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16Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

So they took Jesus; 17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,

and for my clothing they cast lots.”

25 And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

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16. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified, &c.—(See Mr 15:15).

Joh 19:17-30. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus.

17. And he bearing his cross—(See on Lu 23:26).

went forth—Compare Heb 13:11-13, "without the camp"; "without the gate." On arriving at the place, "they gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall [wine mingled with myrrh, Mr 15:23], and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink" (Mt 27:34). This potion was stupefying, and given to criminals just before execution, to deaden the sense of pain.

Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour

The dews oblivious: for the Cross is sharp,

The Cross is sharp, and He

Is tenderer than a lamb.


But our Lord would die with every faculty clear, and in full sensibility to all His sufferings.

Thou wilt feel all, that Thou may'st pity all;

And rather would'st Thou wrestle with strong pain

Than overcloud Thy soul,

So clear in agony,

Or lose one glimpse of Heaven before the time,

O most entire and perfect Sacrifice,

Renewed in every pulse.


18. they crucified him, and two others with him—"malefactors" (Lu 23:33), "thieves" (rather "robbers," Mt 27:38; Mr 15:27).

on either side one and Jesus in the midst—a hellish expedient, to hold Him up as the worst of the three. But in this, as in many other of their doings, "the scripture was fulfilled, which saith (Isa 53:12), And he was numbered with the transgressors"—(Mr 15:28)—though the prediction reaches deeper. "Then said Jesus"—["probably while being nailed to the Cross,"] [Olshausen], "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lu 23:34)—and again the Scripture was fulfilled which said, "And He made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa 53:12), though this also reaches deeper. (See Ac 3:17; 13:27; and compare 1Ti 1:13). Often have we occasion to observe how our Lord is the first to fulfil His own precepts—thus furnishing the right interpretation and the perfect Model of them. (See on Mt 5:44). How quickly was it seen in "His martyr Stephen," that though He had left the earth in Person, His Spirit remained behind, and Himself could, in some of His brightest lineaments, be reproduced in His disciples! (Ac 7:60). And what does the world in every age owe to these few words, spoken where and as they were spoken!

19-22. Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross … Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews … and it was written in Hebrew—or Syro-Chaldaic, the language of the country.

and Greek—the current language.

and Latin—the official language. These were the chief languages of the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it. But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having got him to act against his own sense of justice, he peremptorily refused them. And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed, in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in circumstances which threw upon it a lurid yet grand light, the truth which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the world!

23, 24. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts; to every soldier—the four who nailed Him to the cross, and whose perquisite they were.

a part, and also his coat—the Roman tunic, or close-fitting vest.

without seam, woven from the top throughout—"perhaps denoting considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things unto Him, Lu 8:3" [Webster and Wilkinson].

