Read John 19:17-30
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 them and 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. (NIV)
Here we have John’s account of Jesus’ death on the cross. We see from John’s account, that he did not leave as the other disciples did. But crucifixion is one of the most horrible ways to die. One dies by asphyxiation in that one reaches a point after usually days, that the person can not take a breath and thus dies of asphyxiation. But one was usually scoured prior to crucifixion. The Romans did keep a mixture of wine and something to act as a pain I believe we get the word excruciating from the crucifixion. The Latin ex and crux together mean from the cross. Crucifixion was typically only for slaves and insurrectionists. Never for a Roman citizen.
The notice Pilate placed was written in three languages. We see these three languages contributed to our order today. Greek brought us the arts, literature and philosophy. Rome brought us law and order for society and Jews brought us the worship of the one true God. And John puts this here to once more show who Jesus was. The Jewish leadership did not like the title “king of the Jews,” but this is who Jesus is.
John includes the soldiers dividing up Jesus clothing as a fulfillment of Scripture. This comes from Psalms 22:18 which reads: “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” In fact, Psalm 22 is a powerful Psalm that speaks to the messiah being crucified. It begins with those haunting words, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me. Verses 14-17 give a detail of the crucifixion. It reads:
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
And we end of seeing that even as Jesus is dying, he seeks to take care of his mother. It is interesting that he does not trust her care to his brothers, but to John.
Jesus chose to die on the cross for us. He chose to offer himself is this great act of love so that we might have life, life abundant. It is a powerful image of Christ’s love for us.
What does the crucifixion mean to your faith? Is it too painful a thought to think about? Do you see God’s love in the act?
Blessings and Peace