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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel
John 19

 

 

Verse 1
Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him1.

  1. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. See .


Verse 2
And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head1, and arrayed him in a purple garment;

  1. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head,
  2. and arrayed him in a purple garment. See .


Verse 3
and they came unto him, and said, Hail, King of the Jews1! and they struck him with their hands.

  1. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! See .


Verse 4
And Pilate went out again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him out to you, that ye may know that I find no crime in him1.

  1. That ye may know that I find no crime in him. Those having our modern sense of justice would have said that Pilate brought Jesus out thus "because he had found no crime in him". But scourging was little thought of in that place and day (Acts 22:24). If Pilate had found Jesus guilty, he would have condemned him at once. As it was, he sought to return Jesus to the Sanhedrin as having committed no crime of which the Roman law could take note.


Verse 5
Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And [Pilate] saith unto them, Behold, the man1!

  1. Behold, the man! It was Pilate's original proposition to scourge Jesus and let him go (Luke 23:16). Having already scourged him, he now hoped to effect his release. Presenting our Lord in this state of abject humiliation, he feels that he has removed him from every suspicion of royalty. He speaks of Jesus as no longer a king, but a mere man. Pilate's words, however, have a prophetic color, somewhat like those uttered by Caiaphas. All those of subsequent ages have looked and must continue to look to Jesus as the ideal of manhood. The "Ecce Homo" of Pilate is in some sense an echo of the words of the Father when he said, "This is my Son, my chosen: hear ye him" (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). In Jesus we behold the true man, the Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45).


Verse 6
When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]1! Pilate saith unto them, Take him yourselves, and crucify him: for I find no crime in him2.

  1. They cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]! Thus Pilate's expectation came to naught, for not one of the Jewish rulers ever wavered in their demand for crucifixion.

  2. Pilate saith unto them, Take him yourselves, and crucify him: for I find no crime in him. In this sentence, "ye" and "I" are both emphatic; for Pilate wishes to draw a contrast between himself and the Jewish rulers. His words are not a permission to crucify, but a bit of taunting irony, as if he said: "I the judge have found him innocent, but ye seem to lack the wit to see that the case is ended. If ye are so much superior to the judge that ye can ignore his decision, proceed without him; crucify him yourselves".


Verse 7
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God1.

  1. We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. Perceiving that Pilate was taunting them, and practically accusing them to attempting to put an innocent man to death, they defended themselves nu revealing the fact that in addition to the charges that they had preferred against Jesus, they had found him clearly guilty and worthy of death on another charge; viz.: that of blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16). They had made no mention of this fact because Pilate was under no obligation to enforce their law; but they mentioned it now to justify their course. They probably felt sure that Jesus himself would convince Pilate of the truth of this latter accusation if Pilate questioned him.


Verse 8
When Pilate therefore heard this saying, he was the more afraid;

  1. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid. The words of Jesus at John 18:37, and the message from his wife had already filled Pilate with fear, and this saying added to it because the Roman and Grecian mythologies told of many incarnations; and influenced by the calm presence of Jesus, Pilate readily considered the possibility of such a thing.


Verse 9
and he entered into the Praetorium again1, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

  1. And he entered into the Praetorium again. Taking Jesus with him for private examination.

  2. And saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate sought to know whether Jesus were of heaven or of earth; but Jesus did not answer, for the motive of the question was not right. Pilate did not wish an answer that he might give or withhold worship; but that he might know how strenuously he should defend Jesus. But innocent life is to be defended at all hazards, and it matters not whether it be human or divine, Pilate, therefore, already knew enough to enable him to discharge his duties.


Verse 10
Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee1?

  1. Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee? Pilate intimates that Jesus should treat his questions with more courtesy since his good will and favor are not to be despised. But the words lay bare the corrupt heart of Pilate, and form a prophecy of the sin which he committed. Judges must hear and give sentence according to truth, uninfluenced by good will or favor. But Pilate, to please the Jews, crucified Jesus, reversing the sentence which he here suggests that he might render to please Jesus.


Verse 11
Jesus answered him, Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath greater sin.

  1. Therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. Judas is spoken of as having delivered Jesus (John 18:2,5)--the Greek word "paradidomi" being translated both "betrayed" and "delivered"--but Judas did not deliver to Pilate, so Caiaphas, as the representative of the Sanhedrin, is here meant; and Pilate's sin is contrasted with that of the rulers. Both of them sinned in abusing their office (the power derived from above) (Psalms 75:6,7; Isaiah 44:28; Romans 13:1); but Pilate's sin stopped here. He had no acquaintance with Jesus to give him the possibility of other powers--those of love or hatred, worship or rejection. The members of the Sanhedrin had these powers which arose from a personal knowledge of Jesus, and they abused them by hating and rejecting him, thereby adding to their guilt. Pilate condemned the innocent when brought before him, but the Sanhedrin searched out and arrested the innocent that they might enjoy condemning him.


