John 19 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

John 19
Pulpit Commentary
Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
Verses 1-3. - (d) [Within the Praetorium.] The unjust scourging, and the crown of thorns. Verse 1. - Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. The force of the "therefore" may be seen in the foregoing observations (see especially Luke 23:23-25). He obviously fancied that the sight of their Victim's utter humiliation, his reduction to the lowest possible position, would sate their burning rage. Scourging was the ordinary preliminary of crucifixion, and it might be regarded as Pilate's verdict, or the conclusion of the whole matter. Roman and Greek historians confirm the custom (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 5:11.1; 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:14. 9; comp. Matthew 20:19; Luke 18:33) of scourging before crucifixion. It may have had a twofold motive - one to glut the desire of inflicting physical torment and ignominy, and another allied to the offer of anodyne, to hasten the final sufferings of the cross. But the governor clearly thought that he might, by first humoring the populace, in releasing Barabbas from his confinement, and then reducing to a political absurdity the charge of treason against Caesar, save the suffering Prisoner from further wrong. The morbid suggestion of a mind accustomed to gladiatorial shows, and to the sudden changes of feeling which ran through the amphitheatres at the sight of blood, not only reveals the incapacity of Pilate to understand the difference between right and wrong, but proves that he had not sounded the depth of Jewish fanaticism, nor understood the people he had been ordered to coerce. John uses the word ἐμαστίγωσεν, a purely Greek word. Matthew and Mark, who refer to the scourging which preceded Christ's being led to Calvary, use another official and technical word φραγελλώσας (identifiable with the Latin word flagellans). This does not require us to believe in two scourgings. Matthew and Mark simply refer to the scourging, which had been arbitrarily and informally inflicted, as John informs us, before the condemnation was pronounced. The Roman punishment flagellis inflicted hideous torture. "It was executed upon slaves with thin elm rods or straps having leaden balls or sharply pointed bones attached, and was delivered on the bent, bare, and tense back." The victim was fastened to a pillar for the-purpose, the like to which has actually been found by Sir C. Warren in a subterranean cavern, on the site of what Mr. Ferguson regards as the Tower of Antonia (Westcott). The flagellation usually brought blood with the first stroke, and reduced the back to a fearful state of raw and quivering flesh. Strong men often succumbed under it, while the indignity of such a proceeding in this case must have cut far deeper into the awful sanctuary of the Sufferer's soul.
And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
Verse 2. - Pilate then allowed the wounded and bruised man to be yet further and cruelly insulted by the Roman soldiers, who delighted in cruel play and coarse scorn. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe. The "gorgeous robe" which had been put upon Jesus by Herod had been probably taken' from him before he was brought the second time into the Praetorium, and necessarily before his scourging. Now, though it is called a "purple robe" by John, it was probably a cast-off toga of the Herodian court, in all likelihood it was the same garment which was thrown again around his fettered limbs, his bowed and bleeding form. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns; in imitation of the victor's wreath at a "triumph," rather than the coronet or diadem of a king. The material is believed by Winer, Hug, Luthardt, and Godet to be the Lycium spinosum, often found at Jerusalem, not the acanthus, whose leaves decorate our Corinthian columns. It is of flexible stem, and would be soon woven into a wreath, the spikes of which, when it was placed around that majestic head, would be driven into the flesh, and produce great agony.
And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.
Verse 3. - They kept on coming to him, and saying to him, in sportive mockery of his supposed Kingship, and utter scorn of the nation whose Messianic hope they derided, Hail, King of the Jews! They did a sham obeisance to him, having elected him, as Roman guards often did, an "imperator" on the field of battle. The offerings which they presented to him were not the kiss of homage, but ῤαπίσματα. They kept on offering him blows on the face, strokes with the hand or with rods (cf. John 18:22, note). Hengstenberg, recalling here (Matthew 27:29) that they put a reed in his hand, symbol of a scepter, supposes that he refused to hold it, in consequence of which they took it from him, and smote him with it. The awful indignity was a wondrous prophecy. Nay, from that very hour he began to reign. That crown of thorns has been more lasting than any royal diadem. Those cruel insults have been the title-deeds of his imperial sway, by which he has mastered the nations. He was wounded, bruised, for the iniquities of us all. The representatives of the outside world thus share expressly in the shame and ban by which the Hebrew theocracy is crushed, and the prince of this world is judged. "They know not what they do;" but Jew and Roman are guilty before God.
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.
Verses 4-7. - (e) [Without the Praetorium.] Further protestations by Pilate of Christ's innocence bring out the hitherto-concealed Jewish verdict that he had claimed to be the Son of God. Verse 4. - And Pilate, with grim insouciance, allows the mockery to take place, and then, with his poor derided sham-king at his side, he went forth again from the Praetorium to the public seat, where he kept up the conflict with the accusers and the ever-gathering crowd, and saith to them, with more of passion than before, imagining that this pitiable caricature of a king would reduce the cry of "Crucify him!" into some more moderate and less preposterous demand. Behold, I lead him forth to you, crowned, but bleeding, robed as a king, but humiliated to a condition worse than a slave, that ye may know that I find no crime in him; literally, no charge; i.e. no "crime." Pilate rims renews and varies his testimony to the character of the Holy One! He makes another fruitless appeal to the humanity and justice of the maddened mob. But what a revelation of Pilate's own weakness and shame! He can find no fault, but has connived at, nay, ordered, the worst part of this atrocious punishment. Keim would have us think that Pilate's anxiety to save a Jew is a mere invention made by the second-century fabricator. There is however, nothing incompatible with a Roman official's anxiety not to commit a judicial murder, for his own sake, and perhaps for the honor of his order. The hypothesis is irrational that the entire representation of Pilate's desire to screen or save Jesus from the malice of the Jews was a device of the author, due to his Gentile nationality and proclivities, anxious to put even the Roman officials in the best possible light. Surely Christians had no temptation to mitigate their judgments upon Rome at the time of the persecution under Marcus Antoninus. Thoma, like Strauss, finds the basis of the representation in the prophetic types of Isaiah 53. and Psalm 22.
Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
Verse 5. - Jesus then came forth, at Pilate's order, into some prominent position, wearing (φορέω, not φέρω), as a regular costume, the thorny crown, and the purple robe, and he (Pilate, from his judgment-seat) saith to them, as this hateful and tragic melodrama was being enacted, Behold the Man! ECCE HOMO! This was, doubtless, said to mitigate or allay their ferocity. "Let his simple humanity plead with you! After this surely you can desire no more." "The Man," rather than "the King." As Caiaphas did not know the enormous significance of his own dictum (John 11:50), so Pilate, from his purely secular position, did not appreciate the world-wide meaning of his own words. He did not know that he had at his side the Man of men, the perfect veritable Man, the unattainable Ideal of all humanity realized. He did not anticipate that that crown of thorns, that robe of simulated royalty, that sign of bloody agony, and these insults borne with sublime patience and ineffable love, were even then lifting Jesus to the throne of eternal memory and universal dominion; nor how his own words would be enshrined in art, and continue to the end of time a crystallization of the deepest emotion of the Church of God. The hymn of Gerhard expresses in thrilling tones the universal and perpetual feeling of all Christians-

