John 19:16-22 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: Where they crucified him, and two other 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. 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. 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.
‘Delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified’ Pilate now surrendered to the pressure of facing Tiberius in the trial for not yielding to the Jews to crucify their King. He delivered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:25). Thus the Jews are accused of crucifying the Messiah (Acts 2:23). The Romans merely carried out the will of the Jews, Pilate having pronounced no sentence but having washed his hands of the whole affair (Matt. 27:24). John omits the insults of the soldiers (Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:16).
‘He bearing his cross’ He bore the cross at first until He could no longer carry it alone, then Simon was forced to help Him (Matt. 27:32). ‘Skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha’ the skull: called calvaria, a skull (Luke 23:33), a place outside Jerusalem (Heb. 13:12). Origen (185-253 A.D.) refers to a tradition that Christ was crucified where Adam was buried and where his skull was found.
In Luke 23:27 we read of a great company of people that followed Jesus, of whom were mostly women, which also bewailed and lamented Him in His sufferings. These women that were of the sex that first sinned now stayed more true to the Saviour than those of the sex which chose to sin without being deceived (1Tim. 2:14).
Jesus responded saying: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me …” with the 51st New Testament prophecy in Luke that was fulfilled in 70 A.D., when Jerusalem was destroyed. These women were of Jerusalem. They were told to weep for themselves and for their children. Christ foresaw their terrible sufferings about 40 years later when many in this same crowd perished in the horrible carnage which took place on the capture of the city.
‘Pilate wrote a title’ John alone mentions that Pilate wrote it Himself. Much controversy has raged over the differences of what was written on the cross, as all four gospels have different wording. Mark and Matthew mention “the accusation” which might be different from the “title” of John 19:19. The accusation in Matthew and Mark is identical except Mark omits “This is Jesus.” He only gives part of it while Matthew gives the whole. They do not say the writing was in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, as in Luke 23:38 and John 19:20. Different wording could be in these three languages and this could explain the difference.
‘Place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city’ probably just outside the north wall between the Damascus and the Herod gates, near the so-called “grotto of Jeremiah,” about half a mile from the Praetorium.
‘The chief priests of the Jews’ this expression is used only here. They were no longer God’s priests.
‘What I have written I have written’ Roman laws forbade the sentence to be altered when once pronounced. The inscription named the only crime for which He was crucified. It was a true statement, for He was and will always be King of the Jews, and will be so acknowledged by them at the second coming (Matt. 23:39; Isa. 9:6-7; Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rev. 1:7).