Jesus Is Flogged
1Then Pilate ordered Jesus to be brutally beaten with a whip of leather straps embedded with metal. # 19:1 This leather whip, embedded with sharpened pieces of bone and metal, was known as “the scorpion.” Historians record that many people never survived this cruel flogging. The whips were known to break open the flesh and cut through muscle and sinew all the way to the bone. It was his love for you that enabled him to endure such treatment. 2And the soldiers also wove thorn-branches into a crown and set it on his head and placed a purple # 19:2 The color purple has long symbolized royalty. Purple’s elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it. Jesus is the true king for all eternity. robe over his shoulders. 3Then, one by one, they came in front of him to mock him by saying, “Hail, to the king of the Jews!” And one after the other, they repeatedly punched him in the face. # 19:3 Or “they slapped his face” (Aramaic). He turned the other cheek and they slapped him on both sides of his face. See Isa. 53:5–7.
4Once more Pilate went out and said to the Jewish officials, “I will bring him out once more so that you know that I’ve found nothing wrong with him.” 5So when Jesus emerged, bleeding, wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns on his head, Pilate said to them, “Look at him! Here is your man!” # 19:5 See Zech. 6:12.
6No sooner did the high priests and the temple guards see Jesus that they all shouted in a frenzy, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Pilate replied, “You take him then and nail him to a cross yourselves! I told you—he’s not guilty! I find no reason to condemn him.”
7The Jewish leaders shouted back, “But we have the Law! And according to our Law, he must die, # 19:7 They are most likely referring to Lev. 24:16. because he claimed to be the Son of God!”
8Then Pilate was greatly alarmed # 19:8 The Aramaic is “his soul collapsed!” when he heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God! 9So he took Jesus back inside and said to him, “Where have you come from?” But once again, silence filled the room. 10Perplexed, Pilate said, “Are you going to play deaf? Don’t you know that I have the power to grant you your freedom or nail you to a tree?”
11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me at all, unless it was given to you from above. This is why the one who betrayed # 19:11 Or “handed me over.” This is the same Greek verb translated “betray” in John 6:71. It would obviously point to Judas. However, some expositors believe it was Caiaphas who handed over Jesus to Pilate, and is referred to here. But in fact, it was the evil spirits of darkness who were controlling Pilate and moving in the hearts of all involved to crucify Jesus. These dark powers would be the ones to experience the tremendous judgment unleashed on them by the power of the cross and resurrection. me is guilty of an even greater sin.”
12From then on Pilate tried to find a way out of the situation and to set him free, but the Jewish authorities shouted him down: “If you let this man go, you’re no friend of Caesar! Anyone who declares himself a king is an enemy of the emperor!” # 19:12 In essence, these words were a form of blackmail as the Jewish authorities were reminding Pilate that it would ruin his career if he pardoned Jesus. The term “friend of Caesar” was an honorific title given only to the ruling wealthy class of Romans who would have access to the emperor’s court. Many of these friends of Caesar were senators and members of the Equestrian Order, known also as the Knights. Pilate’s position was a political appointment due to his being a member of this elite class of Romans who took an oath of loyalty to Caesar. They were, in effect, threatening to inform Rome that Pilate was allowing treason in Caesar’s empire. As one historian remarked, “One false move and his appointment would be cancelled and his career finished” (P. Barnett, Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times, Illinois: InterVarsity, 1999, p. 147). This overruled Pilate’s desire to set Jesus free. He went on to condemn him to death. To place your career over Jesus is never wise.
13So when Pilate heard this threat, he relented and had Jesus, who was torn and bleeding, brought outside. Then he went up the elevated stone platform and took his seat on the judgment bench—which in Aramaic is called Gabbatha, # 19:13 Gabbatha is an Aramaic compound word meaning “on the side of the house” (gab, “on the side,” and batha, “the house”). This would be a stone bench that was used by Pilate to issue sentence. See 2 Chron. 7:3; Ezek. 40:17. or “The Bench.” 14And it was now almost noon. And it was the same day they were preparing to slay the Passover lambs. # 19:14 Jesus, our Passover Lamb, would be crucified at the very moment Jewish priests were slaughtering lambs in the temple. See Ex. 12:6. Because there were so many lambs to be killed, the priesthood in that day extended the time of slaughter from noon to twilight—the very hours Jesus was on the cross.
Then Pilate said to the Jewish officials, “Look! Here is your king!”
15But they screamed out, “Take him away! Take him away and crucify him!”
Pilate replied, “Shall I nail your king to a cross?”