"O Haupt veil Blur und Wunden
Voll schwerz und yeller Hohn!
O Haupt zum Sport gebunden
Mit ether Dornerkon!"
But the appeal to humanity was vain, and Pilate's momentary sentiment failed of its end. Not a voice in his favor broke the silence; but -
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.
Verse 6. - When then the chief priests and the officers saw him, they stifled every movement of possible sympathy by "loud harsh cries" (ἐκραύγασαν). They cried out, Crucify, crucify him! Scourging and mockery do not meet the case, nor exhaust the curse and the verdict they have already pronounced. He must die the doom of the vilest. He must be done to death as a slave. Pilate saith unto them, certainly not granting to them permission to take the law into their hands, irrespective of the Praetorian court and against his will, but in angry sarcasm, and with an unconcealed threat, Take him, ye yourselves, and crucify; that is, if you dare. Go, do your deed of blood by your own hands, take all the responsibility; for I find no crime in him. Pilate thus derides their powerlessness, and repeats his verdict of acquittal (see John 18:31). At this moment the so-called trial might have ended, so far as Pilate was concerned, with a frank and immediate release. It would seem as though the governor had decided, and there could be no more discussion. But -
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
Verse 7. - The Jews answered him, ready with an expedient which hitherto they had not ventured to try upon the Roman official. It might have met with the kind of reception which Gallio gave to the accusers of Sosthenes in the Corinthian court. He might have driven them at point of spear or whip from the judgment-seat. "The Jews' here mentioned, rather than "the chief priests and officers" of the previous verse, for the multitude - by some other spokesmen than they - exclaim, We have a law, and according to that (the) law he ought to die; whatever you may have made of the charge of political treason. In full session of our Sanhedrin, he made himself, represented himself, as something more than Caesar, nay, more than man, as Son of God. "King of Jews" was a usurpation of the Messianic dignity; but he had claimed, in their very hearing, to be more than a national leader. He raised himself to the position of being "Jehovah's King upon his holy hill," to whom Jehovah had sworn, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee;" "Son of God" as well as "King of Israel." Pilate would not and could not understand this strange "testimony to the truth;" and the people were now in a more angry and excited state than ever, and appealed to the law of their own code (Leviticus 24:16), which denounced death upon the blasphemer. This charge was just unless the claim was true. If Christ had not been to his own inmost consciousness what he said he was, the Sanhedrin was in the right; and, according to law, he was guilty of death. It is here vastly interesting to see another indication of relation between the synoptic narrative and the Fourth Gospel. Though John passed ever the scenes before the Sanhedrin, and the circumstance that Christ had been actually there doomed because he had made there no secret of his Divine claims, and declared himself to be a king in a higher sense than Pilate dreamed; yet John has given clear proof that he was well aware of the confession, and records the still more striking tact that this special claim of supreme prerogative actually came to the ears and before the judgment-seat of Rome.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
Verses 8-11. - (f) [Within the Praetorium.] The fear of Pilate, and the apportionment of the measures of guilt by the majestic Sufferer. Verse 8. - When therefore Pilate heard this word he was more afraid, implying that John had seen all along that some element of "fear" had moved Pilate, and that now it was augmented. Superstition goes hand in hand with skepticism. Instead of this being (as Keim says) contrary to psychologic laws, the history of skepticism is constantly presenting the same features (cf. Herod Antipas the Sadducee, who would dogmatically have repudiated the idea of resurrection, crying out concerning Jesus, "It is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead," etc.). We need not suppose that Pilate was suddenly affected by the truth of Jewish monotheism; but he may readily have believed that the wondrous Being before him was enshrouded in a mystery of supernatural portent and pretension that he could not fathom, and before which he trembled. The idea of Divine energy enshrined in and wielded by human beings was not altogether foreign to heathen thought - and one centurion, at least, who was probably present on this very occasion, exclaimed that Jesus was a Son of God (Matthew 27:54).
And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Verse 9. - And he entered the Praetorium again (Jesus following him), and he saith to Jesus, Whence art thou? but Jesus gave him no answer. Almost all commentators reject the old explanation of the question of Pilate given by Paulus, that he simply asked Jesus of his birthplace or his home. The governor was disturbed, and ready to suspect that he had on his hands some supernatural Being whom no cross could destroy - some mysterious half-human, half-Divine creature, such as filled the popular literature; and, without any spiritual insight on his own side, he enticed Jesus to give him his confidence, and entrust to his keeping some of the secret of his origin, and the source of the bitter antagonism to his claims. There was fear, curiosity, and great desire for his own sake to save the suffering Man from the clutches of his enemies. "Whence art thou? Hast thou indeed made this claim? Best thou call thyself Son of God? that God is thy proper Father; that thou art coming in the glory of heaven; that thou, in thy purple robe and bleeding form, art already seated on thy throne of judgment?" Surely all this was really conveyed by the question, for we cannot suppose that "the Jews" confined themselves to the laconic recital of the charge as here recorded. The silence of Jesus is very impressive, and we, in our ignorance, can only vaguely say what it meant. Very numerous explanations are offered. Luthardt's idea, that Christ would not give an answer which would have the effect of preventing Pilate, in his agitated state, from giving the order for his crucifixion, is stagey and unreal. Moreover, it is bound up with very questionable ethic, and suggests that Jesus is answerable for the awful sin of Pilate, from which, by a word, he might have saved him. We admit that at any moment the Lord could, if he had chosen, have smitten his foes with blindness, or delivered himself from their malice by passing through them (cf. John 12:59). They would all have fallen to the earth if he had glanced at them as he had done upon the Roman guard in Gethsemane upon that very band of men who were now so busy in wiping out the stain of their momentary panic. On other occasions, when his hour of self-deliverance and self-devotion to the Father's will had not arrived, he discomfited his enemies; but now his hour had come, and he did not shrink. All this is true, but it does not account for the refusal to answer a question like this. Doubtless the silence was as expressive as speech, and even less likely to be misunderstood. He could not have denied that he was "Son of God." He could not have affirmed it without leading Pilate to put human and heathen notions into it. But could not he, who is infinite wisdom incarnate, have given an answer which would have avoided both dangers? That, however, is practically what he did effect. The prophetic picture had foretold of him, that "like a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth;" and the previous silences of Jesus before Annas, and before the false witnesses, before Caiaphas, and Pilate himself, and before Herod, are all governed by the same rule - a refusal to save himself from malignant falsity, or tricky design, or conspicuously lying charges; but when challenged to say whether he was the Christ, whether he was the Son of God, whether he was a King, he gave the answers needed. There was some likeness between the spirit of Herod, Caiaphas, and the false witnesses, and of Pilate's "Whence art thou?" which did not deserve an affirmative answer. The governor, who had scourged and insulted an apparently defenseless man, at the very moment when he was proclaimed innocent, and now was afraid of what he had done, came into the category of the slayers of the silent Lamb. But to the next inquiry, which went down to the depths of his heart, and revealed the utter unspirituality and self-ignorance which needed response, a wondrous reply was given.
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?
Verse 10. - Therefore saith Pilate to him; nettled by this silence, and with the arrogance of a Roman procurator, Speakest thou net to me? "I do not wonder at your silence before that malignant crowd, but to me your refusal to speak is inexplicable." He did not appear to desire genuine information, nor was his conscience touched by reflecting upon the hateful mistake he had made. "The ἐμοί bears the emphasis of mortified power, which attempts even then to terrify and entice" (Meyer). Archdeacon Watkins says well, "Pilate is true to the vacillating character which now, as man, trembles before One who may be a being from the other world, and now as Roman governor expects that Being to tremble before him." Knowest thou not that I have authority (ἐξουσίαν) to release thee; and that I have authority to crucify thee? Pilate scoffingly assumes supreme authority of life and death, He virtually says, "I am the judge; you are the accused criminal. I am your master, and the master of the Jews; you are absolutely in my power." This, then, was another moment of critical and intense interest, and of tremendous temptation from the prince of this world. The destiny of the Church, of Christianity, and of the world might seem to be trembling in the balance. A single glance, a single word of admission or pleading, a gesture of deference, or merely human confidence, or gentle flattery, to say nothing of the exercise of the very power by which the Lord had erewhile spell-bound his captors, or paralyzed the arms which meant to stone him, and the whole history of the world (judged from human and historical standpoints) would have been utterly different. But the same Christ who would not accept the help of daemons, nor ascend from the mountain of Transfiguration to his native and primeval home, nor at any time work a miracle for the supply of his merely personal need, uttered the memorable words -
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.
Verse 11. - Thou wouldst not have authority against me of any kind, either judicial or actual, or both combined: thou wouldst hold no judicial position which I or others could recognize, nor wouldst thou have the faintest power to proceed against me unless, etc. Here our Lord points to the great doctrine which Paul afterwards expressed (Romans 13:1) about the powers that be, and hints that every circumstance and event which led to Pilate's occupancy of that judgment-seat, or which in recent times had delivered up the people of the Lord to the authority of Rome, and prepared for the occupancy of the Praetorium by Pontius Pilate himself, was altogether beyond the range of his judge's spontaneity and competency. Unless it were given thee from above (ἄνωθεν). He does not say, "from my Father," or "from God" - phrases which would have been incomprehensible to a skeptical heathen; but "from above," from that Divine providential source of all power which rules all. The Lord thus implies the Divine legitimation of the judicial rank of Pilate; and the fact that his continuous occupancy of it was a talent revocable in a moment by the hand that gave it, and that all the exercise of his so-called ἐξουσία was dependent on his supreme will. For this cause he that delivered me up to thee. Though Judas is continually described as παραδούς (John 18:2; John 13:2; John 11:21; John 12:4; John 6:64-71), yet we have already seen that the act of Judas had been endorsed by the people, and by the Sanhedrin, who now by their highest official representative had "delivered" him up to Pilate (John 18:35, note), betrayed him with murderous intention to the power which could not merely excommunicate, but could kill by judicial process. Our Lord may either refer to Caiaphas (Bengel, Meyer, Luthardt) or to the Sanhedrin and people as a whole (Godet). Hath greater sin. "Because the initiative has been taken by him, and irrespective of thee; because thy power, such as it is over me, is a Divine arrangement, made irrespective of thy will; and the whole of this proceeding has been forced upon thee against thy better judgment." Nevertheless, he implies that Pilate has sinned: he was exercising his seeming judicial rights irrespective of justice. He had declared Jesus to be free from blame or charge in open court, but he had nevertheless submitted the innocent Sufferer to the utmost wrong; but he that delivered Christ-to Pilate had done so out of willful ignorance, and was sinning against light and knowledge. Caiaphas might have recognized Christ's true Messiahship, and accepted his true claims, and bowed before him as the Sent of God, as the Son of the Blessed; but instead of this he had violated the law, and sacrificed the hope and spiritual independence of his own people, out of deference to the sacrosanct honors of his own order. Pilate's consciousness of independence is rebuked, and his conscience appealed to, and the Lord, in this last word to his judge, claims to be his Suzerain, and awards to him his share of blame. Pilate said to the Jews, "I find no fault in him;" Jesus said to Pilate, "Thou hast committed a great sin, though there is another God-given ἔξουσια, which is more seriously and culpably trifled with than thine is: he that delivered me to thee hath committed a greater."
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.
Verses 12-16. - (g) Pilate vanquished by his selfish fears, and judgment given. Verse 12. - Upon this [Revised Version (ἐκ τούτου); not from this moment, or "henceforth," as in the English Version, but in consequence of this statement and apportionment of blame, and not from any appreciation on Pilate's part of the Divine Sonship which Jesus had admitted without further definition] - upon this Pilate sought (imperfect tense, suggesting repetition and incompleteness in the act) to release him. We are not told by what means, and we have no right to introduce the additional notion of "peremptorily," or "the more," but that he made some further steps in the direction of resistance to the will of "the Jews." Baur and others think that the author is, from doctrinal grounds by mere fabrication, emphasizing the hostility of the Jews, and prolonging the agony of a vain attempt. Every one of these vivid touches impresses us with the unintentional indication of the eye-witness. Probably the governor proceeded to give the order of release; beckoned his body-guard to remove our Lord to a place of safety, and took some obvious steps to screen him from the malice and envy of his tormentors. But the Jews, catching sight of the process, and imagining some maneuver to baulk them of their prey, revealed a spirit that has sometimes, but rarely, disgraced humanity: they dropped their religious plea, they smothered their affected loyalty for their ancient Law, and, having no further charge to bring against Jesus, hid their most intense hatred of Roman rule by assuming the mask of loyal subjection to Tiberius and to the majesty of the Caesar. They endeavored to work upon the fears of Pilate, who knew perfectly well that his position and life were at jeopardy if the matter stood as they pretended. With unscrupulous abandonment of all their patriotic boasts, the men who hated Rome and were perpetually plotting against the imperial power, exclaimed (ἐκραύγασαν, shouted with harsh loud yells of bitter hate, that κραύγη rang for half a century in the ears of the loved and faithful disciple), If thou release this Man, thou art not Caesar's friend. The friendship and confidence of Caesar was the title in their hearts to an unresting hatred and loathing; yet they are cunning enough to know that Tiberius was jealous of his own authority, and no charge was so fatal to a Roman procurator as crimen majestatis (Tacitus, 'Ann.,' 3:38). Amiens Caesaris was a title of honor given to provincial governors, and sometimes to allies of the Caesar; but (as Alford, Meyer, and Westcott think) on this occasion it was used in wider sense, and was capable of a mere deadly emphasis. Every one who maketh himself a king speaketh against (declares himself opposed to, rebels against) Caesar. As if that was likely to distress these maddened fanatics; and as if the very charge had not been already deliberately laughed to scorn by both Herod and Pilate. There was a Man who said he was a King, and Pilate was guilty of misprision of treason. Pilate's political history aggravated his fears. His relations with the emperor were not satisfactory (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 18:03. 1,2; 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:09. 2-4; cf. Luke 13:1), and his knowledge of the power of these Jews to renew partisan and patriotic charges against him was now a very serious danger.
