Gospel of John Chapter 19 Summary
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
- Things start to go downhill from here. Pilate orders Jesus to be flogged.
- The soldiers take branches from a plant with sharp thorns and weave them into a crown shape and place it on Jesus's head. They take a purple robe, the color of royalty, and drape it around his shoulders. Then they mock and bully him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and hit him in the face. Yikes.
- Pilate thinks that this small gesture of torture might make the crowd happy. Jesus has been whipped, but that's as far as he'll go. Jesus hasn't done anything wrong, so he can't just sentence him to die.
- Oh, yes, he can. The religious authorities see Jesus standing there beaten, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe and start screaming bloody murder. Literally. They demand that Pilate crucify him right now. He broke the law! He claimed to be God's son!
- This makes Pilate a little worried. He tries to question Jesus again, but Jesus is unwilling to contribute to his own defense. He just stands there silent.
- Pilate tells him that he has the power to have him killed. Afraid yet?
- Not a chance. Jesus replies that Pilate actually has no power. God's the one with the power. He's already set all this in motion.
- Again, Pilate tries to release Jesus, but the religious authorities are not having it. They tell Pilate that if he lets Jesus go, he is a traitor to the Roman emperor. Jesus has claimed to be king, which means he has set himself up as a political opponent to the emperor.
- Fine then. Pilate brings Jesus outside and asks the people if he should really crucify their king.
- No, you've got it all wrong, they shout. We love the emperor! He's our only king! Crucify Jesus! Crucify him now!
- And with that, Pilate gives the order for Jesus to be executed.
- The soldiers take Jesus to Golgotha. There, they will crucify him with two other men.
- Pilate also orders that a sign be put on the cross saying, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." This further annoys the religious authorities.
- They tell Pilate that it should really say that Jesus says he is the King of the Jews. But Pilate doesn't really care what they think.
- Four soldiers nail Jesus to the cross. They strip him naked and tear his robe into four pieces, one for each of them to take. They also take his tunic and "cast lots" to decide who gets it. Talk about insensitive.
At the Foot of the Cross
- Standing by the cross are four women: Jesus' mother, his aunt, Mary (who is the wife of someone named Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. The Beloved Disciple is also there, standing beside Jesus's mother.
- Jesus tells the Beloved Disciple to take care of his mother after he dies. He knows that his life is almost over.
- He tells the onlookers that he is thirsty, and they put a sponge soaked in wine on a branch and hold it to his mouth. The Romans didn't usually serve up a great last meal.
- After Jesus drinks the wine, he says his last words: "It is finished." Then, he lowers his head and dies.
- Passover will start soon and the religious authorities don't want bodies left up on the crosses during the festival. So, they ask Pilate to have the soldiers break the men's legs.
- The soldiers break the legs of the other two men crucified with Jesus, but when they come to Jesus, it looks like he's already dead.
- One of them tests this by stabbing him in the side with his spear. Blood and water flow out of the wound.
- Joseph of Arimathea (who was never mentioned before but is secretly one of Jesus's disciples) asks Pilate if he can take Jesus's body away for burial.
- Nicodemus helps by bringing one hundred pounds of spices in order to prepare Jesus's body for burial.
- They wrap the body in the spices and some linens and place it in tomb in a nearby garden. This happens to be a new tomb, where no one has ever been buried before. Foreshadowing? Just a bit.
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