved his Lord so well.

John 19:28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

There was a prophecy to that effect in the Psalms, and he must needs fulfill that. Think of a dying man prayerfully going through the whole of the Scriptures and carefully fulfilling all that is there written concerning him: “That the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus saith, I thirst.”

John 19:29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar,

For he did receive it. It was a weak kind of wine, commonly drunk by the soldiery. This is not that mixed potion which he refused, wine mingled with myrrh, which was intended to stupefy the dying in their pains: “When he had tasted thereof, he would not drink;” for he would not be stupefied. He came to suffer to the bitter end the penalty of sin; and he would not have his sorrow mitigated; but when this slight refreshment was offered to him, he received it. Having just expressed his human weakness by saying, “I thirst,” he now manifests his all-sufficient strength by crying, with a loud voice as Matthew, Mark, and Luke all testify.

John 19:30. He said, It is finished:

What “it” was it that was finished? I will not attempt to expound it. It is the biggest “it” that ever was. Turn it over and you will see that it will grow, and grow, and grow, and grow, till it fills the whole earth: “It is finished.”

John 19:30. And he lowered his head, and gave up the ghost.

He did not give up the ghost, and then bow his head, because he was dead; but he bowed his head as though in the act of worship, or as leaning it down upon his Father’s bosom, and then gave up the ghost. Thus have we had two gospel pictures of our dying Lord. May we remember them, and learn the lessons they are intended to teach.

This exposition consisted of readings from Luke 23:33-46; John 19:25-30


Verses 38-42

John 19:38-40. And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus.

Oh, how tenderly, and with how many tears, did they take their Lord’s body from the cross!

John 19:40-42. And wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was nigh at hand.

John’s Gospel contains some particulars not mentioned by Mark; and the same may be said of Matthew’s account, and Luke’s. Read them all when you are at home, and ponder the wonderful story. The apostle Paul, speaking of our Lord’s resurrection, mentions his burial. We will now read in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, just a few verses from the fifteenth chapter.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 15:34-47; John 19:38-42; John , 1 CORINTHIAN 5:1-9.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 19:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/john-19.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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