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.
Verse 13. - When Pilate therefore heard these words, or, sayings his fear of Tiberius became greater than his fear of Christ; his anxiety for himself predominated over his desire for justice and fair play. He found he had gone too far. Some commentators and harmonists here introduce the "hand-washing" (see above, John 18:40); but such a proceeding at this moment, when he was straightening up his back for the last act of injustice, would have roused fresh and dangerous charges against his personal honor. He brought Jesus out from the Praetorium to a place in view of the peoples and sat down (not, as some say, caused Jesus, in mockery, to take his place upon the judgment-seat (κάθιζω has the transitive sense in 1 Corinthians 6:4 and Ephesians 1:20, but not in John; and undoubtedly it has the intransitive sense, not only in John, but in Acts 25:6, 17. Moreover, the mockery was the act of the soldiery and of Herod's men of war, not of Pilate). It is remarkable, as Dr. James Drummond (Theological Review, 1877) points out, that Justin Martyr ('Apol.,' 1:35) apparently refers to this supposed transitive usage of κάθιζω in this very connection by John, by the words, Διασύροντες αὐτὸν ἐκάθισον ἐπὶ βήματος καὶ εϊπον κρῖνον ἡμῖν. It is reasonable inference that Justin read John's Gospel, and supposed him to give transitive force to the verb (see Dr. Salmon, 'Introduction to New Testament,' p. 89, note). Upon the judgment-seat in a place called λιθόστρθτον, the tessellated Pavement - equivalent to "stone-joining" - in which Romans delighted from the days of Sulla; a decoration which Julius Caesar carried about with him (Suet., 'Vit.,' 46.) for purposes of judgment - but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. This was probably an elevated and fixed platform overlooking the temple-courts, or joining the Castle of Antonia with the temple. Its etymology is גַּב־בִיתָא, the ridge of the house or temple. Ewald has endeavored to find in the word the root קָבַּע, Aramaic for "insert," modified into גָּעָ, and then to suppose that we have here an exact equivalent to λιθόστρωτον; but where this word occurs in the LXX. it is the equivalent of the Hebrew רָצַפ, Song of Solomon 3:10. The λιθόστρωτον was possibly some elevated seat reached by a flight of stairs, and in the open air, not the bema within the Praetorium, where the more private conversations took place.
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
Verse 14. - Now it was the preparation of the Passover. Once more the question of the discrepancy between the Johannine and synoptic implication of the day of our Lord's death reappears. This statement is claimed eagerly by both classes of critics. Hengstenberg, M'Clellan, Lange, Schaff, etc., all urge that the word "preparation" is simply the "Friday" before the sabbath - "the eve of the sabbath," and that τοῦ Πάσχα is added in the broad Johannine sense of the entire Paschal festival, and means the "Friday" of the Passover week, and that thus John only confirms the synoptic narrative that the Passover had been sacrificed on the previous evening. To this it is replied, by Meyer, Godet, Westcott, Farrar, etc., that this use of παρασκευή belongs to a much later period, and here it is used in the sense of the "preparation" for the Paschal meal, without interfering with the fact afterwards mentioned, that it was the pro-sabbaton, the day before the sabbath; the first day of unleavened bread coinciding with the ordinary weekly sabbath. The τοῦ πάσχα here would have no meaning for a reader, who had not learned this technical and later patristic usage. Why should not John, on that understanding, have simply used the word in the sense which the synoptists give to it, as equivalent to the προσάββατον? [There is another difficulty in the former interpretation: if our Lord was crucified on the first day of unleavened bread and after the Paschal meal, there would be a second preparation of the Passover on that day week, so that John could not have spoken of it with the precision which he used (see notes on John 13:1; 18:28).] The balance of argument, so far as John is concerned, is in favor of the Passover meat being still in prospect, and the statement is made to call attention to the fact that, as St. Paul said, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." Thus doubtless the blindness of the Jews is aggravated, and the typical and symbolic meaning of the correspondence between the ritual and its antitype emphasized. Another serious perplexity occurs. It was about the sixth hour. This is in manifest opposition with Mark's statement (Mark 15:25) that the Crucifixion took place at the third hour, and with all three of the synoptists, that the supernatural darkness overspread Jerusalem from the sixth to the ninth hour. This is represented as taking place after our Lord had been hanging for some time upon the cross. Some relief to this great difficulty of horology is found in the slight modification of the text from ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη of T.R. to ὥρα η΅ν ὥς ἕκτη, which may suffer the reading of Lange ("es war gegen die"), "it was going on towards the sixth hour" - the third hour, 9 a.m., was passed, and it was moving on to midday. Westcott, in an elaborate note on John's measurement of time, endeavors to prove that he always uses the Roman system of measure from midnight to midday, instead of the Oriental method of measurement from sunrise to sunset, and that he meant by the sixth hour 6 a.m., not 12 midday. But if this is possible, the perplexity is rather increased than diminished. It is difficult to imagine that this stage of the proceedings could have been reached by six o'clock a.m., and that three hours still followed before the Lord was crucified. M'Clellan hotly espouses this interpretation, and, against Farrar, maintains that the Romans did adopt this computation, by quotations from Censorinus ('De Die Nat.,' 23.), Pithy ('Nat. Hist.,' 2:77), Aulus Gellius, and Maerobius; and he reminds his readers that John wrote in Ephesus, and proves that there was an Asiatic computation of time which corresponded with the Roman, and that there is abundant time before 6 a.m. for all that is needed to have taken place. This is the interpretation of Townson ('Discourses on the Four Gospels'), and it is espoused by Cresswell, Wieseler, Ewald, Westcott, Moulton. Coder, however, gives strong proof, on John 1:39, that the Greeks of Asia Minor were familiar with the Jewish reckoning from sunrise to sunset (see notes on John 1:39; 4:6; 11:9). Eusebius supposed an alteration of the text of John, converting Γ = 3 into ς = 6. It is strange that no manuscripts have revealed the fact, though the third correcter of א and the supplement to D suggest this early solution of the difficulty. Eusebius was followed by Ammonius and Severus of Antioch. Beza, Bengel, and Alford with hesitation accept this conclusion. Luthardt, Farrar, and Schaff seem inclined to think that this may be the explanation, unless the ὡς be used with great latitude of meaning, and that what is really intended was that it was moving on to midday. The nine o'clock had been passed. Luthardt is dissatisfied with every explanation, not simply because it is inconsistent with the synoptic narrative, but because it is incompatible with John's own reckoning. Hengstenberg thought that the division of the day into four periods of three hours each is far older than either the Talmud or Maimonides (cf. Mark 13:35; Luke 12:38; Matthew 20:3, 4), and that the synoptic narrative reckoned by the terminus a quo, which, taken literally, would be too early for the act of crucifixion, and that John's reckoning points to the terminus ad quem, which, taken literally, would be too late. M'Clellan thinks this "outrageous!" though Andrewes, Lewin, Ellicott, and Lange practically adopt it. Augustine says, "At the third hour (Mark) he was crucified by the tongues of the Jews, at the sixth hour (John) by the hands of the soldiers." Da Costa suggested that the sixth hour was reckoned backward from 3 p.m., the commencement of the preparation. Mark, by using the aorist, cannot have intended to convey that the whole process of crucifixion, commencing with the scourging, including the procession to Golgotha, and the last scene of all, was included in the verb. (Hesychius argued this view at length, saying that Mark refers to the verdict of Pilate, and John to the nailing to the cross.) At the hour, thus indicated by a term which cannot be finally interpreted, Pilate, trembling with rage and impotent fury, endeavored to fling at the head of the haughty priesthood another maddening taunt, and yet with a flash of inward conviction which, after all, staggered him: he pointed once more to the sublime Sufferer, bleeding from his wounds and crowned with thorns, having every mark upon him of their insulting cruelty and insensate hate, wearing the mock and cruel habiliments of royalty, and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! There is the King whom you have crowned, and whose claim lies altogether beyond your ken. Wavering between the favor of Tiberius and the claims of justice, remembering that Sejanus, to whom he had personally owed his own appointment, had already been a victim to the jealousy of their common master, he yet cannot suppress the bitter taunt involved in Ἴδε ὁ Βασιλεὺς ὑμῶν
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.
Verses 15, 16. - They on the other hand therefore yelled out, Away with him! away with (him)! Crucify him! The aorists, α΅ρον σταύρωσον, imply the haste and impatience which they manifest to have done with the conflict; and Pilate, eager to thrust another envenomed dagger into the heart of their pride, and knowing that to call this Man whom he had made vile in their eyes their "KING," and to crucify One to whom such a title could be given would be gall and wormwood to them, cried, with flashing anger, Shall I crucify your King? This wrung forth from them a cry which expressed the uttermost and basest abandonment of all their proud boasts, a heartless and fateful acknowledgment of their servility and dependence. The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar! Our Messianic hope is dead, our national independence is at an end, our witness as a people to truth, our listening to the voice which would have gathered us together, are over. As before they had shouted, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!" so now, "Not the Lord of glory, but the damon lord of Rome; not this King of kings, but Tiberius Augustus et Dominus sacratissimus noster." In renouncing Christ by the lips of their chief priests, they put themselves under the power of the prince of this world, and terribly they answered for their crime. "They elected Caesar to be their king; by Caesar they were destroyed" (Lampe). Their theocracy fell by their mad rage against the perfect embodiment of the highest righteousness and purest love. "The kingdom of God, by the confession of its rulers, has become the kingdom of this world." How terribly symptomatic of the perpetual resistance of his claims by all those who deliberately reject his authority! "We have no king but fashion! .... We have no king but mammon!" "We have no king but the leader of our clique!" "We have no king but pleasure!" "We have no king but our royal selves!" - are voices not infrequently heard even now. This cry was too much for Pilate; he wavered, paltered with justice, vented his insolence and pride, knew better and did the thing which he felt to be base. "He who had often prostituted justice was now utterly unable to achieve the one act of justice which he desired. He who had so often murdered pity was now forbidden to taste the sweetness of a pity for which he longed" (Farrar). Then therefore he delivered him to them, in order that he might be crucified. "IBIS AD CRUCEM. I MILES EXPEDI CRUCEM," were the awful words in which he would deliver his judgment and secure an everlasting execration. He delivered up Jesus unto them; for they, though not the positive hands by which the foul deed was done, were the sole inciting causes of the act. Luke, as well as John, involves this idea, and Peter (Acts 2:23) says, "Ye slew him, crucifying him by the hands of lawless men," and (Acts 3:15) "Ye killed the Prince of Life." Yet they were profoundly anxious for his death by Roman crucifixion, not only because thus they were impelled to fulfill the great prophecy and confirm the words of the blessed Lord himself, but because they wished to stamp out in disgrace and shame all his claims; because they wished that the supreme court, the heathen and corrupting power, should dash down to earth and defile this idol of some of the people and even some of their own number; because they wished to deliver themselves from the responsibility of the act, and to avoid being called to give an account to Rome of their judicial murder; and in the act itself they wished to have a Roman guard to prevent an escape and quell an emeute. The school of Tübingen endeavor to invalidate the Johannine portraiture of Pilate, and to ascribe its fictitious creation in the second century to a desire then rampant, to charge upon the Jews all the blame of the act, and to exhibit Pilate as a symbol of the sympathy which the Gentile world was extending to Christianity and the Church. The persecutions which prevailed from the days of Nero, Domitian, and Trajan, to those of the Antonines, rebuke such a supposition. Moreover, the synoptic narrative is equally explicit with St. John in setting forth the sympathy of Pilate, or rather his desire to release Jesus (Matthew 27:14 and 18, 17-23, 24; Mark 15:8-10; Luke 23:13-22). Luke tells us that Peter charges the guilt of the Crucifixion upon the Jews (Acts 2:23; Acts 3:15; cf. James 5:6; Revelation 11:8). The explanation of Pilate's conduct and of his final despicable act is given only in John's Gospel; and even Reuss admits that we have in John "the true key of the problem" (see Coder, in loc., vol. 3. pp. 260-263).
Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
Verses 17-24. -

