John 19:1-16

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 10, 2011


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Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Jesus was arrested the night before in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He’s already had various “trials” before Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and now He’s standing again before Pilate as the Jewish leaders have demanded that Pilate put Jesus to death.

This is taking place at the Antonia Fortress, known as the Praetorium, located behind a side wall of the Temple Mount. Pilate has been questioning Jesus inside the Praetorium while the Jewish accusers have been waiting outside the Praetorium so they don’t defile themselves by going into a Gentile place before celebrating the Passover.

While Pilate has been interviewing Jesus, he has had a hard time seeing what this man has done that’s worthy of death. (Warning:  Today is a little bit graphic)

19:1-16 Pilate sentences Jesus

:1 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.

:1 scourgedmastigoo – to beat with a flagrum

Scourging was a form of whipping used by the Romans for several things.

Sometimes it was meant to be the punishment for a crime.
Sometimes it was used to make a criminal confess to a crime. As long as you continued to claim to be innocent, the lashing got harder and harder until you ultimately confessed to whatever the examiner wanted you to confess to.
It has been suggested (Wiersbe) that Pilate is having Jesus scourged in order to gain the sympathy of the crowd to have Jesus released. If Jesus looks miserable enough, perhaps the crowd will be done asking for His death.

The condemned person would be led out to the front of the Praetorium, where the crowd was.

The Romans whipped their prisoners with a device called a “flagrum”, a handle with long leather straps of various lengths attached. Imbedded in the straps were pieces of bone and lead designed to tear the flesh.

Dr. C. Truman Davis, a medical doctor who has studied crucifixion from a medical perspective, describes the effects of the Roman flagrum used in whipping:
The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across [a persons] shoulders, back and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises, which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
Origen (third century) records that the soldiers in Pilate’s charge weren’t from Rome, but recruits from the nearby province of Syria, and were especially hostile of the Jews. This would mean that the beating may have been more severe than normal. (from footnote in Edersheim’s “Life and Times …”, pg.579)
Eusebius, a third-century historian, writes: “The sufferer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure.”

After the beating, Jesus would have been brought back into the Praetorium.


Scourged for me

During communion, we hand out the little pieces of bread and talk about them representing the body of Christ.
When Paul taught about communion, he wrote,

(1 Co 11:24 NKJV) and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself when Christ’s body was broken? Remember that on the cross He died before they could get around to breaking His legs. No bones were broken.

I think you could make a case that the place His body was broken was during the scourging.

Isaiah wrote about the scourging of Jesus.
(Is 53:5 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

The “stripes” speak of the scourging.

There is a sense in which the “healing” refers to a spiritual healing, a restoration between us and God.

I wonder sometimes if there isn’t a sense in which physical healing is part of this as well.

He has provided for our healing through His scourging.

:2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.

:2 purple robe – Purple was the color of royalty.

:2 a crown of thorns

The thorns in Israel can grow kind of large.

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, one of the consequences was that thorns and thistles would grow on the earth. (Gen. 3:17-19)

(Ge 3:17–19 NKJV) —17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
It seems appropriate that the Creator would wear a crown of thorns as He is about to bear the sins of the world on a cross.

:3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

:3 Hailchairo – to rejoice; to be well, thrive; hail!

:3 struck Him with their handsrhapisma – a blow with a rod; a blow with the hand

The Greek is literally, “they gave Him blows” (no mention of hands). Mark tells us…

(Mk 15:19 NKJV) Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.

The Greek verb tense (imperfect) in our passage tells us “they kept on hitting Him

Isaiah prophesied this:
(Is 50:6 NKJV) I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

Earlier, while Jesus was waiting for His trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, He was also beaten.

(Lk 22:64 NKJV) And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?”
When you are not blindfolded, you naturally prepare yourself for each blow to the face as it comes.  When you are blindfolded, the blows come much stronger because your head doesn’t brace for the impact.

Isaiah prophesied of this time, giving us a clue to Jesus’ appearance:

(Is 52:14 NLT) But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

:4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”

:5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

:5 Behold the Man

In Latin, the words are “Ecce Homo”

In the art world, there have been dozens of famous paintings done with this title, depicting this moment when Jesus is brought out by Pilate.

:6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

:6 You take Him

You get the sense that Pilate is reluctant to put Jesus to death.