Verse 12
Upon this Pilate sought to release him1: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend2: every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar3.

  1. Upon this Pilate sought to release him. As we have seen, Pilate had before this tried to win the consent of the rulers that Jesus be released, but that which John here indicates was probably an actual attempt to set Jesus free. He may have begun by unloosing the hands of Jesus, or some such demonstration.

  2. But the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend. Whatever Pilate's demonstration was it was immediately met by a counter one on the part of the rulers. They raise a cry which the politic Pilate cannot ignore.

  3. Every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. Taking up the political accusation (which they had never abandoned), they give it a new turn by prompting Pilate to view it from Caesar's standpoint. Knowing the unreasoning jealousy, suspicion, and cruelty of the emperor, Pilate saw at once that these unscrupulous Jews could make out of the present occasion a charge against him which would cost him his position, if not his life.


Verse 13
When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment-seat1 at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha2.

  1. He brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment-seat. Pilate had already again and again declared Jesus innocent. He now mounts the judgment-seat that he may formally reverse himself and condemn him.

  2. At a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. The apostle as an eyewitness fixes by its two names the exact spot where this awful decision was rendered.


Verse 14
Now it was the Preparation of the passover1: it was about the sixth hour2. And he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King3!

  1. Now it was the Preparation of the passover. See .

  2. It was about the sixth hour. It is likely that John uses the Roman method of counting time, and means six a.m. See . John notes also the exact hour day and hour.

  3. And he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King! As he had tried to waken their compassion by saying, "Behold, the man"! (John 19:5), so he now made a final attempt to shame them by saying, "Behold, your King"!


Verse 15
They therefore 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 Caesar1.

  1. The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Carried away by the strong emotions of the moment, the official organs of the Jewish theocracy proclaimed Caesar to be their only king, thus yielding with Jesus their claims to independence and their hopes in a Messiah. This is a most significant fact. When their ancestors rejected Jehovah as their king (1 Samuel 12:12), their faithful prophet, Samuel, warned them what the king of their choice would do, and what they should suffer under him. Thus Jesus also foretold what this Caesar of their choice would do to them (Luke 19:41-44; Luke 23:27-31). They committed themselves to the tender mercies of Rome, and one generation later Rome trod them in the winepress of her wrath.


Verse 16
Then therefore he delivered him unto them to be crucified.

  1. Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. See .


Verse 17
They took Jesus therefore: and he went out, bearing the cross for himself, unto the place called The place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha1:
    THE CRUCIFIXION. A. ON THE WAY TO THE CROSS. (Within and without Jerusalem. Friday morning.) Mark ; Matthew 27:31-34; Mark 15:20-23; Luke 23:26-33; Luke Joh19:17

  1. Unto the place called The place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. See Luke Joh.


Verse 18
where they crucified him1, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst2.
    THE CRUCIFIXION. B. JESUS CRUCIFIED AND REVILED. HIS THREE SAYINGS DURING FIRST THREE HOURS. (Friday morning from nine o'clock till noon.) Matthew 27:35-44; Mark 15:24-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:18-27

  1. Where they crucified him. See John 19:18-27.

  2. And with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. See John 19:18-27.


Verse 19
And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross1. And there was written, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

  1. And Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross See .


Verse 20
This title therefore read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, [and] in Latin, [and] in Greek1.

  1. And it was written in Hebrew, [and] in Latin, [and] in Greek. These three language were respectively those of philosophy, law, and religion; but Pilate made use of them because all three were spoken by people then in Jerusalem.


Verse 22
The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews1.
    John 19:21,22

  1. Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. The rulers smarted under this title which Pilate had tauntingly written. They had insisted that Jesus' kingship was dangerous enough to justify his crucifixion; but now (if politically and temporally interpreted) they admit that his kingship was an idle claim, a mere matter of words.


Verse 23
The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout2.

  1. The soldiers . . . took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. See .

  2. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. This was the tunic or undergarment in two pieces, which were fastened at the shoulders by clasps; but Josephus tells us that the tunic of the high priest was an exception to this rule, being woven without seam (Ant. 3:7.4). Thus in dividing the Lord's garments, they found a suggestion of his high priesthood.


Verse 24
They said therefore one to another, 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 garments among them, And upon my vesture did they cast lots1.

  1. They parted my garments among them, And upon my vesture did they cast lots. See Psalms 22:18.


Verse 25
These things therefore the soldiers did. But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the [wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene1.

  1. But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the [wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. For comment on these four women, see , additional note there.


Verse 26
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved1, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son2!

  1. The disciple standing by whom he loved. John.

  2. Woman, behold thy son! By using the title "woman", Jesus addressed his mother at the end of his ministry with the same word which he had used at its beginning. See . Thus he cut her off from all parental authority over him.


Verse 27
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold, thy mother1! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own [home]2.

  1. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold, thy mother! In this last hour our Lord bestows upon his helpless mother the disciple whom he loved, who was then in the flower of his manhood.