(4) THE CRUCIFIXION. Love unto the uttermost. Verses 17, 18. - (a) The circumstances of the death. Verse 17. - Therefore they took (received) Jesus from the hands of the Gentile, leading the way in their accursed procession, gloating over their Victim. Παρέλαβον reminds us (Westcott) of the παρέλαβον, (John 1:11), where it is said, "His own received him not." They did not receive him in the fullness of his grace, but they did receive him to inflict the curse and shame and death for which they had plotted and clamored. This powerful suggestion is brought out by the amended text. At this point, when the sacred Sufferer left the Praetorium and was dragged into the rush of the vociferating crowd, the synoptic narrative becomes far fuller in detail. The terrible tragedy in-eludes the disrobing. The bleeding form is once more clothed with his own garments (Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20). It is not necessary to suppose a second scourging (see ver. 1). The circumstance mentioned (Luke 23:26 and parallel passages) of Simon of Cyrene made to bear his cross after him, shows how Jesus in his human nature had suffered already. A second scourging (if we judge by all we can gather of such an infliction) would have been followed by immediate death, and would thus have snatched from them the realization of their inhuman purpose. The statement that, bearing his cross for himself, he went forth, shows that they tried to force him thus in his agony to endure this additional humiliation, and, from his physical exhaustion, were compelled to make use of the expedient described by the synoptists. Mark (Mark 15:22) introduces another most suggestive word, φέρουσιν αὐτὸν, literally, "they carry him" from the place where they compelled (ἀγγαρεύουσιον) Simon to take up his cross, and at least he hints, if he does not express, the terrible fact that they had, by their fell cruelty of all kinds, at length exhausted all the human physical strength of the Sufferer. John's language, though at first sight discrepant with Luke's, really explains it. Luke also describes the wailing of the daughters of Jerusalem, and the sublime self-forgetfulness with which Jesus turned their thoughts from his agony to themselves and their children. Matthew and Mark both relate another scene, which seems as if one gleam of pity had crossed some heart - "They offered him wine, mixed with narcotic gall," to stupefy his senses, and lull his physical agony. He did not put it by "with suicidal hand;" but, as Keble sang -

