The Resurrection

John 20:1-10 The first day of the week came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she ran, and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then came Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 

‘First day of the week’ literally, the first day of the sabbaths, referring to the seven sabbaths to Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-17). ‘Sabbath’ the weekly sabbath, not the special sabbath of the feast which was two days before (Lev. 23:7). It is certain that it took place on the first day of the week after the regular weekly sabbath (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19) and three days and three nights after the crucifixion (Matt. 12:40).

In Matthew 28:2 we read there was a great earthquake that took place sometime between sunset Saturday and dawn Sunday. The resurrection had already happened by the time the women [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary] arrived at the tomb before daylight (Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2). It is the second earthquake one in three days (Matt. 27:51).

We read in Matthew and Mark that an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it (Matt. 28:5; Mark 16:5).

‘Early, when it was yet dark’ before it became light on Sunday morning, which day began at sunset Saturday and ended sunset Sunday. A Jewish day runs from 6 pm to 6 pm the following day. Mary is mentioned in particular here because she was the one who left the women to get Peter and John.

‘Disciple, whom Jesus loved’ this is John himself who always referred to himself in the third person (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 21:20-25). He was not loved more than others by Christ, but he accepted His love and chose to call himself accordingly. God does not have respect for persons, with regards to their looks, races, classes and sexes (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 3:28; Jas. 2:1-4).

‘They have laid him’ Mary thought Joseph and Nicodemus had removed the body of Jesus.

‘Did outrun Peter’ no proof that John was younger than Peter. He could have simply been faster at running.

‘Wrapped together in a place by itself’ these things were lying in place as they were when they were wrapped about Him. He had merely passed out of them without disturbing them, not needing as Lazarus to be loosed (11:44). It was proof that a resurrected body could come out without disturbing material objects. The door was opened, not to let Him out, but to show the disciples that He had risen. He later went through closed doors (20:19).

The 16th and last Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 16:10-11) is ‘that he must rise again from the dead.’

‘Own home’ that is, places where the disciples were temporarily residing.

We read in Matthew 27:52-53 that after Christ’s resurrection the graves were opened; and many bodies of the Old Testament saints arose and went into Jerusalem and they appeared unto many. These bodies made part of the multitude of captives Christ captured from satan in the underworld of departed spirits and which He took captive with Him when He ascended on high (Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 2:14-15;  Isa. 61:1). Now when Christians die they no longer go into the lower parts of the earth held captive by the devil against their will, but to paradise next to heaven to await the resurrection of the body (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Rev. 6:9-11; Heb. 12:22). The wicked continue to go to hell to await their resurrection (Luke 16:19-31; Rev.20:11-15).

Jesus Is Buried

John 19:38-42 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, 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, 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 sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. 

‘Joseph of Arimathaea’ – a secret disciple of Jesus and member of the Sanhedrin (Matt. 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56). He was from Ramah, called in the Septuagint Armathaim (1Sam. 1:1, 19).

‘Nicodemus’ – he was one of the Jewish’s rulers and a Rabbi, as well as a member of the Sanhedrin, and one of the three richest men in Jerusalem. He was known as Bartholomew which is a patronymic for Nathaniel. He was the brother of Philip (1:45-51; 21:2) and one of the 12 apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13).

‘By night’ – at first, he came by night, but now openly, proving no shame.

‘Myrrh’ the Greek word smurna meaning a fragrant gum used in anointing oil (Ex. 30:23), perfume (Psa. 45:8), and embalming (Mark 15:23). Myrrh is a gum which comes from the stem of a low, thorny, ragged tree growing in Arabia and East Africa. ‘Aloes’ a perfume of fragrant aromatic wood.

‘Hundred pound weight’ A hundred litre of 12 ounces each would make only 75 of our pounds. It is not known how much it costs per pound, but great quantities were used in embalming the dead body of respected persons. When Herod died 500 servants bearing aromatics attended the funeral (Josephus, Antiquities, Book 15:3:4). The women also brought spices (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; 24:1).

