John 19:12-27

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 12) As a result of the discussion he had with the Lord Jesus In Verses 8-11, Pilate sought to release Jesus. He knew that tie was innocent of their charges and was no rebel nor threat to Caesar. But when he sought to release Jesus Christ, the Jews took up a cry which they knew would influence the governor, "If you let this man go, you are an enemy of Caesar: for whosoever makes himself King speaks against Caesar." That did it! Pilate understood what they said and knew that if they lodged a complaint (even lies or insinuations) against him before Tiberias, who was then Caesar, he would be in grave danger of losing everything. He knew that these Jews were liars who had no love for Caesar, but he saw their determination to kill Jesus of Nazareth and knew that they would stop at nothing to do so.

(Vs. 13-14) When Pilate heard that they intended to accuse him of treason before Caesar, he brought the Lord Jesus forth to pass sentence upon Him. The moment for which the entire history of redemption had been waiting had arrived –Pilate made up his mind to deliver Jesus Christ to be crucified (Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:8, 14; Rev. 13:8). Pilate sat down on his official chair. It was FRIDAY of the Passover week, for it was the day preceding the Sabbath, when the cooking was done and other preparations were made. The Jewish day was divided into four parts –the third hour (6:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.), the sixth hour (9:00 a.m. – 12 noon), the ninth hour (12 noon – 3:00 p.m.), and the twelfth hour (3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.). So it was ABOUT the sixth hour (or around 9:00 a.m.) that Pilate cried, "Behold your King!" Who knows what Pilate was really thinking and saying? Was he mocking them and all Jews, whom he evidently despised? Was he ridiculing the shackled, weak, defenseless man before him who was about to be slain? Or was he speaking prophetically as Caiaphas did in John 11:49-527 It is possible that he had more in mind than mocking and ridicule from what he wrote above the cross of Jesus and refused to change (John 19:19-22).

(Vs. 15-16) In answer to Pilate's question, "Shall I crucify your King?" they cried, "We have no king but Caesar!" They used to say, "We have no king but God." In reality they resented Caesar's rule (Matt. 22:17). No people were more zealous for their liberty than these Jews nor more impatient under foreign rule; yet their hatred for Jesus Christ and His gospel of grace and redemption was so intense that they were willing to bow to Tiberias rather than have Christ reign over them (Luke 19:14). This is the issue in salvation – WHO IS YOUR LORD AND KING? (Rom. 10:9-10.) Christ is not your Saviour if He is not the Lord of your life! (Matt. 6:24). Having rejected their Messiah and having bowed to the god of this world, they led Jesus away to be crucified.

(Vs. 17-18) They made Him carry His own cross. He carried it as long as he was physically able, then one called Simon of Cyrene was ordered to take over the difficult task (Luke 23:26). Compelling Him to carry His own cross added to the shame. Much speculation and tradition surrounds "the place of a skull," Golgotha or Calvary; but there are no facts to support much of it. It was outside the city, it was a place of execution, and it was evidently on a hill.

The important thing is not WHERE the crucifixion took place but WHO was crucified! the God-man! WHY was He crucified? for the sins of His people! WHAT did He accomplish? "By Himself purged our sins" and enabled a holy God to be "just and justifier" of those who believe (Rom. 3:25-26). One may find the actual spot where Christ died and the actual cross on which Christ hung and be no better for it. Forgiveness of sin and redemption are through faith in HIM, not contact with so-called "holy places, things, or relics" (II Kings 18:1-4). Two thieves were crucified with Him (Luke 23:32-33).

(Vs. 19-22) Pilate wrote upon a board the superscription of his accusation containing the substance of the charges against Him and nailed it to Ills cross, "JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS." It was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin that it might be read by all Jews, Greeks, and Romans; for He is indeed the Saviour of men of every nation, and He is the King of all (Phil. 2:9-11). The Jews were offended by what Pilate had written, for they did not own Him to be their King and they resented the implication. They said, "Write that tie SAID, I am the King of the Jews. We are not crucifying our king; we are crucifying a traitor and an imposter." Pilate refused to yield to their demands and said, "What I have written, I have written." He must save face in some way. He must show his authority in some way, for he had given in to them too much already. But how true concerning all involved in this matter! What God has written, He has written! What Pilate had written and done was done for all time. What these Jews had done and what was written of them was done and written forever (Matt. 27:24-25).

(Vs. 23-24) Evidently there were four soldiers who crucified Him, for it says that they divided His garments in four parts. Someone suggested there may have been sandals, head gear, belt, and another garment; for they crucified Him naked. The fifth piece was a robe woven in one piece without seams. Instead of cutting or tearing it to be divided among them, they cast lots for it that the Scripture might be fulfilled (I Cor. 15:1-4; Psalm 22:18).

(Vs. 25-27) Our Lord commended His mother, Mary, to the care of John, the author of this epistle. He ordered John to take care of her as if she had been his own mother. Evidently Joseph was dead, otherwise he would have cared for her. From that time Mary lived with John. Even in His most difficult hour, our Lord provides for His own and leaves us an example (I Tim. 5:8).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.