"Thou wilt feel all, that thou mayst pity all;
And rather wouldst thou wrestle with strong pain
Than overcloud thy soul,
So clear in agony,
Or lose no glimpse of heaven before the time."

(Christian Year.') He went forth to a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha. "He went forth" from the Praetorium along the Via Dolorosa, wheresoever it was, beyond the city wall (Hebrews 13:12, etc., "He suffered without the gate"). Moses had forbidden (Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:35) capital punishment within the camp (cf. 1 Kings 21:13; Acts 7:58). The traditional site of the place is far within the present walls in the north-western quarter of the city, not far from the gate of Damascus; and endless discussions have prevailed with respect to the line of the second city wall, which at that time must either have included or excluded the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The identification of the site of Golgotha is rendered difficult from the eagerness with which theories have been sustained.

(1) Ferguson's theory is that Constantine's" Church of the Resurrection" is to be found in the 'dome of the rock' in the temple enclosure! He urges that the tradition was moved thence to the "Church of the Holy Sepulcher" in the eleventh century, when Fatimite kaliphs drove the Christians away, and persecuted the pilgrims to such an extent as to produce the reaction of the Crusades.

(2) The ecclesiastical theory is that the tomb and all the awful and blessed associations are to be reckoned for somewhere within the buildings or ruins of the present church. The difficulties are great; for, instead of being "without the gate," or "nigh the city," it is situated in the heart of the present city, and it is very difficult to imagine or trace any line of wall which could have run in such a way as to exclude the supposed site of the tomb from the city.

(3) A modern theory (see 'Survey of Palestine') finds the tomb in the immediate vicinity of Jeremiah's grotto, to the north of the Damascus gate. This site has good claims, from the probability

(a) that it was the place of public execution;

(b) that the second wall of the city did correspond with the present wall;

(c) that there are reasons to think that it was built over and concealed from view until comparatively recent years.