‘Wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews’ this was not embalming as practised by Egyptians. Jews simply anointed the body and wrapped it in fine linen, putting the spices and ointments in the folds. In Christ’s case, the operation was not completed due to the coming of the sabbath. As soon as the sabbath was over the women came back to complete the work (Mark 16:1). The linen was bound around each leg and arm and a napkin over the face (11:44; 20:7; Acts 5:6).

‘Sepulchre’ is the Greek word mnemeion translated as the grave. It is never the place of the soul, and is always located on the earth as the place where the body goes. The Bible is clear when it states that man puts bodies into the grave and that graves are made, dug, touched and seen. Thus can the hell [Greek: gehenna] and the grave [Greek: mnemeion] not be the same place because no wrath, sorrow, fire, degrees of torment, consciousness, souls, gates, bars, keys, prayer, conversations, pains, angels, demons, satan, punishment, remorse, feelings, emotions, desires, suffering, memory, comfort, or life is ever mentioned as being in graves; but all these things are mentioned many times as being in hell. Men can put into the grave after killing the body, but God alone can cast into hell (Rev. 20:11-15; Psa. 9:17).

‘Nigh at hand’ – indicating that they had to make haste to bury Him before the special sabbath began at sunset Wednesday to sunset Thursday. Also, it appears that they planned a better tomb and that they had no hopes of Him ever being resurrected, as He had repeatedly said. They considered Him a great prophet and planned on treating Him as such by making a great tomb for Him.

In centuries past, superstition, fraud, and all manner of sinfulness have been carried on in connection with the holy sepulchre. Greeks and Armenians for centuries pretended that divine miracles came through it and even immunity from hellfire would accompany anyone buried in cloth that was singed in the candle fires of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The fire was thought to miraculously come from heaven each Easter which has always been a pagan festival observed long before Christ. It is not a Christian name but is derived from Ishtar, one of the Babylonian titles of an idol goddess, the Queen of Heaven. The Saxon goddess Eastre is the same as the Astarte, the Syrian Venus, called Ashtoreth in the Old Testament. It was the worship of this woman by Israel that was such an abomination to God (1Sam. 7:3; 1Kin. 11:5, 11:33; 2Kin. 23:13; Jer. 7:18; 44:18). This church was burned down Oct. 11, 1808, after 1400 years of idolatrous practises in it.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

John 19:31-37 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 knows that he said true, that you 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 said, They shall look on him whom they pierced. 

‘Sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was a high day)’ this was Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset. The next day was a “high day” (John 19:31), a special sabbath of the feast, not the ordinary weekly sabbath, which was two days later (Lev. 23:6-11). Bodies were not to hang all night (Deut. 21:22-23).

‘Legs might be broken’ it was common practice to break the legs of criminals upon the cross to hurry their death, but law again was broken to fulfil a prophecy that no bone of Him shall be broken which is the 14th Old Testament prophecy in John (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20).

‘Came there out blood and water’ – there is nothing symbolic or spiritual intended to be conveyed here, but the fact of His literal death. The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled during His crucifixion: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” The loss of tissue fluids – after He had been scourged: ripped open – had reached critical levels; and His compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air as He was trying to get oxygen as He pushed Himself up for every breath against the nails that held Him to the cross. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain was why Jesus cried of thirst. Again we read in the prophetic Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (22:15). To make doubly sure of death, a legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. ‘And immediately there came out blood and water.’ Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

‘He that saw it bare record’ this was John the apostle himself (19:25-26; 21:24-25).

‘They shall look on him whom they pierced’ the 15th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 22:16) and be fulfilled as we read from Zechariah 12:10 and Revelation 1:7 that they who pierced Him – or rather their descendants – shall mourn for Him. This identifies the Jews as the ones responsible for the sufferings and death of the Messiah. Peter confirmed this (Acts 2:23). Having been the ones who pierced Him, or had Him pierced, the Jews will then, in that future day, lament and mourn in bitterness over their deed, upon seeing Him and the marks of His wounds. They will at last make supplication to Him for mercy and forgiveness (Zech. 12:10-14).