The high priests answered, “We have no other king but Caesar!”
16Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them. So the soldiers seized him and took him away to be crucified.
Jesus Is Crucified
17Jesus carried his own cross out of the city to the place called “The Skull,” which in Aramaic is Golgotha. 18And there they nailed him to the cross. He was crucified, along with two others, one on each side with Jesus in the middle. 19-20Pilate had them post a sign over the cross, which was written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Many of the people of Jerusalem read the sign, for he was crucified near the city. The sign stated: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” # 19:19–20 Aramaic was the language of the common people in Israel. Hebrew ceased to be their spoken language after 450 BC, after the Jews returned from Babylon. Aramaic remained the language of Israel for nearly one thousand years. Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire. The inscription was also in Greek, for the Alexandrian Jews who had come to observe the Passover in Jerusalem would be unable to read Aramaic. The words were, “Jesus, the Nazarene, King of the Jews.” The first letters of each of the four words written on the sign in Aramaic (Hebrew) were: Y-H-W-H (Y’shua Hanozri Wumelech a Yehudim). To write these letters, YHWH (also known as the tetragrammaton), was the Hebrew form of writing the sacred name “Yahweh.” No wonder the chief priests were so offended by this sign and insisted that Pilate change it. This was a sign given to Israel, for over Jesus’ head on the cross was written, Y-H-W-H! God, the Savior, bled to death for you.
21But the chief priests of the Jews # 19:21 There is obvious irony in the Greek text of these two phrases, “King of the Jews” and “the chief priests of the Jews.” This is the only place John describes the priests in this way. said to Pilate, “You must change the sign! Don’t let it say, ‘King of the Jews,’ but rather—‘he claimed to be the King of the Jews!’ ” 22Pilate responded, “What I have written will remain!”
23Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they divided up his clothes into four shares, one for each of them. But his tunic was seamless, woven from the top to the bottom # 19:23 The Aramaic could be translated “his tunic was entirely woven from above.” Jesus’ tunic was an emblem of his perfect holiness and righteousness as one who came “from above.” As believers, we are now robed in that seamless garment of righteousness in Christ. They stripped the robe from Jesus and gambled over it at the cross. Many people are still gambling over their eternal souls—while others receive freely the blood-stained, seamless robe of perfect righteousness. Jesus was unclothed so that we could be robed in his glory. as a single garment. 24So the soldiers said to each other, “Don’t tear it—let’s throw dice # 19:24 Or “cast lots.” See also v. 25. to see who gets it!” The soldiers did all of this not knowing they fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them and gambled for my clothing.” # 19:24 See Ps. 22:18.
25Mary, Jesus’ mother, was standing next to his cross, along with Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. # 19:25 Many scholars believe that Mary’s sister (Jesus’ aunt) was Salome. This would mean she was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of Jacob (James) and John (the writer of the Gospel of John). Furthermore, that would mean that Jacob (James) and John were cousins of Jesus. See also Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40. 26So when Jesus looked down and saw the disciple he loved standing with her, he said, “Mother, # 19:26 Or “woman.” look—John # 19:26 Although unnamed, this was most certainly John the apostle. John, the apostle of love, was the only one of the Twelve who stood near the cross and witnessed the crucifixion. Love doesn’t quit, run away, or hide from pain. It endures all things, overcomes all things, and empowers us in all things. John didn’t run from the suffering of the Savior. We must be those who will stand next to Jesus even if the entire world is against us. will be a son to you.” 27Then he said, “John, look—she will be a mother to you!” From that day on, John accepted Mary into his home as one of his own family. # 19:27 Mary would be nearly fifty years old and a widow. What tenderness we see with Jesus toward his mother! Moments before his death, Jesus thought about Mary and her long journey back to Nazareth and that no one would be there to provide for her. Jesus deeply honored his mother.
Jesus’ Death on the Cross
28Jesus knew that his mission was accomplished, and to fulfill the Scripture, # 19:28 See Pss. 22:15; 69:21. The Fountain of Living Water now thirsts for the souls of men and women to come to him. He thirsts for your friendship. Jesus said: “I am thirsty.”
