John Chapter Nineteen
Pilate (chap. 19) gives way to his usual inhumanity. In the account, however, given in this Gospel, the Jews are prominent, as the real authors (as far as man was concerned) of the Lord's death. Jealous for their ceremonial purity, but indifferent to justice, they are not content to judge Him according to their own law;  they choose to have Him put to death by the Romans, for the whole counsel of God must needs be accomplished.
It is on the repeated demands of the Jews that Pilate delivers Jesus into their hands-thoroughly guilty in so doing, for he had openly avowed His innocence, and had had his conscience decidedly touched and alarmed by the evident proofs there were that he had some extraordinary person before him. He will not shew that he is touched, but he is so (chap. 19:8). The divine glory that pierced through the humiliation of Christ acts upon him, and gives force to the declaration of the Jews that Jesus had made Himself the Son of God. Pilate had scourged Him and given Him up to the insults of the soldiers; and here he would have stopped. Perhaps he hoped also that the Jews would be satisfied with this, and he presents Jesus to them crowned with thorns. Perhaps he hoped that their jealousy with regard to these national insults would induce them to ask for His deliverance. But, ruthlessly pursuing their malicious purpose, they cry out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate objects to this for himself, while giving them liberty to do it, saying that he finds no fault in Him. Upon this they plead their Jewish law. They had a law of their own, say they, and by this law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. Pilate, already struck and exercised in mind, is the more alarmed; and, going back to the judgment hall again, questions Jesus. He makes no reply. The pride of Pilate awakes, and he asks if Jesus does not know that he has power to condemn or to release Him. The Lord maintains, in replying, the full dignity of His Person. Pilate had no power over Him, were it not the will of God-to this He submitted. It heightened the sin of those who had delivered Him up, to suppose that man could do anything against Him, were it not that the will of God was thus to be accomplished. The knowledge of His Person formed the measure of the sin committed against Him. The not perceiving it caused everything to be falsely judged, and, in the case of Judas, shewed the most absolute moral blindness. He knew His Master's power. What was the meaning of delivering Him up to man, if it were not that His hour was come? But, this being the case, what was the betrayer's position?
But Jesus always speaks according to the glory of His Person, and as being thereby entirely above the circumstances through which He was passing in grace, and in obedience to His Father's will. Pilate is thoroughly disturbed by the Lord's reply, yet his feeling is not strong enough to counteract the motive with which the Jews press him, but it has sufficient power to make him throw back upon the Jews all that there was of will in His condemnation, and to make them fully guilty of the Lord's rejection.
Pilate sought to withdraw Him from their fury. At last, fearing to be accused of infidelity to Caesar, he turns with contempt to the Jews, saying, "Behold your King"; acting-although unconsciously-under the hand of God, to bring out that memorable word from their lips, their condemnation, and their calamity even to this day, "We have no king but Caesar." They denied their Messiah. The fatal word, which called down the judgment of God, was now pronounced; and Pilate delivers up Jesus to them.
Jesus, humbled and bearing His cross, takes His place with the transgressors. Nevertheless He who would that all should be fulfilled ordained that a testimony should be rendered to His dignity; and Pilate (perhaps to vex the Jews, certainly to accomplish the purposes of God) affixes to the cross as the Lord's title, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews": the twofold truth-the despised Nazarene is the true Messiah. Here, then, as throughout this Gospel, the Jews take their place as cast off by God.
At the same time the apostle shews-here, as elsewhere-that Jesus was the true Messiah, by quoting the prophecies which speak of that which happened to Him in general, with regard to His rejection and His sufferings, so that He is proved to be the Messiah by the very circumstances in which He was rejected of the people.
After the history of His crucifixion, as the act of man, we have that which characterises it in respect to what Jesus was upon the cross. The blood and water flow from His pierced side.
The devotedness of the women who followed Him, less important perhaps on the side of action, shines out in its own way nevertheless in that perseverance of love which brought them nigh to the cross. The more responsible position of the apostles as men scarcely allowed it to them, circumstanced as they were; but this takes nothing from the privilege which grace attaches to woman when faithful to Jesus. But it was the occasion for Christ to give us fresh instruction, by shewing Himself such as He was, and by setting His work before us, above all mere circumstances, as the effect and the expression of a spiritual energy which consecrated Him, as man, entirely to God, offering Himself also to God by the eternal Spirit. His work was done. He had offered Himself up. He returns, so to speak, into His personal relationships. Nature, in His human feelings, is seen in its perfection; and, at the same time, His divine superiority, personally, to the circumstances through which He passed in grace as the obedient man. The expression of His filial feelings shews, that the consecration to God, which removed Him from all those affections that are alike the necessity and the duty of the man according to nature, was not the want of human feeling, but the power of the Spirit of God. Seeing the women, He speaks to them no longer as Teacher and Saviour, the resurrection and the life; it is Jesus, a man, individually, in His human relationship.