Warren and Conder give a drawing of the tomb and its arrangement, which sustains the probability that it is the tomb once hallowed by the most stupendous event in the history of the world. Robinson said, "The place was probably upon a great road leading from one of the gates, and such a spot would only be found upon the west or north side of the city, on the roads leading to Joppa or Damascus." The word "Gulgotha" or "Gulgaltha" is the Aramaic (cf. Syriac Gagulta) form of Gulgolath, Hebrew for "skull," and may derive its name from the form of the mound or bare place where was the garden in which the rock-hewn tomb of Joseph had been excavated. The Vulgate translates the word Calvaria, a skull, from which our word "Calvary" is derived. The English version in Luke 23:33 thus translates the Greek word κρανίον, and from this passage the word has been naturalized in our language. There is no authority for the appellation "Mount Calvary." The name probably refers to the shape of the site where the event took place. From this verse we learn that Jesus went forth to the spot, and (John 19:20) John further says it was "nigh unto the city," therefore not within it. The same position relative to the city is obvious from Matthew 28:11, where the Roman guard came from the tomb εἰς τὴν πόλιν. The Romans were accustomed to execute their criminals in some conspicuous position, adjoining a traveled road, so that those passing by, as well as those who congregated for the purpose, might know and learn its meaning. They reached the chosen spot -
Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
Verse 18. - Where they crucified him. As John barely mentions this awful climax of his Gospel, it is not needful here to enlarge upon the heartrending details of this hideous process, one which Cicero described as "crudelissimum,teterrimum,summum supplicium," one from which no Roman citizen could suffer, and which was reserved for the most ignominious and degraded of mankind - for traitors, brigands, and condemned slaves. It is sufficient to say that, from the mention of the ἐπιγραφὴ ἐπ αὐτῷ (Luke 23:38), the cross was not simply of the T shape called crux commissa, but rather (Luthardt and Zockler) of the familiar shape + and termed crux immissa, upon the upper arm of which the title or accusation, which had been placed round his neck, was affixed. The victim of this punishment was stripped, laid on the central bar, and the arms attached by ropes to the transverse beam, the hands and feet fastened with huge iron nails to the wood. A sedile was arranged to bear a portion of the weight of the body, which would never have been sustained by the gaping wounds. The cross was then raised by the executioners, and thrust with a fierce jerk into the hole or socket prepared for it. There was nothing in this inhuman torture necessarily to occasion death. The sufferers often lingered for twelve hours, and sometimes for several days, dying at last of thirst, starvation, and utterly intolerable agony. The Romans generally left the bodies to be devoured by birds of prey; the Jews buried the corpses. Constantine I., after his conversion, out of reverence for the Lord whom he had chosen, abolished the punishment, which, far more terrible than one by wild beasts or fire, has never been renewed, and rarely practiced in Europe since that day. There, then, these Jews, by the hands of lawless men, by Roman executioners, "crucified the Lord of glory," and by their hideous insensibility to goodness, by judicial blindness, bigotry, envy, and pride, not knowing the infinite crime they were committing, offered up a sacrifice, slew the Lamb of God, killed a Passover of transcendent price. That torture-tree has become his throne, and the very symbol of all that is most sacred and awe-inspiring in the entire region of human thought. They did not by this gross and inconceivable wickedness bring their rage to its full satisfaction; for they crucified two other with men with him either side one (ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐντεῦθεν, an expression only found in this passage and Revelation 22:2), and Jesus in the midst, most prominent in this tragedy, and exalted to what they believed was the very pinnacle of shame. The synoptic narrative has told us these two men were "robbers" (λῃσταί, not κλεπταί) or (κακοῦργοι) "malefactors," who, according to their own confession, were "suffering the due reward of their deeds." For a while both these dying ruffians tried to add torment to their quiet and patient fellow-Sufferer. Luke's account of the change that came over one of them as the awful hours rolled on is one of the sublimest portents that attended the Crucifixion. John passes this well-known incident by, most obviously supplementing the synoptists' narrative with matter which they had omitted. It is strange that John, if he had simply a theological purpose in his selection of facts, should have omitted the sublime prayer, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34), a revelation of compassion, power, inward agony, blended with Divine prerogative and unspeakable tranquility, which has done so much to reveal "the heart of Christ," the essence and character of the living God.
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
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.
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.
Verse 20. - This title therefore many of the Jews read: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh unto the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Roman (Latin), and in Greek. The word Ἑβραῖστί occurs four times in this Gospel and twice in the Revelation, and nowhere else in the New Testament. Codex B reads Ῥωμαῖστι first. The Latin form of the trilingual inscription may very naturally have been placed at the top. The reference to this peculiarity of the inscription as also given by Luke, in T.R., is there omitted by Tischendorf (8th edit.), Tregelles, Westcott and Herr, and R.T., M'Clellan, and others; it looks as if the reading had been borrowed from John, or rather from the spurious 'Acts of Pilate,' with which it verbally agrees. The proclamation of Christ's royalty to the three great divisions of the civilized world is a providential fact of supreme interest. Thousands of Jews would carry the news of the mysterious "title" to far-off places, and ponder it in their homes. This was part of the preparation made by Divine providence for announcing to the whole world the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Since the cross from the very first thus became a throne, and the Crucifixion an installation into the kingdom, we learn thence the meaning of the Christian principle, "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him."
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.
Verse 21. - Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate. They must have hurried back to him with petulant resentment of his intentional scorn. Observe the very unusual phrase, "the chief priests of the Jews," as though the priesthood felt the connection between the priesthood and kingship of the theocratic people, and it gave additional sting to the sarcastic reproach involved in the inscription. Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. They resented the association of the theocratic or Messianic symbol with the spiritual Being whom they had condemned. Had they not already declared that they had no king but Caesar? Doubtless he said, "I am the King of the Jews;" he made the claim, not in a sense which could be rationally entertained in a Roman court, but in the true Messianic and prophetic sense. The priests knew perfectly well that because Jesus had altogether refused, Heir of David though he was, to entertain the Kingship in the only sense in which they desired to proclaim it, they had rebelled against him and rejected his claims. For Pilate to have given any color to the purely spiritual prerogative of their Victim roused their remonstrance, but that it might be treated as identification of the national cause with a convicted and crucified felon exasperated them.
Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
Verse 22. - Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. And he curtly dismissed them. Pilate no longer dreaded their making his apparent favor to Jesus into a complaint to the emperor, and he gave way to the indomitable temper of which Philo accuses him. He found grim satisfaction in insulting and browbeating them for a moment, {Ο γέγραφα γέγραφα. "I said it, and I meant it; I have crucified your King; yes, true King in his own sense, but not in yours. You have falsely charged him with rebelling against Caesar, and you know that you have lied to my face. Let be; he is your King, and so perish all your futile attempts to shatter the arm that holds you now in its grasp." That and more was condensed in this haughty and obstinate reply. While this was going on in the Praetorium, the tragedy was proceeding at Golgotha; and St. John now returns thither, and describes an event of intense interest which occurred, as all synoptists say, at the very time of the elevation of the cross. John, however, has further facts and symbolic detail to append which were omitted by them.
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.
Verses 23, 24. - (c) The seamless garment. Verse 23. - Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, and Luke 23:34 all mention that the soldiers took his garments (ἱμάτια), and divided them according to the ordinary custom followed at executions amongst themselves. These were the head-dress, the large outer robe with its girdle, the sandals, one taking one thing and another another, and each evangelist added that the soldiers cast lots upon the garments, as to who should take which. As these garments may have been of varied value, the lot may have been required; but John, in his narrative, throws fresh light upon this latter and humiliating act. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part. This shows that a quaternion of soldiers, and not the "whole band," had been told off for the infernal deed. Pilate knew now that there was no need of an army to keep the people from popular insurrection. The rest of the garrison were not far off, should they be required; moreover, the servants of the high priest were ready to act on an emergency; but John adds, And also the coat (the χιτών, the לְבּושׁ); the long vesture which clothed his whole person, reaching from the neck to the feet, and which, when removed, left the sacred body naked. This had probably not been removed by either tiered or Pilate before, and the cursed indignity thus reached its climax (Hengstenberg; cf. Job 24:7-10). Now the coat was without seam from the top - from the upper portions - woven throughout (δι ὅλου, an adverbial form) - woven, possibly, by the mother who loved him, and corresponding with the dress of the priests. Keim and Thorns see here "a symbolizing of Jesus as the High Priest" (see Holman Hunt's celebrated picture the "Light of the World"). Certainly John saw the Lord in his glory with a garment of the kind (woven of radiant light, and reaching to the feet, Revelation 1.). The unity of the Savior's seamless vesture has been variously treated in patristic literature: as symbolic of the unity of natures in his Person, by the Monephysites; and by Cyprian ('De Unitate Ecclesiae,' § 7) in his conflict with Novatianists, as symbolic of the unity of the Church, and he actually builds on it his dictum, "He cannot possess the garment of Christ who parts and divides the Church of Christ." This garment could not be conveniently divided.
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.
Verse 24. - They said therefore to one another, Let us not rend it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be. How obviously we have the eye-witness again, and the observation of one whose whole heart was bleeding with unutterable anguish! Here is the true explanation of the "lot" referred to by the synoptists, and moreover a subsequent reflection of the evangelist, who saw once more a realization of the prophetic picture of the ideal Sufferer at his last extremity of reproach and humiliation. He quotes almost verbally from the LXX., That the Scripture might be fulfilled (which saith), They parted my garments among them (to themselves), and for my vesture (ἱματισμόν μου) they did cast lots. If John had quoted accurately from the Hebrew, he would have preserved more obviously the contrast between the בְּגָדִם and the לְבּושׁ,which yet was clearly in his mind. The χιτών was the portion of the ἱματισμός upon which the lots were cast. Lucke and De Wette (though not Meyer) regard it as certain that John took the ἱματισμός as identical with the χιτών. Strauss describes Psalm 22. as the programme of the Crucifixion. He styles it thus for the purpose of undervaluing the historical character of the narrative, and of suggesting that it owed its origin to the prophetic picture rather than to the actual fact (so Thoma). There is another sense in which the statement is true. Unconsciously the various concomitants of the suffering of the Holy One of God were being one by one realized by the Divine Lord. The synoptists, without reference to the ancient oracle, record the fact imperfectly. John adds what came under his own eye, explains their inadequate representation of the "lot," and discerns the veritable fulfillment of the prophecy. The reference in Matthew to this fulfillment of prophecy is expunged from the text by Tischendorf (8th edit.), Westcott and Herr, and R.T., on the authority of א, A, B, D, nine uncials and two hundred manuscripts, numerous versions and Fathers. Thus the fourth evangelist is the solitary authority for this fulfillment of the prophetic word, and he reveals a feature which is sometimes denied him by those who try to establish the Gentile origin of the Gospel. These things therefore the soldiers did. A graphic and historic touch, corresponding with the method in which Herodotus closed his account of the slaughter at Thermopylae. In John's case more was suggested. While Pilate had announced to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was "King of the Jews," and Caiaphas had declared that "it was expedient that one man should die for the people," the Roman soldiers, without any knowledge of Hebrew oracles, had all unconsciously filled up the features of the suffering Messiah in literal harmony with the ancient prediction. In a commentary on John's Gospel we cannot here discuss some of the other impressive features of the Crucifixion, upon which the fourth evangelist is silent. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all describe a revolting scene of brutal mockery which ridiculed the dying Lord with his helplessness, and charged him with hypocrisy, scoffed at his having boasted of his Divine Sonship, and of power to build the demolished temple in three days - an ominous charge, which he was so soon to meet. They did not see that they were destroying the temple of his body, and that he would verily paralyze all their power to crush his kingdom by building it up at the predestined hour. The great cry was, "Come down from the cross, and we will accept thy claims, and believe that thou art ' Son of God.'" This was even a greater provocative of his human soul than that which the devil had suggested in the wilderness, or which he had endured on the Mountain of Transfiguration (Godet's 'Biblical Studies of the New Testament'). He knew that he could at once have stepped upwards from the high mountain on the shining way, and left behind him a perfect and most gracious memorial and ideal of the blessed life. But he had a "decease to accomplish," and he came down to "give his life a ransom for many," to take all our burden and all our care and all our sin upon him, to lay down his life that he might take it again (cf. John 10:17). But the question does arise - Has he not done enough to meet all the case? Has he not been offered up as certainly as Isaac was when Abraham bound his son upon the altar? Could he not, might he not, now come down from the cross, having perfectly consecrated himself? Would he not by this act make converts of the Sanhedrin? and would not tens of thousands at once turn their curses into jubilant hosannas? The chief priests join in the same taunt, and, according to Matthew and Mark, even the dying robbers cast the same reproaches in his teeth. The special taunt was, "He saved others; himself he cannot save." Sublimely true, the very hurricane of abuse, as it reaches him, is transformed into the sweetness and fragrance of the eternal love. He had power in the desert to make the kingdoms of the world his own, if he would have bowed down to the prince of this world. He had authority to vanish into the ethereal home with Moses and Elijah. He might have saved himself, but he could not. He must drink the cup to the final dregs. He must bear the death-penalty itself. If he had not done this, the sympathy with man had fallen infinitely below the demands of his own heart. Sin and death would still have been inseparably linked; the curse would not have been broken, nor the sacrifice been completed. As before Pilate, Herod, and the rest, he was silent. No murmur, no rebuke, broke from him. The breath of his mouth is as vet no two-edged sword. But the penitent brigand, overcome by his majestic patience, pleads for mercy, and, after the long hours have passed, the cry of the helpless sufferer at his side meets with immediate response, while all the cruel howling bigots around him could not prevail to draw from him one syllable of remonstrance! The "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise" is the royalist of all the words from the cross. According to the hypothesis of the Tübingen school, they ought unquestionably to have been selected for citation by the author of the Fourth Gospel. The assumption of the existence and reality of his kingdom, and the admission in the other world of his conscious Lordship over the souls of men, is the most explicit and unapproachable claim that he ever made to Divine prerogatives. John takes notice of another most impressive scene, in which himself had personal concern, and which affected the remainder of his own wonderful life. An incident this which the other evangelists did not presume to touch. It was the Divine expression of the true humanity of the Son of God.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Verse 25. - But there were standing by the cross of Jesus. Matthew says (Matthew 28:55; Mark 15:40, 41) that many women stood afar off beholding these things, and amongst them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (the less, i.e. the son of Alphaeus) and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children, expressly identified here as elsewhere with Salerno, "women who followed him from Galilee" (Luke 23:55), and ministered unto him. The παρὰ of this verse implies that, in the courage of their love and tenderness, they had drawn nearer to the cross, led on as it would seem by his mother herself, whom John with fuller knowledge mentions as the most important member of one group. John adds, and the sister of his mother, then (it must be admitted without any conjunctive καὶ) he adds, Mary the (wife) of Clopas, and Mary Magdalen. Κλωπᾶς is by almost all admitted to be identifiable with חַלְפַי, Alphaeus, of Matthew 10:3. Consequently, "the Mary (of Clopos)" is none other than the mother of James the less-known disciple, as well as of others. And this second Mary is identically the same as the Mary spoken of in Matthew and Mark by slightly different phraseology. The question arises - Does John here speak, then, of four women? or does he say that this Mary was the sister of the Virgin Mary? If "Mary the wife of Clopas" be the sister of the Virgin, then James the less, Joses, and others are cousins of our Lord. This hypothesis has been used by those who identify these men with the "brethren of the Lord;" but it is rendered improbable by the fact referred to twice over in the synoptists and John, that his "brethren did not believe in him," and the growing certainty that "James the brother of our Lord" was not "James the less." Moreover, it is improbable that two sisters should have the same name. The other supposition is that the third woman mentioned by the synoptists (namely, Salome, the mother of Zebedee's sons) was the sister of the mother of Jesus. Against this is the non-appearance of the καί between the second and third names. This absence may be simply due to the fact that John mentions "two and two," singling them out from "the many women," according to his wont. Against it, Godet and others have urged that we have no other hint of the relationship; but of many similar facts throughout the Gospel we have only the slenderest indications - take, for instance, the identification of Judas (not Iscariot) with Lebbaeus and Thaddseus; Nathanael with Bartholomew - and there is much which makes the identification natural. It is after the manner of John to omit the name of Salerno, as he always does his own throughout the Gospel and Epistles. But the entire narrative from beginning to end is illumined by the fact that John was the near relative of Jesus. The ὅν ἠγάπα flashes into light and justification at once. Very much, both in the synoptic and Johannine narratives, receives a deeper meaning. The early friendship, the private ministry of our Lord, with John as his principal companion, the request of Salome, and the exquisite incident which now follows, all receive a richer meaning when it becomes clear that Salome was so nearly related to Jesus. In this conclusion Wieseler, Luthardt, Lange, Westcott, Sears, Moulton, Schaff, and others coincide, though Meyer and Hengstenberg take the other view. Hengstenberg thinks the tradition of three Marys is enough to counterbalance what he calls a learned device! Assuming, then, that John was so dear a friend, so near a relative, we understand better what follows.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Verse 26. - Jesus then, seeing the (his) mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, saith to the (his) mother, Woman, behold thy son! The term "Woman" was on his lips an honorific title rather than an expression of coldness. No atom of disrespect or failure of affection is evinced, nor can we conceive it possible that our Lord was here separating himself in his mediatorial character from all relationship with the mother who bore him! This view, adopted by Hengstenberg in part, by Steinmeyer, Luthardt, Alford, and originally by Professor Hoffmann of Erlangen, seems utterly inconsistent with the spirit of Christ. True, he had warned her not to intrude upon his modes of activity (John 2:4), and had said that his disciples were his brothers, sisters, mother; but the greatness of his heart is human to the last. No Monophy-site explanation of the status majestaticus, no Nestorian severance of the Divine and human Christ, is needed. Christ yearned over the mother whose heart was being pierced by his agony, and with filial anxiety entrusted her, not to those brothers of his - whatever was the degree of their relationship to him - who, nevertheless, did not believe on him, but to the disciple whom he loved.
Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Verse 27. - (b) Filial love - "Behold thy mother!" and the issue. Then he saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother! The very garments that covered him had been rudely divided among the soldiers. He is therefore as a dead man, and yet he made the most royal gifts and precious assignments of that which was nevertheless inalienable. He gave a mother to his dearest friend. He gave a son most precious to the bereaved and desolate and broken heart of his widowed mother. Inconceivable that Weisse should call this "the basest self-adulation." The animus manifested to this document by a certain school partakes of the animosity of political partisanship. From that hour, says the evangelist, the disciple took her (εἰς τὰ ἴδια) to his own home. This may have been some temporary lodging in Jerusalem, but it is more probable, as we have seen, that Salome and John had homes both in Jerusalem (see Introduction, p. 56.) and Capernaum. The mere phrase is used in John 16:32 in a more general sense of all the apostles. It is not necessary to believe that John at once removed the sacred deposit and bequest of his dying Lord to that home, though it is just possible. Bengel and many others think so, but it is not necessary to limit the meaning of "hour" to moment. The departure could hardly have taken place till all was over. In this brief reference a key is given to what John became to the Church. We must think of Salerno and John ever by the holy mother of the Lord, whether at Jerusalem, Capernaum, or Ephesus. The few words speak volumes, and his reticence here, as elsewhere, gives an unutterable grandeur to his words.
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Verses 28, 29. - (c) "I thirst" - the last agony. Verse 28. - It does not come within the purpose of John to record the portents which attended the final scene - either the supernatural darkness on the one hand, or the rending of the veil of the temple on the other. He does not record the visions of the saints, nor the testimony of the centurion (see Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-49). He does not record the further quotation of Psalm 22; the cry, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" nor the misinterpretation of the multitudes; nor the jeer at his dying agonies. But he does record two of the words of the Lord, which they had omitted. He, moreover, implies that he had purposely left these omissions to be filled up from the synoptists, for he adds, After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had been (τετέλεσται) now finished, said, I thirst, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. John heard in this word the comprehensive cry which gathered up all the yearnings and agonies of his soul, which fulfilled its travail, which expressed the awful significance of his suffering, and strangely filled up the prophetic picture (Psalm 69:21).
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.
Verse 29. - There was set there a vessel full of vinegar, probably for the use of the soldiers, and occasionally offered to the sufferers to soothe a part of their torment. John clearly associates this fact with the unconscious fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew gives it, with strange lack of connection, as following the cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" So they (Matthew, "one") having placed a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop. This hyssop plant, if identical with the caper plant, does produce stems three or four feet long, and may therefore be identical with the "reed" mentioned in Matthew and Mark, while Luke (Luke 23:36) refers the act to the soldiers offering him vinegar to drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elias will come and save him." They put it, brought it, presented it to his mouth. This was not the stupefying draught which he refused, but an exhilarating one.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Verse 30. - (d) "It is finished!" - the great victory of completed sacrifice. When he had received the vinegar, he said (τετέλεσται), It is finished! and he bowed his head and delivered up his spirit. The other evangelists record yet another word of Divine and sublime submission, "Father, into thy hands," etc. John simply adds the climax, and leaves the Divine, inscrutable, mysterious fact in its awful grandeur. The world's debt was paid. The types and symbolism of the old covenant had been adequately fulfilled. The mighty work, undertaken by him who would realize the expectations of the oldest prophets and the unconscious prophecies of heathendom, was done. Every iota and tittle of the Law had been magnified. The reality of which the temple and the sabbath were shadows, the priesthood and the offerings innumerable were figures, had all been realized. Τετέλεσται! Consummatum est! From the ground of human nature, from the heart of the Man in whom all the wants, perils, sins, mysteries of the human race were gathered up, has gone the adequate admission of the righteous judgment of God against that nature in its present condition. Death itself becomes, not his shame, but his veritable glory. The sin of humanity is branded with an eternal curse, more deep than any previous manifestation of the Divine justice could have produced; and yet it loses its sting. God reconciles the world to himself by the death of his Son, by this curse thus falling upon his Only Begotten. The earthly judges are condemned by their Victim. The great and last enemy is itself wounded unto death. The Seed of the woman bruises the serpent's head when that Seed receives the bruise in its own heel. The Paschal Lamb is slain. The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. The prince of this world is east out. The reader must turn to the synoptic narrative for the other portents of the Crucifixion - the earthquake, the supernatural darkness, the rending of the temple veil, and the testimony of the Roman centurion. The silence of the Fourth Gospel concerning these events, on the supposition of its late orion, or on the hypothesis of the glorifying myth, or upon the suggestion that this evangelist was a theologizing mystic of the second century, who was merely fashioning the narrative to establish the doctrinal thesis of the Divine incarnation of the Logos, becomes entirely unintelligible. But the hypothesis that this eye-witness was supplementing other well-known narratives with particulars which came forcibly under his own observation, and made a deep impression upon his own mind, is suggested by every line. Dr. Westcott places "the seven words from the cross" in the following order: -

