John 19:1-42

1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

[Pilate...took Jesus and scourged him] As our Lord was sourged by the order of Pilate, it is probable that he was scourged in the Roman manner, which was more severe than that of the Jews. The latter never gave more than thirty-nine blows; for the law had absolutely forbidden a man to be abused, or his flesh cut in this chastisement (Deuteronomy 25:3, 2 Corinthians 11:24). The Roman flogging had no such restrictions.

Though it was customary to scourge the person who was to be crucified, it appears that Pilate had another end in view. He hoped that this would have satisfied the Jews, and that he might then have dismissed Jesus, Luke 23:16.

2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.
4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

[Behold the man!] The man who, according to you, affects the government and threatens to take away the empire from the Romans. Behold the man whom you have brought to me as an enemy of Ceasar, and as the sower of sedition in the land! In him I find no guilt; and from him you have no occasion to fear any evil.

6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

[I find no fault in himl According to Roman law.

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.

[By our law he ought to die] Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 24:14-16.

8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

[He was the more afraid] Pilate was certainly to be pitied. He saw what was right and he wished to do it, but he had not sufficient firmness of mind.

9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

[Whence art thou?] To this question we find our Lord gave no answer. He had already told him that his kingdom was not of this world, John 18:36-37. Pilate was now confronted with the possibility that the man standing before him was not only royalty, but also diety. Pilate, who was a polytheist, believed that it was possible for the offspring of the gods to visit mortals and he was afraid to condemn Jesus for fear of offending some of the supreme dieties.

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

[Power...given thee from above.] "The most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will...", Daniel 4:17. Read the experiences of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4, and Belshazzar,Daniel 5.

[The greater sin] It is a sin to condemn me while you are convinced of my innocence, but your ignorance is some measure of excuse. Those who know the truth and consciously reject it have the greater crime for which to answer.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

[Thou art not Caesar's friend] This insinuation ended Pilate's resistance. He was afraid of being accused and he knew Tiberias was one of the most jealous and distrustful princes in the world. During his reign accusations of conspiracy were much in fashion; they were founded upon the silliest of pretences and punished with excessive rigor.

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

[The Pavement] Literally, a stone pavement. Probably it was that place in the open court where the chair of justice was set, for the prefects of provinces always held their courts in the open air, which was paved with stones of various colors, like that of Ahasuerus, Esther 1:6, of red, blue, white and black marble; what we still term Mosaic work.

[Gabbatha] That is, an elevated place. John does not say that "the pavement" was the meaning of the word "Gabbatha", but that "Gabbatha" was the name by which the Jews referred to this place.

14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

[the sixth hour] Differences between Roman time (hours starting at midnight and noon, as is done today) and Hebrew reckoning (sunset and sunrise) contribute to some confusion. Pilate's statement, "Behold your King!" probably took place at 6 a.m. Roman time. Mark says in Mark 15:25 that the acual crucifixion took place at the third hour (9 a.m. Hebrew time), and that darkness was over the whole land from the sixth hour until the ninth hour (Noon to 3 p.m. Hebrew time), Mark 15:33.

[Behold your King!] This was probably intended as an irony, and by thus turning their pretended serious apprehensions into ridicule, he hoped still to release him.

15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

[Then delivered he him] This was not till after he had washed his hands, Matthew 27:24, to show by this symbolical action that he was innocent of the death of Christ.

17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

[Bearing his cross] He bore it all alone at first, then, when he could no longer carry it because of weakness occasioned by the ill treatment he had received, Simon, a Cyrenian, helped him carry it. Luke 23:26.

18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

[Two other] Luke and Mark, in the parallel passages, call them malefactors and theives. See Luke 23:32-33, Luke 23:39-43, Mark 15:27-28 and Isaiah 53:12.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

[What I have written] Weak though he was, Pilate got in the last word.

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, 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. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Psalm 22:18.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

[Behold thy son! - Behold thy mother!] It is very likely that Joseph died previous to this and that this was the reason why the desolate widow was committed to the care of the beloved disciple.

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

[I thirst] The scripture that refers to his drinking vinegar is Psalm 69:21. The fatigue which he had undergone, the grief he had felt, the heat of the day, and the loss of blood, were the natural causes of this thirst. This he would have born without complaint, but he wished to give them the fullest proof of his being the Messiah, by distinctly marking how every thing relative to the Messiah, which had been written by the prophets, had its complete fulfillment in him.

29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

[It is finished] As if he had said, "I have executed the great design of the Almighty, I have satisfied the demands of his justice, I have accomplished all that was written in the prophets and suffered the utmost malice of my enemies, and now the way to the holy of holies is made manifest through my blood." An awful, yet glorious finish. John the Baptist, the forerunner, the announcer, had said of Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

[That the bodies should not remain on the cross] For the law, Deuteronomy 21:22-23, ordered that the bodies of criminals should not hang all night; and they did not wish to have the Sabbath profaned by either taking them down on that day, or letting them hang to disturb the joy of that holy time.

[their legs might be broken] It was a common custom to break the legs or other bones of criminals upon the cross. This appears to have been a kind of Coup de grace, the sooner to put them out of their pain.

Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

[A bone of him shall not be broken] Psalm 34:20. Compare with Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12.

37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

[Him whom they pierced] Psalm 22:16, Zechariah 12:10.

38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

It appears that because of the approaching Sabbath the preparations were hurried and the tomb in which Jesus was laid was not intended to be his final resting place, it was only borowed temporarily. How right they were.

Based upon excerpts from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from


This page updated 02/05/2007

Copyright (C) 1999,2003,2006,2007 Robert C. Denig. All rights reserved