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Summary —Jesus Scourged. The Crown of Thorns. Pilate's Acquittal. The New Charge of the Jews. No King but Cæsar. Crucified at Golgotha. The Garments Parted by Lot. The Women at the Cross. The Mother of Jesus Committed to John. It Is Finished.
1–16. For notes on these verses, see Matt. 27:19–33. Compare Mark 15:15–22; Luke 23:20–31. John gives a few additional features. Behold the man! Jesus had been scourged, and then, bleeding and 402torn, was crowned with thorns and a purple robe thrown around him, and led out before the people. Pilate, it is probable, hoped to arouse pity. Crucify him. The response was this savage cry. Pilate then declared, Take ye him, etc. This is his formal acquittal of the charge of sedition and rebellion that they had made. He had committed no crime against Roman law. Hence, if punished, it must be by their law. We have a law. Failing in their purpose, they now fall back on their charge of blasphemy: “He made himself the Son of God.” Whence art thou? This statement arouses the fear of Pilate. He had never seen such calm dignity and majesty before. Could this prisoner be divine? When Jesus is silent, Pilate reminds him that he has power to crucify or release. Thou couldest have no power against me, etc. Jesus breaks the silence and at once assumes the position of Pilate's judge. He declares that Pilate could have no power over himself unless it were given him. Christ submitted because it was the Father's will that he should drink the cup. Poor, helpless Pilate was not so great a sinner as the Jews, who might have known better, who were filled with devilish hate, who were now forcing Pilate to the crime. The words of Christ are really words of compassion. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend. This means that he will be accused before Cæsar's tribunal of winking at treason. The Cæsar then on the throne was Tiberius, dark, suspicious, cruel in character. Such a charge from the representatives of the Jewish nation at Rome would probably prove fatal to Pilate; would certainly end his career as a public man. The risk was too great. He would rather sacrifice an innocent man than to sacrifice himself. Hence he at once surrenders. It was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour. John marks the exact time when this remarkable judgment was rendered. It was about six o'clock in the morning, on Friday, the day of preparation for the passover. Mark says that the crucifixion began at the third hour, nine o'clock, as the Hebrews began to count at six. John wrote many years later, after Jerusalem had fallen, among people who began to count at midnight, as did all the Roman world, and he therefore used their language and called six o'clock the sixth hour, as we do, rather than the first hour as the Hebrews did. Christ and his apostles had eaten the passover already. How then could it be that was the preparation day? Amid conflicting views, I can only give what seems to me the best solution: (1) It is certain that Christ ate a meal the evening before in the Upper Room which was 403called a passover. (2) It is certain from John 18:28 that the Jews had not eaten the passover at that time. (3) It seems clear to me that Christ, anxious to eat this passover (see Luke 22:15), ate it in advance of the usual time, in order that he, the true Paschal Lamb, “Our Passover” might be offered on the same day that the passover was eaten. The priests hurried the trial and execution of Jesus so that they might proceed to the preparation for the passover that evening. As the Lord's supper was anticipatory of the suffering on the cross, so was the Lord's last passover. The question has difficulties, but this view has fewer than any other. We have no king but Cæsar. They had not now. They had rejected the divine King, had chosen Barabbas instead, for life, and now make choice of Cæsar as their king instead of the Lord's Anointed. To Cæsar's tender mercies they committed themselves, and in about a generation Cæsar will trample them in the wine press of wrath. The choice they had made sealed the fate of their city and nation.
17–30. See notes on Matt. 27:33–66. Compare Mark 15:22–47; Luke 23:33–46. I note some additional 404features given by John. His mother's sister The mother's sister is not here named. In Matt. 27:56, the parallel passage names Salome, the mother of James and John, as one of the four women; hence, it is generally supposed that Salome was the sister of Mary and the aunt of Jesus. Woman, behold thy son! In his mortal agony, Jesus does not forget his bereaved mother, but commits her to the care of John, her nephew, it is supposed. His love shines forth in the sufferings on the cross.
31. Because it was the preparation. For the passover. See verse 14. That sabbath was a high day. A double Sabbath, both the weekly Sabbath and a passover Sabbath. It was usual Roman custom to leave crucified bodies on the cross, but out of deference to their wishes Pilate consents that the legs of the victims should be broken in order to hasten death, so that the bodies might be taken down and buried. The legs were crushed with a hammer like a sledge and the shock would bring speedy death. 405
34. Pierced his side. Finding him lifeless, the soldiers did not break his legs, but to make sure of death thrust a spear into his side. Came out blood and water. The water, with clots of blood, can be accounted for only the previous rupture of the heart and the flow of blood into the pericardium, or outer sack of the heart, where it would separate very rapidly into water and clots of blood. Hence, it seems certain that the immediate physical cause of the death of Christ was rupture of the heart.
36, 37. That the scripture should be fulfilled. See Exod. 12:46; Zech. 12:10.
38–42. For notes on the Burial, see Matt. 27:57–66. Compare Mark 15:42–47; Luke 23:50–56. There came also Nicodemus. This is the third mention of him. See John 3:1 and 7:50. Both he and Joseph were members of the Sanhedrim. Only John mentions that he aided Joseph in the burial. 405
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