Gospel Of John – Advance Study (Part 20)

John 19

1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: It is at this point that Jesus suffers a severe physical beating. During a scourging, a victim was tied to a post, leaving his back entirely exposed. The Romans used a whip, called a flagrum or flagellum which consisted of small pieces of bone and metal attached to a number of leather strands. The number of blows in Jewish law was set in Deuteronomy 25:3 at forty, but later reduced to 39 to prevent accidentally going beyond 40 blows. The victim often died from the beating. Roman law did not put any limits on the number of blows given. The number of strikes is not recorded in the gospels. During the scourging, the skin was stripped from the back, exposing a bloody mass of muscle and bone. Extreme blood loss occurred from this beating, weakening the victim. perhaps to the point of being unconscious. Without scourging, strong, condemned men might live on the cross for several days until exposure, wild animals, insects, or birds resulted in their death.

2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: Have you ever received a laceration to your scalp?…it bleeds a lot. How about 20 to 50 lacerations and punctures?!… Unlike the traditional crown which is depicted by an open ring, the actual crown of thorns may have covered the entire scalp. The thorns may have been 1 to 2 inches long. The gospels state that the Roman soldiers continued to beat Jesus on the head. The blows would drive the thorns into the scalp and forehead, causing enormous amounts of bleeding and pain. Thorns were one of the curses brought about by sin (Gn 3:18); the crown of thorns represents Jesus Christ taking on Himself the curse of sin. Also, his beard was plucked off…oh, not one hair at a time, but large bunches of hair along with chunks of flesh. Isa 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. After this incredible cutting and beating to His head and face the great prophet Isaiah rightly foretells: Isa 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

This all was a very odd punishment for someone who Pilate found no fault in!…

5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: They were mocking Jesus; they dressed Him in a robe and had a ‘crown’ placed on Him… behold the man!… your King! It was at this point that ‘bloodlust’ took over these ‘respected religious’ leaders and they yelled ‘crucify Him!’ Pilate didn’t want to crucify Him; he was going to let the Jews do it though; but the Jews did not want to cause an uproar with the people, and thus wanted the Romans to do it. The Jews did have an OT law that said death was the punishment for blasphemy (Lv 24:14).

8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 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. 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

The Doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ: Pilate had some very reasonable fears here; for what if Jesus was indeed the Son of God?. He asked Him where He was from, but Jesus wouldn’t answer Him for He was needing to ‘go to the cross’. This all caused Pilate to want to release Jesus; he probably was fearful of what ‘God’ might do if His Son was killed by Pilate’s order.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: The crucifixion was all under the careful supervision of God the Father; He allowed all of this. Pilate’s authority right here could have easily been overruled by God…but it wasn’t. The Jews had the greater sin here than Pilate had, for they delivered Jesus unto Pilate.

13 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. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

The Doctrine of Government: Pilate ultimate bowed to the Jews’ demands, and he delivered Jesus to be crucified. Pilate was more concerned with what made him look politically impressive vice whether a man was innocent or not. Governmental officials can be influenced to do what is wrong. The group just needs to be loud, persistant, and make threats (i.e., like the Homosexual activists).

17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 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. 21 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. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: ‘Calvary’ also is translated as referring to a ‘skull’. This particular area was located just outside the city on a rounded knoll that has the appearance of a bare skull. It was here, flanked by two thieves, that Christ would bear the sins of the world. The Roman guards who accompanied Him in the procession were required to stay with Him until they could substantiate His death.

The crucifixion site was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls…for sanitary reasons … the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers by. Sometimes, the subject was eaten while alive and still on the cross by wild beasts or vultures.

Crucifixion was a practice that originated with the Persians and was later passed on to the Carthaginians and the Phoenicians. The Romans perfected it as a method of execution which caused maximal pain and suffering over a period of time. There were several different types of crosses used during crucifixion. In Jesus’ time, it was most likely that the cross used was a ‘T’ shaped (or tau cross,), not the popular Latin, or ‘t’ shaped cross which is accepted today.

The crucifixion involved the hands (and the feet) being nailed to the ‘cross’. Archaeological data indicate that the specific nails used during the time of Christ’s crucifixion were tapered iron spikes five to seven inches long with a square shaft approximately three-eighths of an inch across. The knees would have to be bent and then rotated laterally in order to provide a good location for the spike to help support the body’s weight. It was probable that a spike was used for each foot/ankle. This would be a very uncomfortable position to hang in, indeed. When the cross was erected upright, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints.

23 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. 24 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.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

The Doctrine of the Firstborn: It was Jesus’ responsibility to make sure His ‘earthly’ mother was taken care of; Joseph must have long ago since died; it must be that Jesus did not feel that any of His ‘step-brothers’ would be a good choice for taking care of Mom, so He chooses ‘His favorite’ disciple, John. The term ‘woman’ was a respectful term in that culture.

“This refers to John, not to Jesus himself. Behold, my beloved disciple shall be to you a son, and provide for you, and discharge toward you the duties of an affectionate child. Mary was poor. It would even seem that now she had no home. Jesus, in his dying moments, filled with tender regard for his mother, secured for her an adopted son, obtained for her a home, and consoled her grief by the prospect of attention from him who was the most beloved of all the apostles. And how lovely appears the dying Saviour, thus remembering his afflicted mother, and making her welfare one of his last cares on the cross, and even when making atonement for the sins of the world!” (Barne’s Notes)

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 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. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: Jesus knew each and ever prophecy that was made concerning His crucifixion. He knew that the last step was to say ‘I thirst’.

“The drink was given on the “stalk of a hyssop plant”. Remember that these events occurred at the Feast of the Passover. During this feast, (Exod 12:22) hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the wooden doorposts of the Jews. It is interesting the end of this hyssop stalk pointed to the blood of the Perfect Lamb which was applied to the wooden cross for the salvation of all mankind.” (Barclay) “In addition, the wine vinegar is a product of fermentation, which is made from grape juice and yeast. The word literally means “that which is soured” and is related to the Hebrew term for “that which is leavened”.” (Holmans) Yeast or leaven, is a Biblical symbol of sin. When Jesus took this drink, (i.e. a drink which was “leavened”) it is thus symbolic of His taking the sins of the world into His body.

Jesus’ body surely did die, but it was totally under His own direction…no man would take it from Him… He Himself gave up His own ghost. His life and physical death was all under His own control.

John 10:17,18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

It appears that the mechanism of death in crucifixion was usually suffocation. The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed expanded position which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths.(This may explain why Jesus made very short statements while on the cross).

31 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. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2-4 days; some can even live for up to 9
days! Jesus died within about 6 hours of being crucified. Pilate marvelled that He had died so soon (Mk 15:44). Jesus’
death was sure to eventually occur secondary to the beatings and the crucifixion, but I believe He ended it on His own
accord and gave up His own ghost by an act of His will.

The breaking of the legs would cause most of the support to transfer to the upper body and thus speed up suffocation dramatically. Water came out due to the large amount of fluid on the lungs (and possibly the pericardium), and blood came out due to the spear entering the heart chambers.

38 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. 39 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. 40 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. 41 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. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

The Doctrine of the Crucifixion: God used 2 wealthy disciples of His to bury His dear Son’s human body; Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus the Pharisee. Jesus was quickly buried in the sepulchre prior to official ‘sundown’ that day, (our Wednesday around 6 pm); At 6 pm that evening, the Passover was to officially begin, and there could be no dead bodies unburied.