"Woman," He says, "behold thy son!"-committing His mother to the care of John, the disciple whom Jesus loved-and to the disciple, "Behold thy mother!" and thenceforth that disciple took her to his own home. Sweet and precious commission! A confidence which spoke that which he who was thus loved could alone appreciate, as being its immediate object. This shews us also that His love for John had a character of human affection and attachment, according to God, but not essentially divine, although full of divine grace-a grace which gave it all its value, but which clothed itself with the reality of the human heart. It was this, evidently, which bound Peter and John together. Jesus was their only and common object. Of very different characters-and so much the more united on that account-they thought but of one thing. Absolute consecration to Jesus is the strongest bond between human hearts. It strips them of self, and they have but one soul in thought, intent, and settled purpose, because they have only one object. But in Jesus this was perfect, and it was grace. It is not said, "the disciple who loved Jesus"; that would have been quite out of season. It would have been to take Jesus entirely out of His place, and His dignity, His personal glory, and to destroy the value of His love to John. Nevertheless John loved Christ, and consequently appreciated thus his Master's love; and, his heart attached to Him by grace, he devoted himself to the execution of this sweet commission, which he takes pleasure in relating here. It is indeed love that tells it, although it does not speak of itself.
I believe that we again see this feeling (used by the Spirit of God, not evidently as the foundation, but to give its colour to the expression of that which he had seen and known) in the beginning of John's first epistle.
We also see here that this Gospel does not shew us Christ under the weight of His sufferings, but acting in accordance with the glory of His Person as above all things, and fulfilling all things in grace. In perfect calmness He provides for His mother; having done this, He knows that all is finished. He has, according to human language, entire self-possession.
There is yet one prophecy to be fulfilled. He says, "I thirst," and, as God had foretold, they give Him vinegar. He knows that now there is not one detail left of all that was to be accomplished. He bows His head, and Himself gives  up His spirit. Thus, when the whole divine work is accomplished the divine man giving up His spirit, that spirit leaves the body which had been its organ and its vessel. The time was come for so doing; and by doing it, He secured the accomplishment of another divine word-"Not one of his bones shall be broken." But everything bore its part in the fulfilment of those words, and the purposes of Him who had pronounced them beforehand.
A soldier pierces His side with a spear. It is from a dead Saviour that flow forth the tokens of an eternal and perfect salvation-the water and the blood; the one to cleanse the sinner, the other to expiate his sins. The evangelist saw it. His love for the Lord makes him like to remember that he saw Him thus unto the end; he tells it in order that we may believe. But if we see in the beloved disciples the vessel that the Holy Ghost uses (and very sweet it is to see it, and according to the will of God), we see plainly who it is that uses it. How many things John witnessed which he did not relate! The cry of grief and of abandonment-the earthquake-the centurion's confession-the history of the thief: all these things took place before his eyes, which were fixed upon his Master; yet he does not mention them. He speaks of that which his Beloved was in the midst of all this. The Holy Ghost causes him to relate that which belonged to the personal glory of Jesus. His affections made him find it a sweet and easy task. The Holy Ghost attached him to it, employing him in that which he was well suited to perform. Through grace the instrument lent itself readily to the work for which the Holy Ghost set it apart. His memory and his heart were under the dominant and exclusive influence of the Spirit of God. That Spirit employed them in His work. One sympathises with the instrument; one believes in that which the Holy Ghost relates by his means, for the words are those of the Holy Ghost.
Nothing can be more touching, more deeply interesting, than divine grace thus expressing itself in human tenderness and taking its form. While possessing the entire reality of human affection, it had all the power and depth of divine grace. It was divine grace that Jesus should have such affections. On the other hand, nothing could be farther from the appreciation of this sovereign source of divine love, flowing through the perfect channel which it made for itself by its own power, than the pretension to express our love as reciprocal; it would be, on the contrary, to fail entirely in that appreciation. True saints among the Moravians have called Jesus "brother," and others have borrowed their hymns or the expression; the word never says so. "He is not ashamed to call us brethren," but it is quite another thing for us to call Him so. The personal dignity of Christ is never lost in the intensity and tenderness of His love.
But the rejected Saviour was to be with the rich and the honourable in His death, however despised He may previously have been; and two, who dared not confess Him while He lived, awakened now by the greatness of the sin of their nation, and by the event itself of His death-which the grace of God, who had reserved them for this work, made them feel-occupy themselves with the attentions due to His dead body. Joseph, himself a counsellor, comes to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus, Nicodemus joining with him to render the last honours to Him whom they had never followed during His life. We can understand this. To follow Jesus constantly under reproach, and compromise oneself for ever on His account, is a very different thing from acting when some great occasion happens in which there is no longer room for the former, and when the extent of the evil compels us to separate from it; and when the good, rejected because it is perfect in testimony, and perfected in its rejection, forced us to take a part, if through grace any moral sense exists in us. God thus fulfilled His words of truth. Joseph and Nicodemus place the Lord's body in a new sepulchre in a garden near the cross; for, on account of it being the Jews' preparation, they could do no more at that moment.