(a) Before the darkness -

(1) "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

"Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

"Woman, behold thy son:... behold thy mother!" (John 19:26).

(b) During the darkness -

(4) "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

(c) After the darkness -

(5) "I thirst" (John 19:28).

"It is finished!" (John 19:30).

"Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46). It is a question whether the sixth or seventh word is the more triumphant.
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.
Verses 31-37. -

(6) The piercing of the side, with its significance - the final close of the life of earth. Verse 31. - The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation; that is, the day before the sabbath (Mark 15:42). This note of time certainly blends both the synoptists and John in the assurance that the crucifixion took place on a Friday. It was also, according to the previous statement, the preparation of the Passover, which, we have seen, is better understood in that literal sense than in the sense of "the Friday of Passover week." Consequently, there was a twofold sanctity about that particular sabbath, seeing that the sabbatic rest of the day following the Paschal meal coincided with the ordinary weekly sabbath; (for great, or high, was the day of that sabbath) (cf. Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7; and notes on John 13:1; 18:28; 19:14). It was a "great" and "high" day in a sense far more profoundly impressive than any that could be derived from the ceremonial enactments of the Hebrew code. The sabbath of his rest came at length. The toil, the agony, are over, the whole world is transformed during its hours into his resting-place. There has been no such sabbath since the creative Word rested from all his work. In order that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath. This statement, with the events which followed, strongly confirms our interpretation of the day of the Crucifixion. The Jews would scarcely have justified a crucifixion on the first sabbatic day of the feast, if they shrank from the proceeding here described as in danger of taking place on the ordinary sabbath. They follow the law (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23) so far as it would apply, and hasten the dissolution of the crucified, if it had not already occurred. (They) asked Pilate that their legs might be broken (crushed) [κατεαγῶσιν, the same as aorist passive, κατάγνυμι (Winer, Eng. trans., p. 85), ἀρθώσιν, first aorist passive], and that they might be taken away, as polluting corpses. The σκελοκοπία, equivalent to crurifragium, is a Roman custom, as it is clearly established by numerous authorities (Suet., 'Aug.,' 67; Seneca, ' De Ira.,' 3:32; see Wettstein); - a brutal custom, which added to the cruel shame and torment, even though it hastened the end.
Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
Verses 32-34. - Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first - two of the quaternion employed on the one deed, and two on the other - and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was already dead, they brake not his legs. Their barbarous mercy was unnecessary, and John caw in this another correspondence with the sacred symbolism and prophetic anticipations of the Old Testament. But one of the soldiers pierced - gashed, probably, for the word ἔνυξεν is used in both senses - his side with a spear (λόγχῃ, a lance, a heavy formidable weapon) to give him the coup de grace, should their expectation not be actually realized, and forthwith came there-out blood and water. We do not enter into the numerous physiological reasons which have been advanced by Gruner, Bartholinus, and Dr. Stroud ('Physical Cause of the Death of Christ') for this event, but regard it as one of the great portents of the Crucifixion, which cannot be entirely explained as some physiologists have done. Dr. Schaff appears willing to accept the hypothesis that the extravagated blood, being first separated into its two constituents, was thus liberated from the pericardium - a phenomenon that might seem to justify the supposition of the evangelist, that it was blood and water. Dr. Stroud endeavored, with much medical learning, to show that this might follow the side-piercing if the Lord's physical death had followed, as he argued, from rupture of the heart due to his intense agonies. Sir R. Bennett has accepted this solution. Nor, further, do we see here any reference to the sacramental system of which John elsewhere says so little; but we do see a token miraculously given of the twofold power of his redemptive life and work

(1) renovation, refreshment, rivers of living water issuing from the κοίλια of Christ, the first great rush of spiritual power which was to regenerate humanity; and

(2) the expression of that redemptive process which was effected in the positive shedding of his precious blood. It was, moreover, a proof and sign given to Roman soldiers that their Victim was actually dead. We cannot think, with Westcott, that it was a kind of sign of the commencement of the resurrection-life, which goes perilously near to the assertion that he never really died. Moulton argues that the phenomena were physiologically possible if the-event occurred immediately after death. There is nothing in the narrative to prevent such juxtaposition. That John should have witnessed it, and been unable to understand it, and therefore put it down among the marvels of the Crucifixion, corroborates the veracity of the eye-witness (Webster and Wilkinson). The interesting catena of patristic interpretations given by Westcott ('Additional Note') shows that the earliest writer who refers to the marvel, Claudius Apollinaris, regarded it as expressive of λόγος and πνεῦμα, "the Word and the Spirit." Origen showed that from a corpse such a phenomenon could not occur; and so even in his death there are still the signs of the living one. Cyril of Jerusalem saw the two baptisms of blood and water; Chrysostom, the two sacraments, or the mysteries of baptism and of the flesh and blood. Macarius Magnes and Apollinarius saw an allusion to the side of Adam, from which Eve, the source of evil, was taken; that now the side of the second Adam should give forth the means of salvation and deliverance. Tertullian dwells on the two baptisms of water and blood; so Jerome; while Augustine sees in it the laver and the cup. That there was some special, abnormal phenomenon seems specially noticeable from the emphasis which the eye-witness lays upon the observation and record of the fact.
But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
Verse 35. - He that hath seen hath borne, and is now bearing, herein and hereby, witness, and his witness is veritable - the highest and surest kind of witness, that of direct observation, staggering, confounding the ordinary sense, but proving that the Son of God died in his human body - and he knoweth, by his own inward experience, that he saith true things, that ye also may believe. A vehement effort has been made to sever this testimony from the evangelist, and refer it to a third person ἐκεῖνος, and suppose that it took place during John's absence from the cross (so Weisse, Schweizer, Hilgenfeld, and others); but, as Meyer, Godet, etc., affirm there is no necessity whatever for such an interpretation. Ἑκεινος is used of the subject of the sentence when it is clear from the context that the speaker himself is that subject (see John 9:37). Concerning a third person, the writer could not have written, "He knoweth that he saith true things, that ye may believe," but rather, "We know that he saith true things, that we may believe." But John here speaks strongly of his own invincible conviction, and, as in John 21:24, it is here given to induce a stronger faith on the part of his readers - not of himself and his readers in the supernatural death, in the signs that accompanied it, adapted to convince the bystanders of its marvel, and to fill up the prophetic picture, Hilgenfeld, with strange perversity, urges that the clever forger of the narrative "falls out of his part" and forgets himself (see Luthardt on 'Authorship of the Fourth Gospel,' p. 180). The symbolical and allegorical explanations are numerous. E.g. Toplady's well-known hymn, "Rock of Ages," contains the words -

"Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power."
For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
Verse 36. - For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Both the omission of the crurifragium, and the piercing of the Redeemer's side, with its solemn and strange issues, confirm to this great eye-witness the spiritual meaning and Messianic portraiture involved in them. A bone of him shall not be broken. This quotation from the ceremonial of the Passover (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12), where the lamb offered to God was to be shielded from unnecessary mutilation, is in harmony with the words of the Baptist, "Behold the Lamb of God!" and with Paul's language (1 Corinthians 5:7), "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," and shows that the Fourth Gospel does recognize this parallel, which is in a very remarkable way thus quietly reaffirmed. This passage acquires meaning from the supposition that the Jews were hurrying away to eat their Paschal lamb, not a bone of which could be legally broken. The opponents of the authenticity think that incidents are invented to establish the supposed relationship. Those who seek to reply to them by explaining away this reference to the Passover think that Psalm 34:20 is referred to, "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken;" but the force of that passage in this connection would violently clash with any such adaptation of it as could make it refer to the cruel and violent death of the Lord.
And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
Verse 37. - And again another Scripture saith. The second of the Old Testament quotations is in several ways important and noteworthy. They shall look on him whom they pierced (εἰς ὅν ἐξεκέντησαν). The original passage is (Zechariah 12:10), אֵלִי אֵתאּאֲשֶׁר דָּקָדוּ, "They shall look upon me whom they pierced." The evangelist altered the ME into HIM, which, as it stands in the old oracle, and regarded as the language of Jehovah, is sufficiently surprising. The LXX. had felt the difficulty, and translated it Ἐπιβλέψονται πρός με ἀνθ ῶν κατωρχήσαντο, i.e. "They shall look towards me, because they have insulted me." Their repentance and misgiving shall be aroused, because in response for those things which they have done contemptuously against me. It is interesting to see that John is more accurate in his Greek translation of this prophetic passage, viz. ὄψονται or ο{ν, "They shall look" with love and grace and repentance "on him whom (ἐξεκέντησαν) they pierced." This Greek rendering of the Hebrew is followed by Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, and is quoted by Justin Martyr; it is also found in Revelation 1:7, forming a link of connection between the Gospel and the Apocalypse. Moreover, it is most impressive to find that the awful tragedy does not close even in the hands of this writer without a word of promise and hope. Zechariah 12:8-14 is clearly in the mind of the apostle. The merciful Lord waits for the repentance of Israel, of those who, by instigating Roman power for his destruction, pierced him by their trenchant ingratitude as well as by the Roman spear. It will be fulfilled more completely when every eye shall see him, and the full revelation of his majesty shall smite the whole world with penitence or despair. This remarkable event and its issue, whatever may have been the precise physiological fact, establishes:

(1) The autoptic testimony of one who scarcely expected to be credited with the result of his observation.

(2) The genuine humanity of our Lord.

(3) The more than humanity of his manner of death.

(4) The fact of his death, and therefore the reality of the Resurrection.

(5) The symbolic and twofold aspect of his redemptive act.

(6) The fulfillment of prophetic word.

