John 19: Rome was a kingdom that believed in justice first and foremost. They would come into a country and defeat it and take it over and promise good roads, military protection, and law and order. The price that a people had to pay was to live under their dictatorship. The Romans did a good job of keeping peace and administering justice.
On the desk of every Roman official was a little statue called a Janus. It had two faces with one looking forward and one looking backward. It is from this little statue that we get the name for our month January that looks back on the previous year and looks forward to the new one. Janus was to remind the Roman judge to look at both sides of an issue in a trial. This is what they did when a Roman citizen was accused of a crime. But that is not necessarily the case when it concerned one of the people whom they had conquered, like the Jews.
While the Roman courts were somewhat good at administering justice for their own citizens, that did not at all apply to others. This chapter shows that Yeshua was the victim of a kangaroo court that was set up to demonstrate the power of Rome and put fear in the hearts of the people
(John 19:1 NASB) Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him.
John 19:1: Since Yeshua was truly innocent, and Pilate knew this, then Yeshua certainly should not have been scourged. If Yeshua were a Roman citizen, He would not have been treated in this manner (Acts 22:24-29).
In that day when a prisoner was scourged, they would tie his hands above his head attached to a beam. Then they would strip him and whip him with a leather whip that had pieces of bone and iron in the ends of the whip. They say that after a person was scourged, you could see their internal organs. Many strong men died from just this punishment.
Why did Pilate scourge Him? Probably for his own pleasure. Also to put a man, whom some thought was king of the Jewish people, in his place.
(John 19:2 NASB) And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe;
(John 19:3 NASB) and they began to come up to Him, and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him blows in the face.
John 19:3: The Roman soldiers played a game called “heavy hand.” What they would do is show the victim the fists of all the soldiers. Then they would blindfold the prisoner. All the guards would punch the blindfolded prisoner except one and the prisoner was to guess who didn’t hit him. If he was wrong they did it again. That is what they did to Yeshua. They were especially hard on Him because they seldom had the chance to lay their hands on a king.
His beard was yanked off of His face (Isaiah 50:6). He was beaten worse than any man ever had been (Isaiah 52:14).
(John 19:4 NASB) And Pilate came out again, and said^ to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”
(John 19:5 NASB) Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said^ to them, “Behold, the Man!”
John 19:5: Pilate is bringing Yeshua back outside to present to the people. When they were to see Him, He would not have been recognizable. The scourging and the beating should have killed Him as it was. I think Pilate was introducing Him again to let the people know that this was for sure the same man. But in doing so, he is fulfilling prophecy because these are the same words used by Elohim to describe Yeshua through the prophet Zechariah (Zech 6:12).
Pilate was trying to show the people that this was only a shell of a man that is barely alive. Then Pilate mocked the charges being brought upon Yeshua by giving Him the painful crown and king’s robe. Pilate wanted to displace their hatred for Yeshua with pity.
(John 19:6 NASB) When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said^ to them, “Take Him yourselves, and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”
John 19:6: It was at this time that Pilate called for a bowl of water to wash his hands of the whole thing (Mat. 27:22-24). It would appear from that text that Pilate was having certain misgivings about killing this innocent man. He was probably spooked because of his wife’s dream (Matt. 27:19). Regardless, he made only a feeble attempt and was quick to attempt to release himself from blame.
Why did he go through this meaningless handwashing ritual? This probably reflected his superstition. Perhaps he wanted to appear innocent to the gods regarding this man’s death. His half-hearted attempts to release Yeshua were more to aggravate the Jewish leaders than they were to set free an innocent man.
(John 19:7 NASB) The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”
(John 19:8 NASB) When Pilate therefore heard this statement, he was the more afraid;
John 19:8: This made Pilate afraid. The Romans were pagan people and Pilate was already warned by his wife that she had a dream that Pilate should have nothing to do with this man and that He was righteous. The comment by the people that He made Himself out to be the Son of Elohim only reaffirmed his superstitions.
(John 19:9 NASB) and he entered into the Praetorium again, and said^ to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
(John 19:10 NASB) Pilate therefore said^ to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”
(John 19:11 NASB) Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.”
John 19:11: Yeshua gives a very calm reply to Pilate. Pilate was more emotionally upset with this whole ordeal than was Yeshua.
Yeshua says there are differing degrees of guilt and differing degrees of future punishment. Those who have delivered Yeshua to Pilate have the greater sin. Pilate is merely the instrument they used.
