Gospel of John [19:12-16]. Christ's Crucifixion, part 1.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [19:12-16]. Christ's Crucifixion, part 1.


Announcements/opening prayer:



Even after this second interview with Jesus, Pilate still attempts to release Him, but the Jews then pulled out their trump card - "you will be opposing Caesar."


JOH 19:12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar."


JOH 19:13 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.


Pilate sat down on his bema which would have been a raised platform where he would discharge his judicial functions. It was called Pavement because it was paved with stones or what is known in Hebrew (really Aramaic) as The Ridge.


JOH 19:14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"


According to John it was now getting close to noon time as hours were reckoned from sunrise. However Mark has the crucifixion beginning at the third hour and then darkness coming at the sixth hour.


MAR 15:25

And it was the third hour when they crucified Him.


MAR 15:33-34

And when the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"


In many cultures a new king is presented to others in the government and pronounced king formally to which the witnesses respond in some gesture of recognition. The British would respond, "God save the king." Pilate presents Jesus to them in the same manner.


Pilate has been put on the spot by the chief priests, and sees no alternative to condemning Jesus to death, but he has his revenge.


Pilate gets revenge by insisting that this bloodstained, disheveled figure that was beaten and scourged to a pulpous mass was their king, and inviting them to recognize Him as such.


The idea that He could be their king they dismiss with indignation and state their own blasphemy by stating that they have no king but Caesar and it will be Caesar who destroy them and their city.


JOH 19:15 They therefore 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."


They fully and openly reject Jesus as their King and the chief priests openly state that only Caesar is their king.


As if they actually have loyalty to Caesar, they take a cynical pose of loyal subjects, as if Roman's themselves.


Pilate knew from long experience with the Jews the hypocrisy of this sudden loyalty to the emperor, yet he realizes that they have cornered him and outplayed him.


By this time the Roman world had developed the cult of Caesar, a religious system in which the Roman emperor was worshipped as a god.


Christianity came into this world with its unique imperial claims of the kinship of the Lord Jesus Christ and it would clash with Rome. Caesar Augustus sent out a decree to take a census of all his people, or as Luke puts it, "that the whole inhabited earth should be enrolled." In other words Caesar was saying that they are all mine. One young couple took part in this census, Joseph and Mary and their newborn baby Jesus. The angels announced Him to the shepherds. Is it any wonder that the angels did not announce this to the Sanhedrin?


LUK 2:10-11

"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord [Master or King].


However, the refusal of the religious leaders and the number of Jews to accept Him as their Messiah and King does not stop the fact that He is such.


Php 2:10-11

at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


JOH 19:16 So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.


We must admire the masterful way in which John has described the stages, all leading to this climax, of the power struggle between Pilate and the Jews. What has been at stake from the beginning is Jesus' condemnation to death by crucifixion. It is neither the intrigue on both sides, nor Pilate's unprincipled conduct, nor the Sanhedrin's fanaticism, with however much dramatic and psychological talent they are depicted, that constitute the actual subject of John. Nor is it a concern to give a new answer to who was to blame for the decision to crucify Jesus. John's aim is to describe the way Jesus had to go in obedience to the Father and the cup the Father gave Him to drink.


JOH 10:17 "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.


JOH 10:18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."


The cruel and disgraceful way that Pilate and the Jews played their game with Jesus is not revealed so that readers can understand the incredible blame that should be given to the human race, but to show the depth into which Jesus would go in obedience to the Father's plan.


Php 2:8

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


The Crucifixion:


From the Praetorium through the streets of Jerusalem the melancholy procession did wind. Businesses would have been closed but quite a crowd would come out to line the streets to gape at the spectacle. We can estimate the distance from the Praetorium to Golgotha to be about 0.3 miles or a little more than 500 yards.


The women were moved to pity and sympathy at the sight of Jesus' figure.


In Luke's gospel it would seem that Simon had been ordered to carry the Lord's cross before this was said.


LUK 23:27 And there were following Him a great multitude of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.


LUK 23:28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.


LUK 23:29 "For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'


 MAT 27:25

And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children!"


During the Roman war many children were murdered and many sold into slavery and others starved to death in the city.


"So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine, and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them." (from Josephus: Wars of the Jews, Book 5; chap. 12.3)


LUK 23:30 "Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 


LUK 23:31 "For if they do these things in the green tree, what will happen in the dry?"


He is referring to the sacking of the city by the Romans and the subsequent destruction of their temple and their nation.


Jesus prophesied this the day He first rode into the city the first day on the colt:


LUK 19:41 And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it,


LUK 19:42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.


