Read John 19:1-5a
It is possible that Jesus was actually flogged twice. He may have been flogged somewhat more humanely in this account in John, and then flogged again after the Jews demanded that Pilate release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. If this was the case, the second flogging would have been unspeakably brutal, as was the custom. They would flog the convict to within an inch of his life, partly in order to hasten his death once on the cross. This beating served to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy in 52:14.
Pilate was in a difficult spot. He wanted to set Jesus free. For one thing, he wanted to spite the Jews, and he knew the Jewish leaders were trying to convict Jesus not because of his guilt, but out of their own envy and hatred. To set Jesus free would show the leaders he was more powerful than they. Also, he was afraid of Jesus, and what might happen to him if he convicted him. Yet, Pilate was also afraid of the Jewish leaders and he was afraid of losing his Roman position. So he decided that maybe he could manipulate the situation to his advantage, and maybe this little problem could go away.
Read remainder of verse 5.
“Here is the Man!” – Jesus by this time must have appeared as a pathetic figure, and we can almost hear the irony in Pilate’s voice as he speaks these words. Here is the man, the one you are so threatened by that you want him put to death. Here is the great threat you are so worried about. And yet these words are so meaningful to us, as believers. Here is the Man. The Son of Man. The God Man. God himself, having taken an unspeakable beating. Having been mocked. The King of Kings stood humbly and passively there, obedient always to His Father.
But Pilate’s plan backfired, and the Jewish people demanded that Jesus be crucified. Seeing no way out, he delivered Jesus over to be crucified.
Jesus carried his own cross. This fulfilled two OT symbols. First, Isaac carried his own wood for the sacrifice. Second, the sin offering used to be taken outside the camp or city. Jesus was made sin.
Events of the Cross
1. Jesus arrived in Golgatha (Mt 27:33, Mk 15:22, Lk 23:33, Jn 19:17)
It was normal that a notice would be attached to the criminal’s cross. Pilate had Jesus’ say, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” to further infuriate the Jews. In the midst of Jesus’ agony, and in the midst of the single most important event in human history, Pilate is looking for ways to goad the Jews. And the Jews are taking the bait. And all the while, Jesus is being offered as The sin offering. While the leaders are trying to throw their power around, they are completely unaware that they are powerless. They are pawns in these events, so that they glory of God might shine and his perfect plan might be revealed.
The sign is written in three languages – Aramaic, Latin and Greek, so that everyone who would see it would know what it said.
The chief priests were not exactly thrilled with this declaration. They wanted Jesus to be executed for CLAIMING to be the Jews’ king, not for being the king. But Pilate denies their request for the sign to be changed. Once again, Pilate is being used by God to speak truth, in spite of himself.
2. He refused the offer of wine mixed with myrrh (Mt 27:34, Mk 15:23)
He was offered wine mixed with gall, an anesthetic, which would have dulled his senses and made the pain of crucifixion somewhat easier to bear. It strikes me as somewhat ironic that after all the of the mockery and the brutality, they now offer to relieve some of the pain. Jesus refused the drink. He wanted to be in complete control of His senses throughout this horrendous process. Nothing will separate him from fully and completely carrying out the task His Father has given to him. How great the Savior’s love for his Father. How great the Savior’s love for us.
3. He was nailed to the cross between the two thieves (Mt 27:35-38, Mk 15:24-28, Lk 23:33-38, Jn 19:18)
The innocent man contrasted on either side with the guilty. The Savior hanging as a sinner alongside the very sinners he was dying to save.
4. He gave his first cry, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk 23:34)
5. The soldiers took Jesus’ garments, leaving him naked on the cross. (Mt 27:35, Mk 15:24, Lk 23:34, Jn 19:23)
Dividing the clothes – they took his clothes and divided them up. They cast lots for his undergarment. Jesus hung naked on the cross, in ultimate shame. The shame that he bore for our sins. He died naked, so that he can clothe our bodies with righteousness forever.
6. The Jews mocked Jesus (Mt 27:29-43, Mk 15:29-32, Lk 23:35-37)
They yelled insults at him, reminding him that he had said that he could destroy the temple and raise it again three days later. He was now hanging on a cross, dying. Surely he must be a false teacher, then. They challenged him that if he were the Son of God, he should be able to perform a miracle and come down from the cross. He could save others, but not himself. And they told him that if he came down from the cross, they would believe in him.
Of course, Jesus could have done all of these things and more. He did not lack the power to save himself. But his concern was not in saving himself. His concern was in saving us. It was not the Father’s will that he should save himself. It was necessary that the Son of God die for others, and so he patiently endured the insults and mockery.