It is Finished

John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge 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: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 

In Matthew 27:45 we read the following of these final moments of Jesus: “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” There was literal darkness between the hours 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. while Jesus hung on the cross. He died at 3 p.m. at the time when the passover lamb was slaughtered and other sacrifices were offered for the feast of Passover of Leviticus 23:4-8. He died after being on the cross for about six hours. In Matthew 27:51 and 54 we read that there was also an earthquake,

‘I thirst’ this is the 13th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John that was given in Psalm 69:21. It was customary to give a stupefying potion to intoxicate and help alleviate sufferings (Pro. 31:6), but Christ refused it so as to suffer the full penalty for sin, sober and in His right mind. Three drinks were offered to Christ: Upon His arrival at Calvary (Matt. 27:33-34, Mark 15:22-23); when He was on the cross before the criminal cried for mercy (Luke 23:36); and at the end of His life (Matt. 27:48; John 19:29).

In Matthew 27:46 we read that about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice and said: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” Controversy still rages as to what language Christ spoke here. Some say Hebrew, others say Syriac, and still, others say Aramaic. One thing is certain – no one near the cross seemed to understand what He said and there were people there who could understand all these languages (Mark 15:35). This was no doubt the hardest part of His sufferings and also the cup to pass Him by [being separated from the Father because of our sin] that He referred to when praying in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39). Having been with the Father from all eternity without the slightest separation, it was hard to be forsaken even for a moment. This was necessary because God could not condone sin even if it were borne by His only begotten Son. This emphasizes the awfulness of sin and that it must be put away if fellowship with God is desired (Isa. 59:2; 1Jn. 1:7; Heb. 12:14; Tit. 2:11-14).

In Matthew 27:51 we see that when He finally died the veil of the temple was rented in two from the top to the bottom. There were two veils: one at the entrance of the Holy Place and the other between this and the Holy of Holies into which the high priest alone went once a year to atone for the sins of the people (Heb. 9:2-9). They were 18 meter high from the ceiling to the floor. The rending of the veil signified that the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was broken down (Eph. 2:14-18) and that each believer now could have personal access to God (Heb. 9:8; 10:19-23; Eph. 2:14-18).

Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39 and Luke 23:47 mentions the centurion – a Roman officer of 100 men – and they that were with him, that were watching Jesus while all these things happened and he said: “Truly this was the Son of God.”

‘It is finished’ the Greek word teleo meaning to “make an end” (Matt. 11:1); “finish” (Matt. 13:53; 19:1; 26:1; John 19:30; 2Tim. 4:7; Rev. 10:7; 11:7; 20:5) etc. Sixteen things are finished: Fulfilment of all scriptures of the sufferings of Christ (Psa. 22:1-31; Isa. 53:1-12; Luke 24:25-26, 44; John 19:28; 1Pet. 1:11; 3:18). The defeat of satan (John 12:31-32; Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 2:14-15). The breaking down of the middle wall of partition to make Jews and Gentiles one (Eph. 2:14-18; 3:6; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Rom. 10:1-21). Way for personal access to God (Eph. 2:18-19; Heb. 10:19-38). The cancellation of the reign of death (Rom. 5:12-21; 6:9; 8:2; 1Cor. 15:1-58; 2Cor. 3:6-15; Heb. 2:14-15) as well as the cancellation of sin’s power (Rom. 6:1-23; 8:2; 1Cor. 15:54-58). The demonstration of obedience and love to death (Php. 2:8; Heb. 5:8-10; 1Pet. 2:21; 4:1). The perfection of Christ (Heb. 2:10; 5:8-11). Salvation from all sin (Matt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15; Rev. 1:5; 5:9-10). Making peace between God and man (Rom.5:1-11; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Col. 1:20-22). The death penalty is paid for all (Rom. 5:6-8; 1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Heb. 2:9-15; 1Pet. 1:19). The cancellation of the mortgage claim of satan and freeing of man and his dominion from sin and satan (Rom. 8:18-24; 14:7-9; 1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 5:14-15; 1Thess. 5:10; Heb. 2:9-15; 1Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:9-10; 21:1-22:5). The satisfaction of the full justice of God (Gen. 2:17; John 3:16; Rom. 3:21-26; 5:1-11). Physical healing for all (Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 8:17; 13:15; John 10:10; Jas. 5:14-16; 1Pet. 2:24). A way for the full endowment of power and full anointing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; John 7:37-39; Acts 1:4-8,33; Gal. 3:13-14). Blotting out of the Old Covenant and making and sealing of the New Covenant (Matt. 26:28; 2Cor. 3:6-15; Gal. 3:13-25; 4:21-31; Eph. 2:14-18; Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 7:11-28; 8:6 – 10:1-18)