29A jar of sour wine was sitting nearby, so they soaked a sponge with it and put it on the stalk of hyssop # 19:29 The hyssop branch points to the sacrificial death of Jesus. Hyssop is first mentioned in Ex. 12:22 in reference to the application of lamb’s blood upon the door posts of the homes of the Hebrews the night of Passover. Hyssop was also used for the cleansing of lepers and points to the cleansing of our souls that happened when Jesus was crucified for sinners (spiritual lepers). See Ps. 51:7; Heb. 9:19. and raised it to his lips. 30When he had sipped the sour wine, he said, “It is finished, my bride!” # 19:30 This is from the Hebrew word kalah, which has a homonym that means “fulfilled [completed]” and “bride.” Jesus finished the work of our salvation for his bride. This translation has combined both concepts. For a fascinating study of the Hebrew word used for “bride” and “finished,” with its universe of meaning, see Strong’s Concordance, Hb. 3615, 3616, 3617, 3618, and 3634. Although the completed work of salvation was finished on the cross, he continues to work through his church today to extend God’s kingdom realm on the earth and glorify the Father through us. He continues to work in us to accomplish all that his cross and resurrection have purchased for us, his bride. His cross fulfilled and finished the prophecies of the Messiah’s first coming to the earth. There was nothing written that was not fulfilled and now offered to his bride. Then he bowed his head and surrendered his spirit to God.
31The Jewish leaders did not want the bodies of the victims to remain on the cross through the next day, since it was the day of preparation # 19:31 The Aramaic is “because it was Friday.” for a very important Sabbath. So they asked Pilate’s permission to have the victims’ legs broken to hasten their death # 19:31 Breaking his legs would prevent the one on a cross from lifting himself up and taking a deep breath. The victim would die sooner by suffocation. The Roman practice was to leave the bodies of the victims on the cross for a day or more as a warning to others. See Deut. 21:22–23. and their bodies taken down before sunset. 32So the soldiers broke the legs of the two men who were nailed there. 33But when they came to Jesus, they realized that he had already died, so they decided not to break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers # 19:34 Although unverifiable, church tradition indentifies the soldier to be Longinus, who later converted to Christ. One tradition holds to the belief that he was a Roman centurion suffering from an eye problem or blindness that was instantly healed when a drop of Jesus’ blood fell into his eye. See Christopher Fuhrmann, Policing the Roman Empire: Soldiers, Administration, and Public Order (Oxford University Press, reprint ed., 2014) 231; Malcolm Godwin, The Holy Grail: Its Origins, Secrets & Meaning Revealed (Viking Penguin, 1994), 51. took a spear and pierced Jesus’ side, and blood and water gushed out. # 19:34 This becomes a picture of the cleansing by blood and the water of the Holy Spirit. However, water and blood both come forth when a baby is born. Christ gave birth on the cross to “sons.” He is the everlasting Father (Isa. 9:6), and you must have children to be a Father. We are all born again by the wounded side of Jesus Christ. He not only died for his bride, but he also gave birth to her at the cross.
35(I, John, # 19:35 Or “the person who saw this.” Although unnamed, it was John, the author of this narrative, who witnessed and testified to the truth of what happened. do testify to the certainty of what took place, and I write the truth so that you might also believe.) 36For all these things happened to fulfill the prophecies of the Scriptures:
“Not one of his bones will be broken,” # 19:36 See Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20.
37and, “They will gaze on the one they have pierced!” # 19:37 See Zech. 12:10.
38After this, Joseph from the city of Ramah, # 19:38 As translated from the Aramaic. Or Arimathea (Greek), which means “heights.” This was the likely birthplace of the prophet Samuel. Keep in mind that Joseph may have lost a son the age of Jesus when Herod killed all the babies. who was a secret disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jewish authorities, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. So Pilate granted him permission to remove the body from the cross. 39Now Nicodemus, who had once come to Jesus privately at night, accompanied Joseph, and together they carried a significant amount # 19:39 Or “approximately one hundred pounds.” Some calculate this as Roman pounds weighing thirty kilograms. Others interpret the one hundred pounds to be closer to a liter, or less than one kilogram, which seems more appropriate considering the cost and weight of these valuable spices. of myrrh and aloes to the cross. 40Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in strips of linen with the embalming spices # 19:40 This was the myrrh and aloes, which were embalming spices. according to the Jewish burial customs. 41Near the place where Jesus was crucified was a garden, and in the garden there was a new tomb where no one had yet been laid to rest. 42And because the Sabbath was approaching, and the tomb was nearby, that’s where they laid the body of Jesus. # 19:42 See Isa. 53:9. Jesus’ body was laid on a bed of spices in a garden tomb. Death came upon the first Adam in the garden of Eden, but eternal life surged through the last Adam in the garden of the cross and his tomb. Man fell in a garden, but man now finds life in that empty garden tomb.