7. He conversed with the two thieves (Lk 23:39-43)
8. He gave his second cry from the cross, “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43)
9. Third cry from the cross “Woman, here is your son.” (Jn 19:26-27)
10. Darkness came from noon to 3 p.m. (Mt 27:45, Mk 15:33, Lk 23:44)
11. Fourth cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46-47, Mk 15:34-36)
Jesus had never been separated from God before. We have no concept of this, because we know all too well what separation from God feels like. But try to imagine for a moment what it meant for Jesus to be separated from His Father for the first time. The Father HAD to turn away, to turn his back on his Son. Jesus, hanging on the cross, was covered in our sins. He BECAME sin. And so he felt the full fury and the full wrath of his Father. “He who knew no sin became sin for us.”
12. Fifth cry, “I am thirsty” (Jn 19:28)
13. Drank wine vinegar (Jn 19:29)
Vs 28-29 “I am thirsty” – Jesus was fully conscious, and he was aware that he was fulfilling prophecy. Notice the paradox once again – the one who is the Water of Life is dying in thirst.
14. Sixth cry, “It is finished” (Jn 19:30)
Vs. 30 “It is finished” – In the Greek it is a single word that Jesus would have spoken. It was a common word. Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with this Greek word written across them, meaning “Paid in full.” When Jesus spoke this word, he meant that His redemptive work was finished. He had paid what was owed, he had paid it in full. 2 Corin 5:21. He had been made sin for people and he had suffered the penalty of God’s justice, which sin demanded.
15. Seventh cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46)
16. He dismissed his spirit by an act of his own will (Mt 27:50, Mk 15:37, Lk 23:46, Jn 19:30)
Luke 23:46 – He bowed his head AND THEN dismissed his spirit. This contrasts the normal progression of death by crucifixion. Normally, the person being crucified would lose consciousness and begin to give up spirit, and then the head would slump forward.
Jesus was in complete control of His life and his death. No man took Jesus’ life from Him, just as he had foretold in John 10:11, 15, 17-18. Verse 18 “No one takes it (my life) from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
17. The temple curtain was torn in two (Mt 27:51, Mk 15:38, Lk 23:45)
This curtain separated the holy place from the holy of holies in the temple. It was torn from top to bottom, which signified that God was the one who ripped it. It was not torn from the bottom by men ripping it. God was showing that His holy presence was now available to everyone.
Excerpt from The Jesus Storybook Bible, page 306
18. Roman soldiers admitted, “Surely he was the Son of God.” (Mt 27:54, Mk 15:39)
I confess, personally, that it is easy for me to read the account of Jesus’ death in a detached manner. This account is so familiar to me, having heard it and read it all of my life, that I can become desensitized to it. Perhaps because it’s not easy to read it while letting the full weight, the full significance and emotion, sink in. This historical account of Jesus’ death is difficult for me to take in for several reasons
1. Because of the pain and agony that Jesus went through. It would be uncomfortable for me to read about the physical pain associated with flogging and crucifixion even if I was just reading about it happening to a guilty criminal. But knowing that it happened to Jesus makes it that much worse.
2. Because of the way that Jesus was misunderstood, mocked, and insulted. Talk about adding insult to injury.
3. Because it brings me face to face with my own sin and guilt. And I don’t want to be face to face with my sin and guilt. Even after having acknowledged my need for a Savior, even after believing and finding life in Jesus’ name, it is still hard for me to own how truly awful my sin is. Knowing how deeply Jesus had to suffer in order to pay the price for my sin forces me to acknowledge how truly wretched I am. I was the one who belonged on that cross. You were the one that belonged on that cross. All of the pain and agony that Jesus endured – that was what we should have endured. Because we are sinners. We are guilty. Oh, it is so easy to take our sin lightly and dismiss it. But it cannot be dismissed without a deep, deep price.
Jesus paid that price. The account has been settled. The punishment has been given out. The sinner has been executed. And yet that sinner was not me and that punishment was not mine. Jesus, perfect spotless Lamb, took my sins upon himself that I might go free. And when we turn to him, and fall at his feet, acknowledging our wretched state as sinners and our great need for him as our Savior, then God looks upon us and sees only His righteousness. How can this be?? I can only be amazed that this is our reality. Because Jesus humbly, willingly, obediently took our sins upon himself and hung on the cross, we not only are called innocent but we are called worthy of being part of God’s family. There are no words to describe what a gift this is.