‘Gave up the ghost’ gave up His soul and spirit which left the body and went into hell to preach (1Pet. 3:19), and liberate all righteous souls (Psa. 16:10; Matt. 12:40; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 2:14-15). The soul never goes to the grave with the body nor is it unconscious (Psa. 16:10; Isa. 14:9; 2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:22-23; Jas. 2:26; Rev. 6:9-11; 20:11-15). All souls are immortal (Matt. 10:28; Luke 16:19-31; 1Pet. 3:4; 4:6). Souls go out at death and come back into the bodies in resurrection (1Kin. 17:20-22; 2Sam. 12:19-23; Job 14:10; Luke 8:49-56; 16:22; 23:43-46; 2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Jas. 2:26; 2Pet. 1:13-15; Rev. 6:9-11).

Crucified

John 19:23-30 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, 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, which said, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. 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 said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then said he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 

Jesus was crucified on the Wednesday during the Lord’s Passover (Lev. 23:4-8) which fell on the 15th of Nisan [April]. From the fact that He was fully three days and three nights in Hell while His body was in the tomb (Matt. 12:40; Eph. 4:7-11; Ps. 16:10) and that He rose early the first day of the week, which was after sunset on the Saturday (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1-6; John 20:1-10). Jewish days are from 6pm to 6pm, not like our 12 am to 12 am. If He had been buried on the Friday He would have been in the grave only one night and one day and this would make Jesus Himself a liar, for He said He would be there three days and three nights. This proves that He was crucified on Wednesday and was put in the tomb before sunset that day, for Jews always buried on the same day of death. He remained dead Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, and Saturday. He was resurrected soon after sunset Saturday, for He had been resurrected before early morning of the first day, Sunday.

‘Four parts, to every soldier a part’ Four soldiers were employed in nailing Him to the cross. These were the military guards – the executioners mentioned in Matthew 27:36 that sat down and watched him, for their duty was to watch the person crucified lest his friends should rescue him.

‘Coat’ the Greek word chiton, a tunic or inner garment which was worn next to the skin. It usually had sleeves, and generally reached down to the knees and sometimes to the ankles. Wearing two of them was for luxury, so they were forbidden to the disciples (Matt. 10:10; Mark 6:9; Luke 3:11; 9:3). When a person had on no other garment but this, he was said to be naked (1Sam. 19:24).

‘They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.’ This is the 12th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John that was given in Psalm 22:18. One of 333 prophecies given of Christ’s first coming.

In Luke 23:34 we read that Jesus prayed to the Father to forgive these soldiers; for they didn’t know what they were doing when they parted His raiment by casting lots and in verse 36 they were mocking Him. This could be expected of heathen soldiers out of contempt for the Jewish nation and loyalty to their emperor, whose sovereignty they thought was insulted by the Lord’s claim of being born King of the Jews. One would not expect religious leaders to be so hardhearted as these, regardless of how just their cause might seem to be at the time.