 It is said that their Jewish traditions forbade their putting any one to death during the great feasts. It is possible that this may have influenced the Jews; but however that might be, the purposes of God were thus accomplished. At other times the Jews were not so prompt in submitting to the Roman exigencies that deprived them of the right of life and death.
 This is the force of the expression; which is quite different from the word translated expired. We learn from Luke 23:46 that He did this when He had said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." But in John, the Holy Ghost is setting forth even His death as the result of a voluntary act, giving up His spirit, and not saying to whom He committed (as man with absolute and perfect faith) His human spirit, His soul, in dying. It is His divine competency that is here shewn, and not His trust in His Father. The word is never used in this way but in this passage as to Christ, in either the New Testament or the LXX.
── John Darby《Synopsis of John》
Christ condemned and crucified. (1-18) Christ on the cross. (19-30) His side pierced. (31-37) The burial of Jesus. (38-42)
Commentary on John 19:1-18
(Read John 19:1-18)
Little did Pilate think with what holy regard these sufferings of Christ would, in after-ages, be thought upon and spoken of by the best and greatest of men. Our Lord Jesus came forth, willing to be exposed to their scorn. It is good for every one with faith, to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings. Behold him, and love him; be still looking unto Jesus. Did their hatred sharpen their endeavours against him? and shall not our love for him quicken our endeavours for him and his kingdom? Pilate seems to have thought that Jesus might be some person above the common order. Even natural conscience makes men afraid of being found fighting against God. As our Lord suffered for the sins both of Jews and Gentiles, it was a special part of the counsel of Divine Wisdom, that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose into effect. Had not Christ been thus rejected of men, we had been for ever rejected of God. Now was the Son of man delivered into the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that we might escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a Sacrifice bound to the altar. The Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at the altar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed to public justice. And now let us pause, and with faith look upon Jesus. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? See him bleeding, see him dying, see him and love him! love him, and live to him!
Commentary on John 19:19-30
(Read John 19:19-30)
Here are some remarkable circumstances of Jesus' death, more fully related than before. Pilate would not gratify the chief priests by allowing the writing to be altered; which was doubtless owing to a secret power of God upon his heart, that this statement of our Lord's character and authority might continue. Many things done by the Roman soldiers were fulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament. All things therein written shall be fulfilled. Christ tenderly provided for his mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, he raises up another for us, where we looked not for it. Christ's example teaches all men to honour their parents in life and death; to provide for their wants, and to promote their comfort by every means in their power. Especially observe the dying word wherewith Jesus breathed out his soul. It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. It is finished; the work of man's redemption and salvation is now completed. His life was not taken from him by force, but freely given up.
Commentary on John 19:31-37
(Read John 19:31-37)
A trial was made whether Jesus was dead. He died in less time than persons crucified commonly did. It showed that he had laid down his life of himself. The spear broke up the very fountains of life; no human body could survive such a wound. But its being so solemnly attested, shows there was something peculiar in it. The blood and water that flowed out, signified those two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ, justification and sanctification; blood for atonement, water for purification. They both flow from the pierced side of our Redeemer. To Christ crucified we owe merit for our justification, and Spirit and grace for our sanctification. Let this silence the fears of weak Christians, and encourage their hopes; there came both water and blood out of Jesus' pierced side, both to justify and sanctify them. The Scripture was fulfilled, in Pilate's not allowing his legs to be broken, Psalm 34:20. There was a type of this in the paschal lamb, Exodus 12:46. May we ever look to Him, whom, by our sins, we have ignorantly and heedlessly pierced, nay, sometimes against convictions and mercies; and who shed from his wounded side both water and blood, that we might be justified and sanctified in his name.
Commentary on John 19:38-42
(Read John 19:38-42)
Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Christ in secret. Disciples should openly own themselves; yet some, who in lesser trials have been fearful, in greater have been courageous. When God has work to do, he can find out such as are proper to do it. The embalming was done by Nicodemus, a secret friend to Christ, though not his constant follower. That grace which at first is like a bruised reed, may afterward resemble a strong cedar. Hereby these two rich men showed the value they had for Christ's person and doctrine, and that it was not lessened by the reproach of the cross. We must do our duty as the present day and opportunity are, and leave it to God to fulfil his promises in his own way and his own time. The grave of Jesus was appointed with the wicked, as was the case of those who suffered as criminals; but he was with the rich in his death, as prophesied, Isaiah 53:9; these two circumstances it was very unlikely should ever be united in the same person. He was buried in a new sepulchre; therefore it could not be said that it was not he, but some other that rose. We also are here taught not to be particular as to the place of our burial. He was buried in the sepulchre next at hand. Here is the Sun of Righteousness set for a while, to rise again in greater glory, and then to set no more.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on John》
 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God — Which they understood in the highest sense, and therefore accounted blasphemy.
