John chapter 19

Jesus is flogged and mocked and sentenced to death. He carries his cross to Golgotha, where they crucify him. He thirsts, and then dies.





VERSE 1. So Pilate then took Jesus, and flogged him.

Pilate … flogged him. Pilate tried to compromise. He hoped the crowd would be satisfied with a little bloodshed.

However, in usual Roman practice, a prisoner was only flogged after being condemned to death.


VERSE 2. The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown, and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment.

twisted thorns into a crown. They torture Jesus in ways that align with his true identity. He is a king; they give him a crown.

And those thorns are a reminder of the curse of thorns caused by human sin:

Genesis 3:18. It will yield thorns and thistles to you; and you will eat the herb of the field.

dressed him in a purple garment. In those days, purple was the color worn by kings. It was a symbol of royalty.


VERSE 3. They kept saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and they kept slapping him.

King of the Jews. They think they are taunting Jesus. But what they say is his true identity.


VERSE 4. Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”




VERSE 5. Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the man!”

Behold, the man! Pilate’s words would have been in Latin: “Ecce homo.”

Pilate was not righteous, but Jesus is. Their situation is the reverse of Nathan pointing to David. Nathan was a righteous prophet, but David had done a terrible deed:

2 Samuel 12:7. Nathan said to David, “You are the man. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul.


VERSE 6. When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him.”

they shouted. The religious leaders SHOUT their demand that Jesus be crucified.

I find no basis for a charge against him. Pilate is the secular leader. He is a much more exemplery person than the religious leaders. The religious leaders embody every human wickedness.


VERSE 7. The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

We have a law. They are making the charge of blasphemy, which calls for death:

Leviticus 24:16. He who blasphemes the LORD’s name, he shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him. The foreigner as well as the native-born shall be put to death when he blasphemes the Name.

he made himself the Son of God. Jesus did not fashion himself into the Son of God. Rather, he already was the eternal Son of God.

Jesus did not become divine. Rather, he was always divine. He is eternally begotten of God the Father.


VERSE 8. When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid.

more afraid. Mighty Pilate is afraid of this homeless man from Nazareth.


VERSE 9. He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Jesus gave him no answer. This fulfills prophecy:

Isaiah 53:7. He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he didn’t open his mouth.

Mark 14:55. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witnesses against Jesus to put him to death, and found none.

John 19:9. He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

Acts 8:32. Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he doesn’t open his mouth.


VERSE 10. Pilate therefore said to him, “Aren’t you speaking to me? Don’t you know that I have power to release you and have power to crucify you?”


VERSE 11. Jesus answered, “You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin.”

from above. That is, from God.

he who delivered me to you. It is not clear whether Jesus is referring to Judas, Satan, Caiaphas, the priests, or the Jewish people. Caiaphas is probably the best choice.


VERSE 12. At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this man, you aren’t Caesar’s friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!”

Caesar’s friend. To be called an “amicus Caesaris” (a “Friend of Caesar” in Latin) was an honorific title. It was bestowed upon high-ranking officials.


VERSE 13. 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.”

and sat down. The phrase could mean that Pilate sat down, as the judge of this trial. Or it could mean that Jesus sat down, as the judge of the world.


VERSE 14. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”

the Preparation Day of the Passover. This was the preparation for the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.

the sixth hour. This could mean 6 am. Or noon. At noon, priests began to slaughter the Passover lambs in the temple.


VERSE 15. They 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!”

your King. Pilate is speaking ironically. He does not believe Jesus was their king. But to spite them, he called Jesus their king.

We have no king but Caesar! This is also spoken ironically. They claimed to be loyal to Rome. But they disclaimed their Messiah.




VERSE 16. So then he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away.

to them. This probably means Pilate delivered Jesus to the chief priests.


VERSE 17. He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called “The Place of a Skull”, which is called in Hebrew, “Golgotha”,

bearing his cross. At this point, Jesus is carrying the cross himself.

The Place of a Skull. It was probably called that because the hill with its stony barren top looked like a skull.

In English we call this place “Calvary.”

Golgotha. This is actually an Aramaic word. It means “skull.”




VERSE 18. where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.


VERSE 19. Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Pilate wrote a title. Roman authorities commonly displayed an inscription stating the charges against a crucified criminal. It would have been written in three languages: Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.


VERSE 20. Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.

near the city. Jesus was crucified outside the city.

written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. It was written in languages for just about everybody.


VERSE 21. The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘he said, “I am King of the Jews.” ’ ”


VERSE 22. Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”


VERSE 23. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

took his garments. Stripping the accused was part of the customary cruelty of those days. And Jesus dying naked was part of the shame which he bore for our sins.

the coat was without seam. This seamless garment suggests the type of garment the high priest wore. In our day, some Christians see it as a sign that all Christians should be united as one.