Also omitted by John are the two thieves that were crucified with Christ (Matt. 27:38). There is some evidence that two malefactors were led with Him to be crucified with Him (Luke 23:32). Then later two thieves were brought and were crucified (Matt. 27:38). No scripture says that only two men were crucified with Him. It is said that both robbers reviled Him (Matt. 27:44; Mark 15:32), while only one of the malefactors railed on Him (Luke 23:39-40).

We see the contrasts between the two dying criminals in Luke 23:39-43. One mocked Christ, demonstrating utter lack of reason (23:39) and the other demonstrated the highest type of intelligence in 8 ways (23:40-43): by fearing God (23:40); rebuking another for not fearing God (23:40); acknowledging his own condemnation and helpless state (23:40) as well as justice for crime committed (23:41); confessing faith in the innocence of Christ who had been cleared by all civil rulers of any wrongdoing and who was being crucified solely because of religious jealousy and malice, as could be seen by all men (23:41); confessing Jesus as Lord (23:42) and faith in the eventual triumph of Christ’s kingdom (23:42); asking mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ (23:42).

Jesus answered him: “Verily I say unto thee, Today shall thou be with me in paradise.” (Luk 23:43) This is the 52nd New Testament prophecy in Luke fulfilled when Christ and the penitent criminal went to paradise in the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:8-10; Psa. 16:10; Matt. 12:40; Heb. 2:14-15). The rebellious one went to hell where the rich man was (Luke 16:19-31). The paradise here is the one in the lower part of the earth and was later moved next to the third heaven (2Cor. 12:1-3).

‘Cleophas’ he was called Alpheus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; 24:18), he was the father of James the Less, and husband of Mary, the sister of Mary (Luke 24:10, 18; John 19:25).

‘Disciple standing by, whom he loved’ John (13:23; 21:7, 20, 24). Christ wanted His mother cared for and trusted John to do so. Joseph was now dead and His brethren were not yet convinced that He was the Messiah (Luke 8:19-21).

Jesus Delivered

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).

Pilate Defends Jesus

John 19:8-15 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and said unto Jesus, Whence are thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then said Pilate unto him, Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou could 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. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou are not Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. 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. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 

‘More afraid’ Pilate was torn between two fears: that of offending the Sanhedrin and the populace who would file formal charges against him to Caesar, and perhaps cause immediate rebellion; and that of killing an innocent man, a miracle-worker, a prince and an offspring of Deity, and one whom he had been warned of by his wife (Matt. 27:19) and his own growing conviction not to have a part in His death.

‘Whence are thou? … Speak thou not unto me? know thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?’ The first question concerned whether He was a real offspring of Deity or not. Was this man, who was so different from all others he had ever seen, really a supernatural being? Christ gave no answer, so he threatened boastingly of his power to release or crucify Him.

‘Thou could have no power at all against me, except it was given thee from above’ Jesus answered Pilate that he could not do one thing unless God willed. It was a sin for him to condemn Christ, for he was convinced by his conscience of His innocence; but the Jews have the greater sin, because they wilfully sin against Jesus.

‘Thenceforth Pilate sought to release him’ Pilate sought all the more to release Him, but the Jews now brought up the accusation of high treason to force his decision. They wanted to accuse him to Caesar for preferring another king to his own emperor.

‘Caesar’s friend: whosoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar’ they hated Caesar, but they hated their own Messiah more.

‘When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth’ when Pilate heard their accusation against him of high treason, he brought Jesus out before the Jews again and made his fifth attempt to deliver Him (Luke 23:4, 15, 20, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6, 12-14). He knew that Tiberius was one of the most jealous and distrustful rulers in the world and that during his reign accusations and conspiracies were plentiful, being founded on foolish pretences, and being punished with excessive rigour.