24. Let us not rend it, but cast lots … 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—(Ps 22:18). That a prediction so exceedingly specific—distinguishing one piece of dress from others, and announcing that while those should be parted amongst several, that should be given by lot to one person—that such a prediction should not only be fulfilled to the letter, but by a party of heathen military, without interference from either the friends of the enemies of the Crucified One, is surely worthy to be ranked among the wonders of this all-wonderful scene. Now come the mockeries, and from four different quarters:—(1) "And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads" in ridicule (Ps 22:7; 109:25; compare Jer 18:16; La 2:15). "Ah!"—"Ha," an exclamation here of derision. "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from the cross" (Mt 27:39, 40; Mr 15:29, 30). "It is evident that our Lord's saying, or rather this perversion of it (for He claimed not to destroy, but to rebuild the temple destroyed by them) had greatly exasperated the feeling which the priests and Pharisees had contrived to excite against Him. It is referred to as the principal fact brought out in evidence against Him on the trial (compare Ac 6:13, 14), as an offense for which He deserved to suffer. And it is very remarkable that now while it was receiving its real fulfilment, it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting proclamation of His enemies. Hence the importance attached to it after the resurrection, Joh 2:22" [Webster and Wilkinson]. (2) "Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, Himself He cannot save" (Mt 27:41, 42). There was a deep truth in this, as in other taunts; for both He could not do, having "come to give His life a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28; Mr 10:45). No doubt this added an unknown sting to the reproach. "If He be the king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him" (Mt 27:42). No, they would not; for those who resisted the evidence from the resurrection of Lazarus, and from His own resurrection, were beyond the reach of any amount of merely external evidence. "He trusted in God that He would deliver him; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him [or 'delight in Him,' compare Ps 18:19; De 21:14]; for He said, I am the Son of God" (Mt 27:41-43). We thank you, O ye chief priests, scribes, and elders, for this triple testimony, unconsciously borne by you, to our Christ: first to His habitual trust in God, as a feature in His character so marked and palpable that even ye found upon it your impotent taunt; next, to His identity with the Sufferer of the twenty-second Psalm, whose very words (Ps 22:8) ye unwittingly appropriate, thus serving yourselves heirs to the dark office and impotent malignity of Messiah's enemies; and again, to the true sense of that august title which He took to Himself, "The Son of God," which He rightly interpreted at the very first (see Joh 5:18) as a claim to that oneness of nature with Him, and dearness to Him, which a son has to his father. (3) "And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him and offering Him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save Thyself" (Lu 23:36, 37). They insultingly offer to share with Him their own vinegar, or sour wine, the usual drink of Roman soldiers, it being about the time of their midday meal. In the taunt of the soldiers we have one of those undesigned coincidences which so strikingly verify these historical records. While the ecclesiastics deride Him for calling Himself, "the Christ, the King of Israel, the Chosen, the Son of God," the soldiers, to whom all such phraseology was mere Jewish jargon, make sport of Him as a pretender to royalty ("KING of the Jews"), an office and dignity which it belonged to them to comprehend. "The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth" (Mt 27:44; Mr 15:32). Not both of them, however, as some commentators unnaturally think we must understand these words; as if some sudden change came over the penitent one, which turned him from an unfeeling railer into a trembling petitioner. The plural "thieves" need not denote more than the quarter or class whence came this last and cruelest taunt—that is, "Not only did scoffs proceed from the passers-by, the ecclesiastics, the soldiery, but even from His fellow-sufferers," a mode of speaking which no one would think necessarily meant both of them. Compare Mt 2:20, "They are dead which sought the child's life," meaning Herod; and Mr 9:1, "There be some standing here," where it is next to certain that only John, the youngest and last survivor of the apostles, is meant. And is it conceivable that this penitent thief should have first himself reviled the Saviour, and then, on his views of Christ suddenly changing, he should have turned upon his fellow sufferer and fellow reviler, and rebuked him not only with dignified sharpness, but in the language of astonishment that he should be capable of such conduct? Besides, there is a deep calmness in all that he utters, extremely unlike what we should expect from one who was the subject of a mental revolution so sudden and total. On the scene itself, see on Lu 23:29-43.

25-27. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, wife of Cleophas—This should be read, as in the Margin, "Clopas," the same as "Alpheus" (Mt 10:3). The "Cleopas" of Lu 24:18 was a different person.

26, 27. When Jesus … saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved, standing by, he saith to his mother, Woman, Behold Thy Son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold Thy Mother!—What forgetfulness of self, what filial love, and to the "mother" and "son" what parting words!