VERSE 24. Then they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.


VERSE 25. But standing by Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

standing by Jesus’ cross. Christ had many close followers. Yet in this, his greatest hour of need, almost all have abandoned him.

This verse says only four people (or maybe three people) stayed with him.

Person 1. his mother. That is, May the mother of Jesus.

Person 2. his mother’s sister. Mary had a sister!

Person 3. Mary the wife of Clopas. This is the only place in the Bible where she is mentioned.

It is possible that person 2 and person 3 are the same. In other words, all of the following is one phrase:

his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas

Person 4. Mary Magdalene. She appears in many places in the four Gospels.


VERSE 26. Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

the disciple whom he loved. This almost certainly refers to John:

John 13:23. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus’ breast.

John 19:26. Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

John 20:2. Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

Woman, behold, your son. Jesus does not address his mother as “mother” but rather as “woman.”


VERSE 27. Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.

Behold, your mother! Some people interpret this to mean that Mary is the mother of all believers.

However, Jesus only said it to John. And John interpreted it to mean that he, not us, was to accept Mary as his mother.




VERSE 28. After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.”

I am thirsty. Often when we think of prayer, what comes to mind is what we do. We pray by saying this, or by meditating on that, or by thirsting, or by sitting still, or by burning within.

However, our own efforts are probably rather feeble. Especially compared with what God is doing. What God is doing is far more important than what we are doing.

One thing God is doing is thirsting. He thirsts for us. Jesus said that at the cross: “I thirst.”

There is a famous paraphrase of what Jesus said. It might have been written by Saint Augustine. Or maybe Saint Gregory Nazianzen. It is this: Deus Sitit Sitiri. It means, “I thirst to be thirsted for.”

Mother Theresa of Calcutta had those words written in all the chapels of the Missionaries of Charity. Right next to the crucifix, it says, “I thirst.”

Jesus thirsts. He thirsts for you.


VERSE 29. Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.

a vessel full of vinegar. This was wine that was drugged. It was a narcotic offered to dull the pain.




VERSE 30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished.” He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

It is finished. In the Greek language of the New Testament, this is a single word: tetelestai. In those days, it meant “paid in full.”

He … gave up his spirit. Jesus chose the moment of his death.


VERSE 31. Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn’t remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.


VERSE 32. Therefore the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was crucified with him;

broke the legs. This was called the crurifragium (in Latin). It caused death to occur fairly quickly by shock, loss of blood, and inability to breathe.


VERSE 33. but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they didn’t break his legs.

they didn’t break his legs. This fulfills a prophecy:

Exodus 12:46. It must be eaten in one house. You shall not carry any of the meat outside of the house. Do not break any of its bones.

saw that he was already dead. This too fulfills a prophecy:

Zechariah 12:10. I will pour on David’s house, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for his firstborn.


VERSE 34. However one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

pierced his side. Jesus Christ really did die. It was not a charade.

blood and water came out. This flow has been interpreted in various ways:

Some say Jesus died of a broken heart so that his pericardium was full of blood and serum.

Others say it is a sign that Jesus Christ instituted the sacraments:

  • water stands for baptism
  • blood stands for Holy Communion

Most clearly, though, it indicates that Jesus was a real human who died a real death.


VERSE 35. He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe.

He who has seen has testified. John is an eyewitness.

his testimony is true. John is telling us the truth.

that you may believe. John’s purpose is to bring us to belief in Jesus Christ.


VERSE 36. For these things happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “A bone of him will not be broken.”


VERSE 37. Again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they pierced.”

Zechariah 12:10. I will pour on David’s house, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look to me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and will grieve bitterly for him, as one grieves for his firstborn.




VERSE 38. After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body.

of Arimathaea. This city was about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem.

secretly for fear of the Jews. Joseph of Arimathaea is a crypto-follower of Jesus Christ.


VERSE 39. Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds.

Nicodemus. He was an influential person.


VERSE 40. So they took Jesus’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

the custom of the Jews is to bury. Their burial custom was simply to wash the body and cover it with cloth and aromatic oils or spices.


VERSE 41. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid.

a new tomb. This was the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. He had cut it out of rock.

Matthew 27:60. and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.


VERSE 42. Then because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Jesus there.

they laid Jesus there. They actually buried the body of Jesus. This attests to the reality of his death.

1 Corinthians 15:4. that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

This act of Joseph and Nicodemus was for them dangerous, costly, and without any personal gain.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.