‘Judgment’ the Greek word bema, a stone platform in the open court in front of the Praetorium; the place of final sentence (Matt. 27:19; John 19:13; Acts 12:21; 18:12-17; 25:6, 10, 17). Used also of the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2Cor. 5:10). ‘Gabbatha’ a raised pavement higher than the rest of the pavement. ‘Sixth hour’ about 12:00 midnight.

‘Away’ the Greek word airo, the same word translated “take up” serpents in Mark 16:18. It is never used in the sense of making a side show or demonstration to prove faith, but it means to remove, destroy, and put out of the way by death, as in Matthew 22:13; John 1:29; 19:15; Acts 21:36; 22:22; 1John 3:5.

‘We have no king but Caesar’ deeper and deeper these religious people were going into sin and rebellion – choosing an enemy instead of a friend, satan instead of God, and eternal damnation instead of eternal life.

Jesus Scourged

John 19:1-7 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! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and said unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Take you 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. 

‘Scourged him’ had Him scourged in the Roman manner which was more severe than the Jewish. It was customary to scourge a person before crucifixion, but Pilate hoped that this punishment would satisfy the Jews so he could release Jesus (Luke 23:16). This did not satisfy the bloodthirsty Jews who wanted Him dead and out of their way.

A scourge was a Roman implement for severe physical punishment. It consisted of a handle with about a dozen leather cords with jagged pieces of bone or metal at each end to make the blow more painful and effective. The victim was tied to a post and the blows were applied to the bareback and loins and sometimes to the face and bowels. The flesh was cut in several places by each blow. So hideous was the punishment that the victim often fainted and some died under it. Flogging was permitted by the law up to 40 stripes (Deut. 25:3). Jews reduced this to 39 stripes (2Cor. 11:23-25). If the scourge used on Jesus had 12 thongs and He was hit even 39 times this would make 468 stripes. If some struck in the same place and cut deeper each time one can see how His body, because of the intense hatred back of each blow, was marred more than any other man’s (Isa. 52:14).

‘Crown of thorns’ for cruelty and mockery, fulfilling His own prophecy spoken in Matthew 20:17-19 in which manner He shall be killed.

‘Hail’ or, Health, success, and prosperity to the King of the Jews!

‘I bring him forth to you’ Pilate made his third appearance from the Praetorium to the Jews outside and brought the scourged, bleeding, crowned, and kingly-clothed Christ of God before them, hoping they would be willing to let Him go after such suffering. But, as ever, religious persecutors have no love and mercy on their victims. They cried for crucifixion until Pilate wanted to turn Him over to them to crucify, declaring the innocence of Christ two more times (19:4, 6).

‘Behold the Man’ Pilate hoped against hope that this awful spectacle would melt their hearts, but it only whetted their appetite for more suffering to the man they considered their rival in religion and power.

‘Because he made himself the Son of God’ this new charge to Pilate was another of ten reasons for condemning Him to die. This new angle made Pilate all the more afraid, so he took Him into the judgment hall again to question Him (19:8-11).

Not of This World

John 18:33-40 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Are thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what have thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Are thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in him no fault at all. But you have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. 

‘Are thou the King of the Jews? … Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?’ This shows their accusation of treason. They did not charge Him with what were the chief reasons for wanting Him crucified.

There are ten reasons why the Jews killed Jesus: over His Kingship (Matt. 2:2-3, 16; John 18:33-40; 19:12-22); for telling the truth (Luke 4:21-29; John 8:40); for healing on the sabbath (Matt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; John 5:16; 9:16); out of jealousy of Him (Matt. 26:3-4; 27:18; Mark 14:1; 15:10; Luke 22:2; John 11:48); because of their ignorance (Matt. 26:64-66; Mark 14:62-64; John 12:40; Acts 3:17); to fulfill prophecy (Luke 13:33-35; John 12:38-40; 18:31-32; 19:11, 28, 36-37; Acts 2:22-36; 3:18); He claimed Sonship (5:18; 10:24-39; 19:7); because of their unbelief (5:38-47; 6:36; 9:40-41; 12:36-38); because He claimed to be God (8:53-59; 10:33; cp. 1:1-2; Heb. 1:5-14); out of fear of losing their authority (11:46-53; 12:10-11, 19).

