Gospel of John [19:16-25]. Christ's Crucifixion, part 3.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [19:16-25]. Christ's Crucifixion, part 3.


Announcements/opening prayer:



John is silent about the verbal abuse that was hurled at Him while He hung on the cross about to pay the ransom for all sin.


The accounts of Matthew and Mark are almost identical.


MAT 27:39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads,


Jesus was crucified close to an intersection of two roads that led out of the north of Jerusalem. Many of the passersby are those traveling in and out of the city.


During the feast many are coming and going. There are many at Jerusalem for this feast, many camped outside the city. Travelers were arriving and leaving as well and those roads are no more than two hundred yards from the crucifixion cite which is on a hill. Jesus was crucified very publically and all could see the titulus or sign above His head reading "King of the Jews."



MAT 27:40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."


What makes this hard to endure is that He can come down off that cross at any moment.


The Lord likely healed thousands of people from ailments and yet He would not heal Himself of even a scratch.


MAT 27:41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying,


MAT 27:42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him.


To save Himself would mean that no one of the human race would be saved.


MAT 27:43 "He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"


MAT 27:44 And the robbers also who had been crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.


PSA 22:12-13

Many bulls have surrounded me;

Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

They open wide their mouth at me,

As a ravening and a roaring lion.


PSA 22:16

For dogs have surrounded me;

A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

They pierced my hands and my feet.


PSA 22:20-21

Deliver my soul from the sword,

My only life from the power of the dog.

Save me from the lion's mouth;

And from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me.


Bulls, lions, and dogs - when men reject the Lord they become like unreasoning animals.


2PE 2:12-13

But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong.


Luke's account of the verbal abuse: Only Luke indicates that the soldiers also mocked Him.


LUK 23:35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One."


LUK 23:36 And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,


LUK 23:37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!"


The soldiers said, "If You are the King of the Jews," while the chief priests, scribes, and elders took this farther and went to a direct, blasphemous challenge, "He is the King of Israel, let Him come down from the cross and we shall believe in Him." Mark's account has them saying, "Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe."


Whereas the soldiers have "if" the Sanhedrists give blasphemous challenge with the contemptible, "Let this Christ, King of Israel." And we also notice that the soldiers used the phrase King of the Jews but the Sanhedrists would not use the term Jews but the King of Israel. They were more comfortable mocking Him with the title of the nation than they were with the personified term Jew which referred to themselves individually.


LUK 23:38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."


Their jeers cast contempt on the four great facts in the life and work of Jesus Christ.


1) The new relationship between Israel and the Temple - "You who are going to destroy the temple…"


JOH 4:21-23

"Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.


2) The new relationship between Christ and believers as "sons" - "if You are the Son of God."


3) The finished work of salvation - "He saved others, He cannot save Himself."


4) The relationship of Israel and their promised kingdom - "If You are the King of the Jews."


Each one is identically ended with "save Yourself."


"If You can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days (i.e. if You are the true temple in which all believers will now worship God); if You are the Son of God and therefore can make all men sons of God; if You really did save so many other people from the slavery placed upon their bodies; and if You really are the King of the Jews, then save Yourself. If You come down off the cross we will believe in you."


The implication is amazing. In order to be all those things and in order to give to mankind all those things it is imperative that He not save Himself. In all this He stands alone in the truth and does not waiver.


And unbelievably in one of these taunts they actually quote scripture.


MAT 27:43 "He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"


With the laughter of hellish triumph they re-echo the Jewish challenge and ask for an outward sign in order to demonstrate His Messiahship.


The Sanhedrists at the cross tempt Christ using scripture very similarly to Satan in the wilderness.


MAT 4:5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,


MAT 4:6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written [PSA 91:11-12],

'He will give His angels charge concerning You';


'On their hands they will bear You up,

Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'"


MAT 4:7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"


This was Satan's proposal to reveal Himself as Messiah to Israel. Surely this would be easier than the slow work of years to establish this claim. Was Christ to voluntarily, by His own doing, cast Himself into danger, or was He to present His word, His power, and His message to Israel and if danger come it would be by the hand of Israel? The latter is the plan of the Father and many more would be saved by presenting the Messiah in truth rather than theatrics. The Sanhedrin members at the cross find themselves doing the same thing as Satan, and is it no wonder, since Christ said in JOH 8:44 that Satan was their father and they do the will of their father.


And what is more astounding is that they too are quoting scripture.


MAT 27:43 "He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"


PSA 22:8

"Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;

Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."


