John 19:19 MEANING

John 19:19
(19) Comp. Notes on Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38. St. John speaks of the title placed over the cross. This was the common Roman name for an inscription of the kind, which was meant to give information of the crime for which the sentence of crucifixion had been given. St. Matthew calls it the "accusation;" St. Mark, "the superscription of the accusation;" St. Luke, "the superscription." (Comp. Luke 23:38.) The inscription varies in word, though not in sense, in each of the narratives; i.e., the Evangelists, in dealing with a written inscription, in which there could have been neither doubt nor difficulty, have not been careful to give us the exact words. The fact is significant, as bearing upon the literary characteristics of the Gospels, and upon the value which the writers set upon exact accuracy in unimportant details. The reason of the variations may, of course, be traced to the fact that one or more of the accounts may be a translation from the Hebrew inscription.

Verses 19-22. - (b) The title on the cross Verse 19. - The evangelist turns to an event of which the synoptists say little, and quietly attribute to the Jews themselves. John, from the special access which he had to information about the high priest and the court of Pilate, says, Now Pilate wrote a title also (the Latin technical word τίτλον is used in preference to the Greek word ἐπιγραφή, "superscription"), and he put it, by the hands of his own soldiers, on the cross. We cannot translate ἔγραψε as a pluperfect, and therefore it becomes probable that after the procession had gone howling and cursing away to Golgotha, he had had the τίτλον, prepared. And there was written upon the parchment, or the tablet, in letters all could read, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS, thus Pilate resolved to sting these murderous Jews to the last point of exasperation, in harmony with the character given him by Philo-Judaeus; but perhaps this motive was also stimulated by another - though he sought to punish their pride with scorn and scoff at their hypocritical charge, he may have had some strange irresistible conviction that there was reality in the royal supremacy of this marvelous Being, who throughout was conspicuously triumphant in his patient dignity. He seems muttering to himself, "Let him be Chief of malefactors, but he is and will be King of the Jews nevertheless, and I do not ignore the memories of either David or Solomon, Zerubbabel, Hyrcanus, or Idumaean Herod." The title differs slightly in its phrase in the four evangelists, yet they all preserve literatim the central fact of the change, "the King of the Jews." John alone mentions the circumstance, which may explain the minute differences (so Gresswell, 'Diss.,' 42.), viz. that it was written in three languages,

(a) the vernacular, or "Hebrew;"

(b) the official, or "Latin;"

(c) the speech generally understood by all strangers, or "Greek."

The minute differences may be represented by Matthew using the Hebrew, Mark the Latin, and Luke and John the Greek, the latter simply adding the personal name of the crucified. Whether this hypothesis explaining the "this is" of Matthew, the "Rex Judaeorum" of Mark, the "this" of Luke, and the fuller statement of John, which gives what was contained in one of the languages, be verified or not, it should be observed that the four evangelists agree as to the verbatim form of the αἰτία, John more abundantly supplementing the information by recording the full τίτλος. Even Strauss does not regard these differences as discrepancies.

19:19-30 Here are some remarkable circumstances of Jesus' death, more fully related than before. Pilate would not gratify the chief priests by allowing the writing to be altered; which was doubtless owing to a secret power of God upon his heart, that this statement of our Lord's character and authority might continue. Many things done by the Roman soldiers were fulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament. All things therein written shall be fulfilled. Christ tenderly provided for his mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, he raises up another for us, where we looked not for it. Christ's example teaches all men to honour their parents in life and death; to provide for their wants, and to promote their comfort by every means in their power. Especially observe the dying word wherewith Jesus breathed out his soul. It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. It is finished; the work of man's redemption and salvation is now completed. His life was not taken from him by force, but freely given up.And Pilate wrote a title,.... Luke calls it a superscription, Mark, the superscription of his accusation, and Matthew, the accusation itself; it contained the substance of the charge against him, and was written upon a table or board, and nailed to the cross, as Nonnus suggests; to this is the allusion, Colossians 2:14. The form of it was drawn up by Pilate, his judge, who ordered it to be transcribed upon a proper instrument, and placed over him:

and put it on the cross; not with his own hands, but by his servants, who did it at his command; for others are said to do it, Matthew 27:37. It was put upon "the top of the cross", as the Persic version reads it; "over him", or "over his head", as the other evangelists say; and may denote the rise of his kingdom, which is from above, the visibility of it, and the enlargement of it, through the cross:

and the writing was; the words written in the title were,

Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews: Jesus was his name, by which he was commonly called and known, and signifies a Saviour, as he is of all the elect of God; whom he saves from all their sins, by bearing them in his own body on the cross, and of whom he is the able and willing, the perfect and complete, the only and everlasting Saviour: he is said to be of Nazareth; this was the place of which he was an inhabitant; here Joseph and Mary lived before his conception; here he was conceived, though born in Bethlehem; where he did not abide long, but constantly in this place, till he was about thirty years of age; this title was sometimes given him as a term of reproach, though not always: "the King of the Jews"; which both expresses his accusation, and asserts him to be so.

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