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John - Chapter 19

Bible Study Notes

John 19:1-10 Jesus was first tortured by whipping, had thorns from a vine pushed into his head (a mock crown), and repeatedly struck by the soldier’s hands. They also mocked Him by placing a robe of purple which is reserved for royalty. Pilate hoped that that the torture given Jesus would appease the Jews so he would not have to carry out the death penalty. The Jews wanted Him dead and kept yelling, “Crucify Him!” The Jews, fearing that Pilate would not carry out their will, tried to instill fear into Pilate by saying Jesus claimed that He was the Son of God. Pilate was afraid now because his wife heard similar claims in a dream (from one of the other gospel accounts). Pilate further questioned Jesus, but Jesus was silent. Pilate demanded that Jesus defend Himself so that he could find a way to release Him. Jesus did not want to be released and told Pilate that He was obeying the authority from above (The Father) and it mattered little what authority Pilate claimed he had.

Notes: Scourging was a horribly cruel act in which the victim was stripped, tied to a post, and beaten by several torturers, i.e., soldiers who alternated when exhausted. For victims who were not Roman citizens, the preferred instrument was a short wooden handle to which several leather thongs were attached. Each leather thong had pieces of bones or metal on the end. The beatings were so savage that sometimes victims died. The body could be torn or lacerated to such an extent that muscles, veins, or bones were exposed. Such flogging often preceded execution in order to weaken and dehumanize the victim.

John 19:11-16 Pilate continued to try and release Jesus, but the Jews kept threatening Pilate that by releasing Jesus would be releasing a person who is guilty of treason by calling himself a King and things would go bad for Pilate from Rome. The Jews final argument was that they had no king but Caesar in Rome. Pilate caved under the pressure, judged Jesus guilty of treason, and sent Him off to be crucified.

Notes: Jesus was made to lie on the ground while his arms were stretched out and nailed to the horizontal beam that he carried. The beam was then hoisted up, along with the victim, and fastened to the vertical beam. His feet were nailed to the vertical beam to which sometimes was attached a piece of wood that served as a kind of seat that partially supported the weight of the body. The latter, however, was designed to prolong and increase the agony, not relieve it. Having been stripped naked and beaten, Jesus could hang in the hot sun for hours if not days. To breathe, it was necessary to push with the legs and pull with the arms, creating excruciating pain. Terrible muscle spasms wracked the entire body; but since collapse meant asphyxiation, the struggle for life continued.

John 19:17-22 Jesus was crucified between two robbers, another fulfillment of the Old Testament. His crime was posted above his head for all to see, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. The Jews were angry because the inscription made it sound like they were killing their King and wanted the inscription changed to that Jesus SAID that He was king, not that He was king. Pilate refused their request, and it was most likely arranged by the Father to keep the inscription for it was true, Jesus IS the King of the Jews.

Notes: By professing to acknowledge Caesar alone as their king, the Jewish leaders betray their national heritage, in which God himself is their ultimate King, and deny their own messianic expectations based on the promises of Scripture.

John 19:23-27 The soldiers plundered Jesus’ belongings and gambled over His tunic. Victims of the cross were crucified naked. It was predicted in the Old Testament scriptures that this would occur. Jesus’ mother Mary and other women close to Jesus stood by the cross and looked on. Where were Jesus’ disciples? At least the disciple John was there (probably the reason why John was referred to us the disciple that Jesus loved) of whom Jesus gave into his care His mother, Mary.

Notes: Jesus, as firstborn and breadwinner of the family before he started his ministry, did not give the responsibility to his brothers because they were not sympathetic to his ministry nor did they believe in him, and they likely were not present at the time for their home was in Capernaum.

John 19:28-30 When Jesus received the wine (Jesus received the sour wine, probably to moisten his parched throat in order to be able to proclaim a loud cry of triumph at the end of his suffering.), said, “It is Finished” (The task His Father sent Him to do) and gave up his spirit. Jesus said one time earlier that no one can actually take His life, but He would give it up on His own accord. The belief is that Jesus could not physically die unless He gave His spirit up by His own.

Notes: The normal Roman practice was to leave crucified men and women on the cross until they died (and this could take days) and then leave their rotting bodies hanging there to be devoured by vultures.

John 19:31-37 It would be a curse for the Jews during the High Day of the Sabbath during the Passover to have those crucified still hanging on a tree overnight, so they asked that they be helped to die immediately by having their legs broken in order that they could not support their bodies, causing suffocation, and dying within minutes. The Romans typically left decaying bodies on crosses long after death. Jesus was already dead so they didn’t bother, which again is another fulfillment of the Old Testament. Instead, to ensure He was dead, they pierced His heart with a spear and out came blood and water which was the proof they needed that he was dead. If He wasn’t, He sure was now.

John 19:38-42 Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy member of the Jewish ruling council, asked Pilate in secret to take down Jesus’ body and care for it. Nicodemus (The Pharisee mentioned in chapter 3) helped Joseph with the burial. They buried Him close by in a freshly made tomb for they had no time for other preparations since the High Day of the Sabbath during the Passover evening was approaching.

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