from that hour … took her to his own home—or, home with him; for his father Zebedee and his mother Salome were both alive, and the latter here present (Mr 15:40). See on Mt 13:55. Now occurred the supernatural darkness, recorded by all the other Evangelists, but not here. "Now from the sixth hour (twelve o'clock, noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour" (Mt 27:45). No ordinary eclipse of the sun could have occurred at this time, it being then full moon, and this obscuration lasted about twelve times the length of any ordinary eclipse. (Compare Ex 10:21, 23). Beyond doubt, the divine intention of the portent was to invest this darkest of all tragedies with a gloom expressive of its real character. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, Eli, Eli, Lama SabachthaniMy God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mt 27:46). As the darkness commenced at the sixth hour, the second of the Jewish hours of prayer, so it continued till the ninth hour, the hour of the evening sacrifice, increasing probably in depth, and reaching its deepest gloom at the moment of this mysterious cry, when the flame of the one great "Evening Sacrifice" was burning fiercest. The words were made to His hand. They are the opening words of a Psalm (Ps 22:1) full of the last "sufferings of Christ and the following glories" (1Pe 1:11). "Father," was the cry in the first prayer which He uttered on the cross, for matters had not then come to the worst. "Father" was the cry of His last prayer, for matters had then passed their worst. But at this crisis of His sufferings, "Father" does not issue from His lips, for the light of a Father's countenance was then mysteriously eclipsed. He falls back, however, on a title expressive of His official relation, which, though lower and more distant in itself, yet when grasped in pure and naked faith was mighty in its claims, and rich in psalmodic associations. And what deep earnestness is conveyed by the redoubling of this title! But as for the cry itself, it will never be fully comprehended. An absolute desertion is not indeed to be thought of; but a total eclipse of the felt sense of God's presence it certainly expresses. It expre'sses surprise, as under the experience of something not only never before known, but inexplicable on the footing which had till then subsisted between Him and God. It is a question which the lost cannot utter. They are forsaken, but they know why. Jesus is forsaken, but does not know and demands to know why. It is thus the cry of conscious innocence, but of innocence unavailing to draw down, at that moment, the least token of approval from the unseen Judge—innocence whose only recognition at that moment lay in the thick surrounding gloom which but reflected the horror of great darkness that invested His own spirit. There was indeed a cause for it, and He knew it too—the "why" must not be pressed so far as to exclude this. He must taste this bitterest of the wages of sin "who did no sin" (1Pe 2:22). But that is not the point now. In Him there was no cause at all (Joh 14:30) and He takes refuge in the glorious fact. When no ray from above shines in upon Him, He strikes a light out of His own breast. If God will not own Him, He shall own Himself. On the rock of His unsullied allegiance to Heaven He will stand, till the light of Heaven returns to His spirit. And it is near to come. While He is yet speaking, the fierceness of the flame is beginning to abate. One incident and insult more, and the experience of one other predicted element of suffering, and the victory is His. The incident, and the insult springing out of it, is the misunderstanding of the cry, for we can hardly suppose that it was anything else. "Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias" (Mt 27:47).

28-30. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished—that is, the moment for the fulfilment of the last of them; for there was one other small particular, and the time was come for that too, in consequence of the burning thirst which the fevered state of His frame occasioned (Ps 22:15).

that the scripture—(Ps 69:21).

might be fulfilled saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar—on the offer of the soldiers' vinegar, see on Joh 19:24.

and they—"one of them," (Mt 27:48).

29. filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon—a stalk of

hyssop, and put it to his mouth—Though a stalk of this plant does not exceed eighteen inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of crucified persons were not raised high. "The rest said, Let be"—[that is, as would seem, 'Stop that officious service'] "let us see whether Elias will come to save Him" (Mt 27:49). This was the last cruelty He was to suffer, but it was one of the most unfeeling. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice" (Lu 23:46). This "loud voice," noticed by three of the Evangelists, does not imply, as some able interpreters contend, that our Lord's strength was so far from being exhausted that He needed not to die then, and surrendered up His life sooner than Nature required, merely because it was the appointed time. It was indeed the appointed time, but time that He should be "crucified through weakness" (1Co 13:4), and Nature was now reaching its utmost exhaustion. But just as even His own dying saints, particularly the martyrs of Jesus, have sometimes had such gleams of coming glory immediately before breathing their last, as to impart to them a strength to utter their feelings which has amazed the by-standers, so this mighty voice of the expiring Redeemer was nothing else but the exultant spirit of the Dying Victor, receiving the fruit of His travail just about to be embraced, and nerving the organs of utterance to an ecstatic expression of its sublime feelings (not so much in the immediately following words of tranquil surrender, in Luke, as in the final shout, recorded only by John): "Father, into Thy hands I COMMEND My spirit!" (Lu 23:46). Yes, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. His soul has emerged from its mysterious horrors; "My God" is heard no more, but in unclouded light He yields sublime into His Father's hands the infinitely precious spirit—using here also the words of those matchless Psalms (Ps 31:5) which were ever on His lips. "As the Father receives the spirit of Jesus, so Jesus receives those of the faithful" (Ac 7:59) [Bengel]. And now comes the expiring mighty shout.