 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
He was the more afraid — He seems to have been afraid before of shedding innocent blood.
 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Whence art thou? — That is, whose son art thou?
 Jesus answered, Thou couldest 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.
Thou couldst have no power over me — For I have done nothing to expose me to the power of any magistrate. Therefore he that delivered me to thee, namely, Caiaphas, knowing this, is more blamable than thou.
 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.
Pilate sat down on the judgment seat — Which was then without the palace, in a place called, in Greek, the pavement, on account of a beautiful piece of Mosaic work, with which the floor was adorned: but in Hebrew, Gabbatha - Or the high place, because it stood on an eminence, so that the judge sitting on his throne might be seen and heard by a considerable number of people.
 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
It was the preparation of the passover — For this reason both the Jews and Pilate were desirous to bring the matter to a conclusion. Every Friday was called the preparation, (namely, for the Sabbath.) And as often as the passover fell on a Friday, that day was called the preparation of the passover.
 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Bearing his cross — Not the whole cross, (for that was too large and heavy,) but the transverse beam of it, to which his hands were afterward fastened. This they used to make the person to be executed carry. Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26.
 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews — Undoubtedly these were the very words, although the other evangelists do not express them at large.
 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.
It was written in Latin — For the majesty of the Roman empire; in Hebrew - Because it was the language of the nation; and in Greek - For the information of the Hellenists, who spoke that language, and came in great numbers to the feast.
 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
What I have written, I have written — That shall stand.
 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.
The vesture — The upper garment.
 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 saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
They parted my garments among them — No circumstance of David's life bore any resemblance to this, or to several other passages in the 22d Psalm. So that in this scripture, as in some others, the prophet seems to have been thrown into a preternatural ecstacy, wherein, personating the Messiah, he spoke barely what the Spirit dictated, without any regard to himself. Psalms 22:18.
 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
His mother's sister — But we do not read she had any brother. She was her father's heir, and as such transmitted the right of the kingdom of David to Jesus: Mary, the wife of Cleopas - Called likewise Alpheus, the father, as Mary was the mother of James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas.
 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Behold thy mother — To whom thou art now to perform the part of a son in my place, a peculiar honour which Christ conferred on him.
From that hour — From the time of our Lord's death.
 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
A stalk of hyssop — Which in those countries grows exceeding large and strong. Psalms 69:21.
 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
It is finished — My suffering: the purchase of man's redemption.
He delivered up his spirit — To God, Matthew 27:50.
 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.
Lest the bodies should remain on the cross on the Sabbath — Which they would have accounted a profanation of any Sabbath, but of that in particular.
For that Sabbath was a great day — Being not only a Sabbath, but the second day of the feast of unleavened bread (from whence they reckoned the weeks to pentecost:) and also the day for presenting and offering the sheaf of new corn: so that it was a treble solemnity.
 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Forthwith there came out blood and water — It was strange, seeing he was dead, that blood should come out; more strange, that water also; and most strange of all, that both should come out immediately, at one time, and yet distinctly. It was pure and true water, as well as pure and true blood. The asseveration of the beholder and testifier of it, shows both the truth and greatness of the miracle and mystery.
 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
His testimony is true — Valid, unexceptionable.
And he knoweth — And his conscience beareth him witness, that he testifieth this for no other end, than that ye may believe.
 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
A bone of it shall not be broken — This was originally spoken of the paschal lamb, an eminent type of Christ. Exodus 12:46.
 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
They shall look on him whom they have pierced — He was pierced by the soldier's spear. They who have occasioned his sufferings by their sins (and who has not?) shall either look upon him in this world with penitential sorrow: or with terror, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven, Revelation 1:7. Zechariah 12:10.
 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.
Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate — And Nicodemus also came - Acknowledging Christ, when even his chosen disciples forsook him. In that extremity Joseph was no longer afraid, Nicodemus no longer ashamed.
 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.
In the place where he was crucified — There was a garden in the same tract of land: but the cross did not stand in the garden.
 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Because of the preparation — That is, they chose the rather to lay him in that sepulchre which was nigh, because it was the day before the Sabbath, which also was drawing to an end, so that they had no time to carry him far.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on John》
Michelangelo was a genius. He excelled as a
sculptor, designer, painter, and architect. His statues of Moses and David, to
name but a few, are widely recognized and appreciated. What many people do not know
is the in
Jesus Christ left no unfinished works.
Chapter 19. Crucified and Buried
A Talent of
A New Tomb
I. Behold the Man
II. Commission Under the Cross
III. Fulfill the Scripture
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》