(7) The establishment of the connection between the Passover sacrifice and the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.
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.
Verses 38-42. -

(7) The burial - the two friends, Joseph and Nicodemus. Verse 38. - After these things - i.e., after all these transactions and impressions, after the crurifragium and the piercing and the proceedings of the soldiers with Pilate's permission; after, that is, time was left to see the full issue of the previous act, and the awful fact was patent to all - Joseph, who is from Arimathaea. This "Joseph" is introduced with the article (), and a second before ἀπὸ, implying to the reader that he is now. by reason of thesynoptic narrative, a well-known person. This Arimathsea is probably the Ramathaim of 1 Samuel 1:1, the birthplace of Samuel, known now as the Nebi Samwil, about two leagues north-west of Jerusalem (Caspari, § 49). Hengstenberg thinks the site is Ramleh, eight hours from Jerusalem. The maps of the Palest. Explor. Fund place it about a league to the east of Bethlehem. He was a "rich man" (Matthew 27:57) - a fact which the First Gospel recalls without quoting the remarkable oracle of Isaiah 53:9, that Messiah, Servant of Jehovah, was with the "rich in his death." We may judge that Joseph had a residence in Jerusalem, even though he may still be known as belonging to and "from" Arimathaea, because he bad prepared, hard by the metropolis, a sepulcher which as yet had never been used. He was, moreover, a βουλευτής (Luke 23:50; Mark 15:43), a member of the Sanhedrin, of high character, "good and just.... waiting for, expecting the kingdom of God' (say Mark and Luke), "and by no means consentient to the counsel and deed of his colleagues" (adds Luke). The whole position is briefly put by John: Being a disciple of Jesus, but a hidden one (κεκρυμμένος), who had been concealed as such up to this crowning climax of his Lord's humiliation, not daring to confess Christ, by reason of his fear of the Jews. Strange that he and Nicodemus should have cast away their fears at such a moment! Joseph asked of Pilate (ἠρώτησεν); a word that implies something of claim and confidence on his part. The synoptists all three use ἠτήσατο, which rather denotes the position of a suppliant for a favor. That he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. This is supposed by some, who are anxious to make difficulties where none exist, that (according to Mark 15:43) Pilate had already given permission for the crurifragium, and yet was astonished that he was dead already. The statement of Mark is perfectly consistent with this and with the ἀρθῶσιν of ver. 31. Joseph, when all the transactions were over, sought for himself the privilege of a friend to take the body and bury it. Roman law permitted this privilege to friends; as Luthardt says, "The Christian martyrs of Rome were often buried in the catacombs." Not until death was obvious was it lawful to remove a body from the cross. The death had taken place; the Jews were prepared with Pilate's authorization to remove the corpse to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. Joseph comes with a permission to take the corpse for honorable burial. He came therefore - by reason of the permission - and took the body (of Jesus).
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.
Verse 39. - But there came also Nicodemus who at the first came to him by night pointing back (as the evangelist also does at John 7:50) to the memorable converse with our Lord detailed in John 3:1-20, when Jesus made clear to his visitor that he would be lifted up, even as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness." There is no proof that this "ruler of the Jews" and "master in Israel" had been encouraged by the act of Joseph; but it might seem that these two between them had arranged the costly cerements. There is a world of suggestion lying in this quietly mentioned fact. Doubtless there were many others of timid disposition, who had received deeper convictions than the narrative of the Passion seems to suggest. Nicodemus had said, "We know that thou art a Teacher sent from God." By reason of their unacknowledged faith, the way was prepared for the marvelous conversions of Pentecost and later days. Nicodemus came to the cross, in all probability aided by the loving cares of the women and the disciple whom Jesus loved, bringing a mixture of myrrh, an odoriferous gum, and aloes, a fragrant wood, prepared for the embalming process, about an hundred pounds weight. This was a vast quantity. It reminds the reader of "the myrrh and aloes" of the royal Bridegroom of the Church (Psalm 45.); of the frankincense and myrrh brought by the Wise Men of the East; of the lavish gift of Mary the sister of Lazarus; of the outburst of boundless love which, spite of all the cruel persecution and rejection to which the Lord was exposed, at length was lavished upon him. The myrrh and aloes were pounded and mixed for the purposes of resisting the decomposition of death. The method was entirely to cover the ὀθονίαι, with its pungent and purifying powder, and then to swathe the whole body with the grave-clothes thus enriched.
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.
Verse 40. - They took therefore - i.e. Nicodemus and Joseph - the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen clothes with the spices, as is the manner of the Jews to bury. The synoptists specially mention a linen cloth (σίνδων), which they wound around it. It would seem probable, from what is afterwards said, that John wished to discriminate and affirm both processes (see John 20:7). The Jews' method differed from the Egyptians' embalming process. The latter removed all the viscera; and, by long baking and other processes, rendered the remaining shell of the corpse incorruptible and almost imperishable. The Jews' process of sepulture differed from the Roman cremation, and is emphasized. Importance was attached to a splendid funeral (Luke 16:22); and this costly interment was not without its deep significance.
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.
Verse 41. - Now there was in the place where he was crucified, close at hand to the very cross, a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein as yet no man was laid (on site, see ver. 17, notes). John alone tells us of the "garden;" and he clearly saw the significance of the resemblance to the "garden" where Christ agonized unto death, and was betrayed with a kiss, and also to the garden where the first Adam fell from the high estate of posse non peccare. We are not told, however, by him that this sepulcher was Joseph's own (Matthew gives this explanation), nor that it was cut out of a rock, nor the nature or quality of it. Matthew, Luke, and John remark that it was καίνον, not simply νέον, recently made, but new in the sense of being as yet unused, thus preventing the possibility of any confusion, or any subordinate miracle, such as happened at the grave of Elisha (2 Kings 13:21), and so our Lord's sacred body came into no contact with corruption. Thus from the hour of death, in which the love of God in Christ is seen at its most dazzling moral luster, and the glorification of Christ in his Passion reaches its climax, death itself beaus to put on new unexpected forms and charms:

(1) the symbolic effusion of water and blood;

(2) the costly unguent spices and honorable burial lavished on One who had been put under ban, and had died the doom of the slave;

(3) the garden and the watchers.
There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Verse 42. - There, therefore, by reason of the preparation of the Jews, for the sepulcher was nigh at hand, they laid Jesus. John assigns the rapidity with which the process could be completed as a reason for entombment in this particular garden sepulcher, and the ground of the urgency was the "preparation" solemnities. Once more the critics divide into two groups as to the significance of this reference to the date of the Lord's death. It is obvious that both the synoptists and John imply that it was a "Friday," and that the next day was the sabbath. Why, for the third time in the space of a few lines, should this circumstance be noticed? On the first occasion, the morning of the day is said to be "the preparation of the Passover;" on the second it is called "preparation before the sabbath," and John adds that that particular sabbath was a "high day," which, as we have seen, is explained by remembering that its sanctity was doubled, seeing that on that particular year the weekly sabbath would coincide with the 15th of Nisan, which had a sabbatic value of its own. Now he says for the third time it was the "preparation of the Jews" - as we understand it, a day or a time when special preparations were being made by the Jews, and that before sunset, for the slaying of the Paschal lamb. Moreover, the sabbath was drawing on (ἐπέφωσκεν, Luke 23:54). This threefold statement implies that there was something more in the παρασκευή than the Friday of the Passover week. It is curious to observe the precisely contradictory conclusions drawn from this statement by two classes of interpreters. Godet has given an interesting sketch (vol. 3. pp. 286, 287) of the extraordinary idea of M. Lutteroth, that the Lord was crucified on the 10th of Nisan! that he rose from the dead three full days and nights afterwards, on the morning of the 14th. But why should John three times over thus designate the day? and why should the synoptists lay such emphasis on its being the "preparation," if the day were really the first great day of the Passover Feast? It is remarkable that St. Paul, referring to the institution of the Eucharist, does not say "on the night of the Passover meal," but on "the night in which he was betrayed" (1 Corinthians 11:23), and he speaks of Jesus as the (ἀπαρχή) "Firstfruits of the dead," as though the resurrection morning coincided with the presentation of the firstfruits, which, on the idea that Jesus suffered on the 15th, would have been presented on the morning of the Jewish sabbath, while the reference in 1 Corinthians 5:7-9, written at the time of a Passover, is rather in favor of the slaying of the Paschal lamb coinciding with the death of Jesus than the institution of the Eucharist doing so. The most extraordinary reference to the Παρασκεύη is that which St. Matthew 28:62 introduces, when he actually refers to the sabbath when it had begun (on the evening of the 14th or 15th, whichever it was, i.e. after 6 p.m.) under the designation of "the day after the preparation." Generally the more important day would receive its own proper name, and not be designated by the less signal day. Why did not St. Matthew say, "On the morrow, which was the Sabbath"? The one group of interpreters answer that he wished to discriminate the veritable sabbath as distinct from the half-sabbath of the previous day, made so by being also the great day of the feast! But it is more natural to suppose that "the day of preparation," the death-day of the Lord, loomed so largely in the mind of the evangelist, that its morrow derived importance in this particular instance from itself. The only real difficulty in settling this wearisome controversy arises from one statement in the synoptists, which, if resolved in the rigid sense of limiting their expressions to the evening of the 14th and beginning of the 15th, involves us in grave difficulties when considering five or six distinct and independent statements of John's Gospel. We have shown at each of these places the double method of exegetical treatment that has been attempted, and in each case honesty compels us to admit that John is here in apparent discord with the synoptists. If, however, our Lord anticipated by a few hours the celebration of the Paschal supper, seeing that his "hour was come," not indeed deviating from the legal day (though, as Lord of the sabbath and greater than the temple, he was amply justified in doing so), but hurrying on the process between the 13th and 14th, when the water-bearers would be seen fetching their pure water for the purpose; and if he celebrated the Passover at the beginning rather than the end of the 14th of Nisan, then the apparent discord between John and the synoptists vanishes, and the terrible events of the trials and crucifixion of Jesus really took place at the time when the Jews (not Christ himself) were preparing for the Passover proper. On this hypothesis the two narratives would be no longer in hopeless antagonism. With this conclusion we are more satisfied, since, as we have seen in John 13:1 and elsewhere, the synoptists themselves afford numerous corroboratory evidences (Introduction, pp. 92-95.).

Courtesy of Open Bible