Read John 19: 1-42
1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
4Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
6As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"
But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."
7The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."
8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10"Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
11Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."
13When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
15But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
16Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18Here they crucified him, and with him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."
22Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24"Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it."
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said,
"They divided my garments among themand cast lots for my clothing."
So this is what the soldiers did.
25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."
38Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. (NIV)
Here we have John’s account of the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The trial before Pilate is an interesting scene. We have the Roman authorities trying to release Jesus and the Jews demanding his death. Amidst all of these, Jesus makes very little defense for himself. He simply claims who he is and that he could not be held without that authority being given from heaven. It is a picture of Jesus surrendering himself to be killed. John, as well as the other three gospels, go to great lengths to portray that Jesus freely gave himself up to death.
The hatred by the Jews of Jesus becomes a precursor to the hatred Christians in the coming years would endure. There is always a hostility toward the truth of God, especially when we stand in the light of that truth and see our own failures. There are those who stand like the woman and John at the foot of the cross and weep. And there are those who refuse to see their own sin and demand the one who shown the light of truth on them to be crucified. This is the way people will always come down on. There is no middle ground.
And we see that those who stand at the foot of the cross are taken care of. We get this little scene about John and Jesus’ mother. It is a glimpse that Christ is always about our welfare and hope for the future.
It is in only in John that we get this image of Jesus’ side being pierced. We see that John records both water and blood come from Jesus’ side. To many, this is a sign that we are incorporated into the life of Christ through the sacrament of baptism and we share in his death and resurrection through the blood symbolized in the wine of communion. But I have found fascinating about what Doctors have commented about the significance of water and blood coming from the side of Jesus. To have the water build up around the heart means that the heart ruptured during the process of his death. Jesus died of a broken heart. His heart broke as he took our sins upon himself.
For John, this was freely done by Christ so that we might have life. We are healed by his suffering. This was done to atone for our sin. It is the most powerful witness of love God could give us that would last through the ages.
What does Christ death mean to your living? Do you contemplate on this act much in your life? Should we or should we push it to the side? Can we stand at the foot of the cross and look upon the face of the one who died for us and not feel something?
Blessings and Peace