  2. And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own [home]. All of Christ's disciples are thus appointed by him protectors of the helpless, but few recognize the behest as John did.


Verse 28
After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst1.
    THE CRUCIFIXION. C. DARKNESS THREE HOURS. AFTER FOUR MORE SAYINGS, JESUS EXPIRES. STRANGE EVENTS ATTENDING HIS DEATH. Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-30

  1. I thirst. For comment on Jesus' physical condition, see John 19:28-30.


Verse 29
There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth1.

  1. So they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth. See .


Verse 30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished1: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit2.

  1. It is finished. Jesus had come, had ministered, had suffered, and had conquered. There now remained but the simple act of taking possession of the citadel of the grave, and the overthrowing of death. By his righteousness Jesus had triumphed in man's behalf and the mighty task was accomplished.

  2. And he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. See John 10:18. See John 10:18 for comparison.


Verse 33
The Jews therefore, because it was the Preparation1, that the bodies should not remain on the cross upon the sabbath2 (for the day of that sabbath was a high [day]), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken3, and [that] they might be taken away4.
    THE CRUCIFIXION. D. JESUS FOUND TO BE DEAD. HIS BODY BURIED AND GUARDED IN THE TOMB. Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42

  1. The Preparation. See John 19:31-42.

  2. That the bodies should not remain on the cross upon the sabbath. The Romans left the bodies of criminals hanging upon the cross until beasts and birds of prey, or putrefaction, removed the, But the Jewish law forbade that a body should hang over night; for a dead body was accursed, and so the day following might be polluted by the curse which attached to it (Deuteronomy 21:23; Joshua 8:29; Joshua 10:26 and Josephus, Wars 4:5.2).

  3. Asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken. The context suggests that the Jews had grown lax with regard to this law on account of the trouble of obtaining the consent from the Romans required to carry it out. But as the Sabbath in this instance was that of the passover week, and as they were ready enough to do anything to show that Jesus was an extraordinary criminal, they asked Pilate that their law might be observed.

  4. And [that] they might be taken away. Instead of killing the criminals, they broke their legs, which rendered recovery impossible, since putrefaction almost immediately set it.


Verse 34
howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side1, and straightway there came out blood and water2.

  1. Howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side. To insure death in case they might be mistaken.

  2. And straightway there came out blood and water. Many able men have argued learnedly that this flow of blood and water was evidence that Jesus died of a ruptured, or literally broken, heart; but they confess themselves involved in difficulties, for it is hard to reconcile the idea that Jesus died a voluntary death with the idea that he died of any natural cause whatever. Can anything be at once natural and supernatural.


Verse 35
And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true1: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe2.

  1. And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true. John's asservation that he was an eyewitness of this shows that he attached importance to it. To him the body of Jesus gave evidence that it differed from other dead bodies. We enter with hesitancy the realm of symbolism, knowing how flagrantly it is abused, but we offer this as a suggestion. Jesus died for our sins, and his death was therefore to provide a means for the cleansing of sin. But, under the terms of his gospel, sins are visibly and physically washed away by water, and invisibly and spiritually by blood (Hebrews 10:22).

  2. And he knoweth that he saith true, that ye also may believe. Now, since both these means were seen by a faithful witness to issue from the side of our crucified Lord, contrary to the ordinary law and course of nature, we have additional reason to believe that things out of the course of nature, namely, the cleansing of sin, etc., were accomplished by his crucifixion.


Verse 36
For these things came to pass, that the scripture might be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken1.

  1. A bone of him shall not be broken. See Psalms 34:20.


Verse 38
And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced1.

  1. They shall look on him whom they pierced. See Zechariah 12:10. Even after his death divine power went on fulfilling the prophecies concerning Jesus. He hangs upon the cross as one of a group of three, yet, in the twinkling of an eye, he is separated from the other two by the fulfillment of a brace of prophecies which point him out as the chosen of God.


Verse 39
And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night1, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes2, about a hundred pounds3.

  1. And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night. See John 3:2.

  2. Bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes. Myrrh was a resin and the aloe was pulverized wood. Both were aromatic (Psalms 45:8). The spices were wrapped between the folds of the linen in order to partially embalm the body.

  3. About a hundred pounds. About 1,200 ounces.


Verse 40
So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury1.

  1. So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Thus two members of the Sanhedrin unite to bury Jesus, each showing reverence in his own way: Joseph by buying a sindon instead of cheaper cloth (Mark 15:46), and Nicodemus by a wonderful wealth of spices (John 19:39). Possibly the heart of Nicodemus smote him for his tardiness in honoring Christ, and he desired to appease his conscience by giving the Lord a royal burial.


Verse 41
Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid1.

  1. And in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid. See .


Verse 42
There then because of the Jews' Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand)1 they laid Jesus.

  1. (For the tomb was nigh at hand). See .

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 19:4". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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