Yeshua also states that Pilate only has power because it was granted to him from above. Elohim puts the leaders of this world in power. Man does not do this (Dan. 2:20-21, 4:17, 5:21, Prov. 8:18-19, ). Paul interpreted these passages to mean that Elohim does appoint the leaders of men and gives them their power (Romans 13:1).
(John 19:12 NASB) As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”
John 19:12: Pilate made efforts to have Yeshua released. The NASB says “As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him…” But the KJV and the NKJV state “From then on Pilate sought to release Him.” Philo wrote that “Pilate is described as corrupt, violent, abusive and cruel.” Pilate instigated the Jewish leaders many times. His attempts at releasing Yeshua were more attempts to incite the anger of the Pharisees and Scribes.
However, the crowd was shouting that they were going to accuse him of insubordination against Caesar if he releases Yeshua.
(John 19:13 NASB) When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
John 19:13: The “Pavement” was called the “Lith-os’-tro-tos” in the Greek. It was a Roman mosaic upon which the Tribunal was placed and where judgement was pronounced. Julius Caesar always took a portable one with him so he could pronounce judgement when he was traveling. Pilate is now proclaiming to take the position of being “judge” over Yeshua.
(John 19:14 NASB) Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said^ to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”
John 19:14: This was the Preparation Day of the Passover which means it was the day the Passover Lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth day of Nissan. The Passover lamb was to be presented on the Tenth of Nissan which was the previous Sunday when the Yeshua presented Himself as the Eternal Passover Lamb as He triumphantly entered Jerusalem on a donkey (Ex. 12:1-6). That would make the day of the crucifixion on Thursday. This was the day before the special Sabbath which was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Mark 15:42-43). No work was allowed to be done on that day (Lev 23:4-8). The work of Yeshua as the Passover Lamb of Elohim was done in accordance with the Mosaic Law and calender that was appointed almost 1500 years earlier.
(John 19:15 NASB) They therefore cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said^ to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
John 19:15: Pilate was once again trying to antagonize the Jewish leaders. The chief priests made their choice. They not only chose Caesar over Yeshua, but they are also stating that Caesar is their ONLY king, even over Elohim.
(John 19:16 NASB) So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.
John 19:16: Yeshua was led away to be crucified. This is in fulfillment of many prophecies including Psalm 94:20-21.
(John 19:17 NASB) They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
John 19:17: Traditionally, it is believed that the Hebrew term “Golgatha” refers to a skull-shaped hill just outside the walls of the city. This would appear to be fulfillment of the sin offering according to Torah. The sin offering was to be taken just outside the camp to a clean place (Lev. 4:12). Paul emphasizes this in the book of Hebrews also (Heb. 13:11-13).
(John 19:18 NASB) There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
John 19:18: Scripture does not give us much in the way of details of the crucifixion.
(John 19:19 NASB) And Pilate wrote an inscription also, and put it on the cross. And it was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
(John 19:20 NASB) Therefore this inscription many of the Jews read, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and in Greek.
John 19:20: Pilate wrote this message on the stake and he wrote it in three different languages. He didn’t want anyone to miss it. He wrote this message in the Hebrew language for the Jews. He wrote it in the Greek language which was the language of much of the world in that day. He wrote it in Latin which is the language of law and order. Pilate was letting the world know that the King of the Jews was under his dominion and that he ruled over their king.
This particular item (the writings on the stake) has been the source of controversy in the past.
This book of John states the writing as being “Yeshua of Nazereth, the King of the Jews.”
The book of Luke says the writing was “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38).
The book of Mark says the writing was “The King of the Jews” (Mark 15:36)
The book of Matthew says the writing was “This is Yeshua, King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37).
Which one is correct? The scoffer points to this as an obvious contradiction. But if we read the text here in John, we see that the writing was put into three different languages. They are all correct.
The writings in Luke and Mark are identical except that Mark didn’t write down the “This is” part of the message that was probably given in Latin. He only wrote the part he saw as important, which was “The King of the Jews.” Luke recorded the full passage as it was written in the official language of the Roman Empire, Latin.
Matthew recorded what was written in Hebrew “This is Yeshua, the King of the Jews,” because Matthew was probably originally written in Hebrew. This Hebrew writing as recorded in Matthew would have been one that Pilate could best use to spite the Pharisees.
John recorded what was written in Greek which was the common trade language of the marketplace, especially in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. This was probably the best description for the average Joe, or the casual observer. Pilate therefore stated in Greek where He was from and what His title was.