Now, at the close of His Messianic work, the Tempter suggested, in the challenge of the Sanhedrists, that Jesus had suffered absolute defeat, and that God had publicly disowned the trust which the Christ had put in Him. Here, as in the temptation of the wilderness, the words misapplied were those of holy scripture that was thoroughly misunderstood.


The derision of the Sanhedrists under the cross had a special motive. The crucifixion was close to the intersection of roads that led from the north of Jerusalem to Caesarea in the north and Joppa in the west. People coming to and fro the city during the feast would naturally be very interested by the spectacle of the three crosses. As the gospel noted they would have seen the titulus over the head of Jesus and being in three languages no one would have a problem understanding the title. The crucified man and the words "King of the Jews," might, when taken in connection with what was known of Jesus, have raised most dangerous questions. And this the presence of the Sanhedrists was intended to prevent, by turning the popular mind in a totally different direction. It was just such a taunt and argumentation as would appeal to that coarse realism of the common people. The passers by are those traveling in and out of the city as well as those who have come out to see the spectacle. As those passing made the short walk to see the three crosses the members of the Sanhedrin were sure to shout out these mockeries in order to persuade them.   


Luke includes the rebuke of the one criminal upon the other who was verbally abusing Christ.


LUK 23:39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"


He desires to be saved from the cross but not saved unto eternal life.


Men often, in sickness and affliction, call upon God. They are earnest in prayer. They ask of God to save them, but it is only to save them from "temporal" death. It is not to be saved from their sins, and the consequence is, that if they are delivered from the seemingly urgent death, they forget their promises and forget God and go back to life without Him as they had before.


LUK 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?


It may be that this criminal insulted Him at the start, being carried away with the others, but then changed his mind:


MAT 27:44

 And the robbers also who had been crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.


LUK 23:41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."


LUK 23:42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"


In that dark hour, amidst the tortures of a slow death, did not the fear of God creep over his partner as it did over him? If the one knew He was innocent then certainly the other did also. Added to this is the knowledge that he and his comrade suffer justly, but he was sure that Jesus had done nothing wrong. He and his friend had been involved in seditious acts against Rome and he was sure that Jesus and His followers were not involved in anything similar or else and his group would have known. He has witnessed Barabbas' release and the condemnation of this Man in his place. He knows Barabbas to be seditious murderer and He knows Jesus to be completely innocent. He heard Jesus warn the lamenting women on the way and witnessed Him refuse the concoction that would have dulled His pain, one which the criminal certainly drank. And then there is the title above the head of Jesus, "King of the Jews." This together with the way in which Jesus conducted Himself with such a divine character and majestic glory and to actually hear the man say, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," and yet He was innocent. All this and a mustard seed of faith and the murderer rapidly rose to the height of faith.


And with that faith there came a true and reverent fear of God that his partner would not allow within him.


JOB 28:28

"And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;


PSA 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;


PRO 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.


PRO 9:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


PRO 15:33

The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,

And before honor comes humility.


Of Jesus Himself:


ISA 11:2

And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,

The spirit of wisdom and understanding,

The spirit of counsel and strength,

The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.


ISA 33:6

The fear of the Lord is his treasure.


He is being crucified right next to the Lord of glory, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world and he sees in Him during this hour his very King. Passing into the light he found the courage to ask the Lord that he be remembered. "Remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Faith and then courage, onward and upward.


Whatever this man knew of Moses and prophets may have crystallized in his mind during these moments and through His faith Moses and prophet's depiction of the Christ might have gained him a knowledge of Christ that surpassed even the disciples. This is conjecture of course.


LUK 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."


This man went to Paradise in Hades with Christ that very day.


It is not probable that the dying thief expected that his prayer would be so soon answered. It is rather to be supposed that he looked to some "future" period when the Messiah would rise or would return; but Jesus told him that his prayer would be answered that very day, implying, evidently, that it would be "immediately" at death. This is the more remarkable, as those who were crucified commonly lingered for several days on the cross before they died; but Jesus foresaw that measures would be taken to "hasten" their death, and assured him that "that" day he should receive an answer to his prayer and be with him in his kingdom.


We know that at some point Christ, between death and resurrection or ascension, went to Hades and made a proclamation to the fallen angels imprisoned there (1PE 3:19-20) and He released the OT saints from a place called Abraham's Bosom (EPH 4:9-10). The phrase Abraham's Bosom is a figure of speech which refers to a guest of a feast. The phrase means that those believers who died before the cross were kept in such a place in Hades which is under the earth and this place was a feast of Abraham in which all were guests and it was a beautiful Paradise.