LUK 19:43 "For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side,


In order to prevent the Jews from sneaking out of the city and then sneaking in food supplies Titus decided to build a wall around the entire city. What normally would have taken months took three days. The wall was five miles long and contained garrison houses so that soldiers could keep watch throughout the day and night.


Josephus writes: "When Titus had therefore encompassed the city with this wall, and put garrisons into proper places… so all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine." (from Josephus: Wars of the Jews, Book 5; chap. 12.2, 3)


LUK 19:44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. "


This is a bone chilling fulfillment of prophecy.


[back to]

LUK 23:31 "For if they do these things in the green tree, what will happen in the dry?"


When Jesus was alive the nation was like a green tree because of the blessings of opportunity, but in rejecting Him the nation became like a dry tree.


The nation of Israel was like a "green tree" during the years when Jesus was on earth. It was a time of blessing and opportunity, and it should have been a time of fruitfulness. But the nation rejected Him and became like a "dry tree," fit only for the fire.


JER 17:5 Thus says the Lord,

"Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.


JER 17:6 "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.


JER 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord.


JER 17:8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.


JER 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?


JER 17:10 "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.


JER 17:11 "As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a fool."


The proverb of the partridge, known to the Israelites, told of the bird that sits on and hatches the eggs of another. When they hatch the chicks forsake the one who hatched them in search of their real mother.


JER 17:12 A glorious throne on high from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary.


JER 17:13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake Thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.


Jesus often would have gathered His people together, but they would not. In condemning Him, they only condemned themselves.


LUK 23:30 "Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.'


LUK 23:31 "For if they do these things in the green tree, what will happen in the dry?"


We might paraphrase His words; "If the Roman authorities do this to One who is innocent what will they do to you who are guilty? When the day of judgment arrives, can there be any escape for you?"


Josephus writes of a woman from Perea who was forced to migrate to Jerusalem as a refugee during the Roman advance. In the city when the famine intensified she was robbed of all her food. Day in and day out the robbers would go from door to door to take whatever they could as the famine grew fierce. In desperation she killed her son who was still at the nursing age and roasted him and ate half of him. When the robbers returned they smelled the putrid odor and demanded to know where the food was. She showed the half eaten boy and stated that she had saved half of the food for them. Josephus then writes:


"After which those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die ["mountains fall on us"], and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries." (from Josephus: Wars of the Jews, Book 6, chap 3.4)


Jesus has not slept in over 24 hours. Since the Passover supper He has not had any food or drink. After the deep emotion of that feast, after the anticipated betrayal of Judas, after the hours in the Garden of Gethsemane were blood dried on His forehead from the pressure, after the scattering of His disciples, to Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate including all the mocking, blows, spitting, pulling of hair, after the scourging and mocking and beating on the head with a reed followed by a crown of thorns; from indignity to indignity, from torture to torture, He had been hurried from one to the other. All throughout He had borne Himself with a divine majesty.


If His divinity gave His humanity meaning and uniqueness, His humanity gave true meaning to voluntary sacrifice.


Yet those who mourned for Him on the street may not have understood their need for a Savior nor that He was the Savior of the world. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would have mourned for Him if they could even bear to look upon Him but when we who are believers consider our complete depravity, our helplessness, our hopelessness, and our need for Him, we mourn more for the darkness on Cavalry, when for three hours He died a spiritual death on our behalf, was separated from His Father while His Father forsook Him and He was judged for all our sins.


He was unable to bear the full weight of His cross.


LUK 23:26 And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.


Mark tells us that Simon is the father of two sons that were known to the Christian community when Mark wrote his gospel from Rome between 60-70 AD.


MAR 15:21

And they pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.


Cyrene was located just inland of the coast of Libya. Luke states that he was coming in from the country. We are not told why he was chosen or why he may have stood out against any others that might have been chosen, but we can rest assured that God chose him for this task.


Interestingly, and this is all conjecture, there is a Simeon surnamed Niger (Latin for black) listed as a prominent prophet or teacher.


Acts 13:1

Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.


Simon is the Hellenized (Greekified) form of Simeon. Cyrene was a Greek city.


Paul stayed in Antioch where he taught and ministered in the church there. It was from Antioch that Paul was sent by the Lord along with Barnabas and his young cousin Mark on his first missionary journey.


Mark records Simon's son Rufus in his gospel.


Paul sends greeting to a Rufus in Rome.


ROM 16:13

Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.


The implication of greeting Rufus and his mother, and indicating that his mother was like a mother to him brings up some interesting possibilities. Of course this is entirely speculation but fun.