(John 19:21 NASB) And so the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’”
(John 19:22 NASB) Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
John 19:22: Pilate, once again, is doing all these things to antagonize the chief priests and show them who is in charge. He would not even grant them a small concession in the way of an inscription.
(John 19:23 NASB) The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.
John 19:23: The one last physical possession owned by Yeshua was the clothes off His back. He is now hanging naked on the stake and they are gambling for the last thing He owned. He was beaten to a pulp and beyond recognition. He was stripped of His strength, health, and dignity. His closest friends ran from Him. He is in the hands of His most dastardly enemies.
(John 19:24 NASB) They said therefore to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.”
John 19:24: The indignity of this act is almost unspeakable. But this is in fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 22:18).
(John 19:25 NASB) Therefore the soldiers did these things. But there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
(John 19:26 NASB) When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said^ to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
(John 19:27 NASB) Then He said^ to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
John 19:27: While it is true that Yeshua had brothers, Yeshua is seeing that His mother is taken care of by someone who is chosen by the Father. He doesn’t refer to her as “mother,” but as “woman,” just as He did at the wedding at Cana.
It is sad that Yeshua’s brothers are not there with Him. But we are led to think that they probably weren’t followers of Yeshua until sometime after the resurrection (John 7:3-5). Until such time comes, Yeshua is making provisions for His mother.
(John 19:28 NASB) After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said^, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:28: Yeshua said this in fulfillment of Psalm 69:21.
(John 19:29 NASB) A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.
(John 19:30 NASB) When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
John 19:30: Yeshua gave up His life in fulfillment of the Scriptures (Isa. 53:10-12).
(John 19:31 NASB) The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
John 19:31: This was the day before the special Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The start of the day is at sundown and it was after 3:00 so they had to get moving.
(John 19:32 NASB) The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him;
(John 19:33 NASB) but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;
(John 19:34 NASB) but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
John 19:34: Some anatomists and physicians explain the death of Yeshua as being caused by a ruptured heart. This results in the blood’s being separated into clots and the watery serum within the pericardium. If that is the case, Yeshua literally died of a broken heart.
(John 19:35 NASB) And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.
John 19:35: John recorded this for the scoffers of that day (and our day too) that may make the claim that Yeshua merely swooned. There was also a religious cult of that day called the Gnostics. They claimed that Yeshua was not really a man, but was merely a spirit. John rebuts that argument here, and in other places in his writings, also.
(John 19:36 NASB) For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.”
John 19:36: The fact that they did not break His legs was a fulfillment of Psalm 34:19-20. This is also fulfilling the requirements of the Passover lamb, the bones of which were not to be broken (Ex. 12:46).
(John 19:37 NASB) And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”
John 19:37: The piercing of His body is in fulfillment of Zech. 12:10. These wound marks were still visible in His resurrected body when He later visited His disciples.
(John 19:38 NASB) And after these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came therefore, and took away His body.
(John 19:39 NASB) And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.
John 19:39: Nicodemus is was a rich man and apparently a follower of Yeshua. He had defended Yeshua on at least one previous occasion (John 7:50-52). He had to have been previously prepared for this, or some burial, because it would have been impossible to have all the 100 pounds of spices, the burial clothes, and the tomb prepared without notice. Perhaps he understood what was going to happen more than the disciples themselves understood.
(John 19:40 NASB) And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
John 19:40: Because the children of Israel had lived in Egypt, some believe that they are the ones who perfected the method of embalming used by the ancient the Egyptians. The Scriptures taught of the resurrection and that is why such care is taken of the body by the Jews.
The custom was to take about half the body weight and wrap it in spices. Therefore, we can deduce that the Yeshua may have weighed about 200 pounds. They would prepare the body by rubbing it with myrrh and aloes. Then they would wrap Him with linen strips. They would wrap the fingers first and then the hands as a whole. They would proceed with each body part in this manner and He would eventually be wrapped up like a mummy. It was a time consuming process and had to be finished three days later since the next two days were Sabbaths. That is why the women arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning with more spices.
(John 19:41 NASB) Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid.
(John 19:42 NASB) Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
John 19:42: They had to hurry because time had run out. The special Sabbath of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread was here. It was a dark day for the loved ones of Yeshua and it must have been extremely difficult to celebrate the Feast.
Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
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Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly
Fort Smith, Arkansas