30. It is finished! and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost—What is finished? The Law is fulfilled as never before, nor since, in His "obedience unto death, even the death of the cross"; Messianic prophecy is accomplished; Redemption is completed; "He hath finished the transgression, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed up the vision and prophecy, and anointed a holy of holies"; He has inaugurated the kingdom of God and given birth to a new world.

Joh 19:31-42. Burial of Christ.

31-37. the preparation—sabbath eve.

that the bodies should not remain—over night, against the Mosaic law (De 21:22, 23).

on the sabbath day, for that sabbath day was an high day—or "great" day—the first day of unleavened bread, and, as concurring with an ordinary sabbath, the most solemn season of the ecclesiastical year. Hence their peculiar jealousy lest the law should be infringed.

besought Pilate that their legs might be broken—to hasten their death, which was done in such cases with clubs.

33. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already—there being in His case elements of suffering, unknown to the malefactors, which might naturally hasten His death, lingering though it always was in such cases, not to speak of His previous sufferings.

they brake not his legs—a fact of vast importance, as showing that the reality of His death was visible to those whose business it was to see to it. The other divine purpose served by it will appear presently.

34. But one of the soldiers—to make assurance of the fact doubly sure.

with a spear pierced his side—making a wound deep and wide, as indeed is plain from Joh 20:27, 29. Had life still remained, it must have fled now.

and forthwith came thereout blood and water—"It is now well known that the effect of long-continued and intense agony is frequently to produce a secretion of a colorless lymph within the pericardium (the membrane enveloping the heart), amounting in many cases to a very considerable quantity" [Webster and Wilkinson].

35. And he that saw it bare record—hath borne witness.

and his witness is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe—This solemn way of referring to his own testimony in this matter has no reference to what he says in his Epistle about Christ's "coming by water and blood" (see on 1Jo 5:6), but is intended to call attention both to the fulfilment of Scripture in these particulars, and to the undeniable evidence he was thus furnishing of the reality of Christ's death, and consequently of His resurrection; perhaps also to meet the growing tendency, in the Asiatic churches, to deny the reality of our Lord's body, or that "Jesus Christ is come in the flesh" (1Jo 4:1-3).

36. that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken—The reference is to the paschal lamb, as to which this ordinance was stringent (Ex 12:46; Nu 9:12. Compare 1Co 5:7). But though we are to see here the fulfilment of a very definite typical ordinance, we shall, on searching deeper, see in it a remarkable divine interposition to protect the sacred body of Christ from the last indignity after He had finished the work given Him to do. Every imaginable indignity had been permitted before that, up to the moment of His death. But no sooner is that over than an Unseen hand is found to have provided against the clubs of the rude soldiers coming in contact with that temple of the Godhead. Very different from such violence was that spear-thrust, for which not only doubting Thomas would thank the soldier, but intelligent believers in every age, to whom the certainty of their Lord's death and resurrection is the life of their whole Christianity.

37. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced—The quotation is from Zec 12:10; not taken as usual from the Septuagint (the current Greek version), which here is all wrong, but direct from the Hebrew. And there is a remarkable nicety in the choice of the words employed both by the prophet and the Evangelist for "piercing." The word in Zechariah means to thrust through with spear, javelin, sword, or any such weapon. In that sense it is used in all the ten places, besides this, where it is found. How suitable this was to express the action of the Roman soldier, is manifest; and our Evangelist uses the exactly corresponding word, which the Septuagint certainly does not. Very different is the other word for "pierce" in Ps 22:16, "They pierced my hands and my feet." The word there used is one signifying to bore as with an awl or hammer. How striking are these small niceties!