‘Say thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?’ Jesus asked if His enemies told Pilate this or if he was suspicious of Him, that he asked the question?

‘Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what have thou done?’ Pilate answered that if Jesus didn’t profess to be the king of the Jews, what has He done that they desire His life?

‘Of’ the Greek word ek meaning out from. Christ’s kingdom is not from this world. His kingdom is from heaven. It will be an earthly kingdom when the Millennium begins (Dan. 2:44; 7:13-27; Zech. 14:1-21; Rev. 5:10; 11:15).

‘Thou say that I am’ – a common expression for “yes, it is so.” Jesus was born to be a king and He came into the world to bear witness of the truth. All who are of the truth hear and obey Him.

‘What is truth?’ Pilate was no doubt confused by all the religions and philosophies clamouring for recognition. He did not stay to get an answer and in this, he is like millions today who do not honestly seek to know the truth but follow every wind of doctrine that comes along. Christ is the truth and anyone who finds Him and obeys Him will know the truth (8:32-36; 14:6).

‘He went out again unto the Jews’ this is the second time Pilate left the judgment hall to reason with the Jews (18:28-29). This time he declared the innocence of Christ as treason.

‘Will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ Pilate thought surely they would wish the release of Jesus instead of a common criminal, but this only gave them further occasion to demand the death of Jesus (18:40).

‘The King of the Jews’ this insincere taunt of Pilate about their king only led them to retort by the threat of high treason against Pilate himself (19:12). ‘Robber’ the Jews chose a highway robber and a murderer instead of Messiah.

Jesus Before Pilate

John 18:28-32 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. Then said Pilate unto them, Take you him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die. 

‘Let they Jesus from Caiaphas’ Jesus was led by the mob to Annas (18:13); by the mob to Caiaphas (Matt. 26:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:24); by the Jews to Pilate (Matt. 27:2; Luke 23:1; John 18:28); by soldiers to Herod (Luke 23:7); by soldiers to Pilate again (Luke 23:11-25); by soldiers to be scourged and mocked (Mark 15:16-19); by soldiers to be crucified (Matt. 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26, 32; John 19:16).

‘The hall of judgment’ Pilate’s house, called the Praetorium, the dwelling place of the praetor, the chief ruler of the province. It was where he held court (Mark 15:16).

‘Early’ it was early in the day of preparation, from our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset. It was perhaps between 11:00 p.m. to midnight, for a little later it was the 6th hour or midnight (19:14).

‘Passover’ Jesus had eaten of the passover before the time (Matt. 26:18-20; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-15), and was Himself slain at the time of the offering of the paschal lamb (1Cor. 5:7).

‘Pilate then went out unto them’ he went out to them lest they be defiled by coming into him. The Romans had agreed to permit the Jews the free use of their rites and ceremonies, so this was all Pilate could do.

‘Malefactor’ the Greek word kakopoios which means evildoer. They did not want Pilate to judge, but to execute the sentence they had already illegally passed. Pilate was not willing to execute a man whom he had not tried and who was not guilty, so offered to turn Jesus over to them for execution (John 18:31).

‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death’ this was another sin of the Jews. They had the power to stone anyone breaking their law (8:1-11, 59; 10:31; Acts 7:59), but in this case, they lied and, fearing the people, determined to raise the plea of rebellion against Caesar, throwing the responsibility of the Lord’s death upon Pilate (19:7, 12). He had to die by crucifixion to fulfil prophecy (Matt. 20:19; 26:2; John 3:14; 12:32-33). Jews did not crucify and they had no power to do so with criminals that were accused of crimes against the state, so they intimidated Pilate by accusing him of not being a friend of Caesar if he let Christ go (19:7, 12).