A few months later, after the resurrection, Peter said to a Jewish crowd at the Temple,

(Ac 3:13 NKJV) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

:7 We have a law

(Le 24:16 NKJV) And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death…

If Jesus claims to be the Son of God, and He’s not, then He is guilty of blasphemy. On the other hand, if Jesus IS the Son of God, then He’s simply telling the truth.

:8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,

:9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.

:8 he was the more afraid

Apparently Pilate was already a little bit uneasy about Jesus as it was.

Earlier in the morning, Pilate had received a disturbing message from his wife:

(Mt 27:19 NKJV) While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

And now he hears that Jesus has claimed to be the Son of God.

:9 Jesus gave him no answer

Isaiah prophesied:

(Is 53:7 NKJV) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.


Shhhh! Follow the footsteps

Sometimes we find ourselves going through persecution and suffering and we don’t always know what to do.
Sometimes the right thing to do is to speak up. Maybe even take revenge

A watermelon farmer was determined to scare off the local kids who went into his watermelon patch every night to eat their fill. After some thought, he made a sign that read, “WARNING! ONE OF THESE WATERMELONS HAS BEEN INJECTED WITH CYANIDE!” He smiled smugly as he watched the kids run off the next night without eating any of his melons. A week later, the farmer was surveying his field. To his satisfaction, no watermelons were missing, but now there was a new sign next to his that read, “NOW THERE ARE TWO!”

Sometimes it’s better not to take revenge and just be quiet.
Peter wrote,
(1 Pe 2:21–23 NKJV) —21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

Sometimes we do more harm when we complain so much, or even worse when we try to get even.

Sometimes the people that are hurting us will be impacted more by our silence than with our anger and harsh words.


General Robert E. Lee was asked what he thought of a fellow officer in the Confederate Army who had made some derogatory remarks about him. Lee rated him as being very satisfactory. The person who asked the question seemed perplexed.  “General,” he said, “I guess you don’t know what he’s been saying about you.”  “I know,” answered Lee. “But I was asked my opinion of him, not his opinion of me!”

Perhaps we ought to keep our mouths shut a little more, and learn to trust God to work it out.

:10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

:10 powerexousia – the power of authority

:11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

:11 given you from above

God is the ultimate authority

(Ro 13:1 NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
This does not let Pilate off the hook for sending Jesus to be crucified.
He would one day be called into account before God with what he did with the authority that God had given to Him.


Respecting authority

The Bible consistently teaches that we need to learn respect for our government leaders, and that includes presidents and governors, even the ones that are democrats.
(1 Ti 2:1–2 NKJV) —1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Paul wrote Romans and 1Timothy during the reign of crazy Caesar Nero who was known for killing Christians.
Note:  This doesn’t mean you can’t vote a man out of office, but while he’s in office you and I need to respect and lovingly pray for him.

:11 the one who delivered Me to you

Jesus could be talking about Judas, but it makes more sense that He’s talking about Caiaphas, the high priest who has been the one to hand Jesus over to Pilate.

Caiaphas the high priest knew the Scriptures. He knew the prophecies about the coming Messiah.

Yet he willingly ignored the evidence about Jesus being the Messiah.
He still chose to have Jesus put to death. He stirred up the people to ask for Jesus to be put to death. He pressured Pilate into putting Jesus to death.
Caiaphas had a sin greater than Pilate’s.

And yet it’s also strangely ironic that the Chief Priest (Caiaphas) is the one responsible for making the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (Jesus) who would take away the sins of the world.

:12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

:12 you are not Caesar’s friend

Pilate was not going to be convinced to put Jesus to death by hearing about Jewish laws. The Jewish leaders now appeal to Pilate’s political responsibilities.

:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

:13 the judgment seatbema – the official seat of a judge

:13 The Pavementlithostrotos – stones laid together to form a pavement

:13 Gabbathagabbatha – “elevated or a platform”

Pilate had his “throne” on a paved area elevated above the people.

:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

:15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

:15 We have no king but Caesar

Sadly, they are rejecting their true King in favor of man’s king.

:16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

:14 Preparation Day paraskeue – a making ready, preparation, equipping; the day of preparation

It’s Friday morning.  The Passover would begin at sundown on that Friday.

:14 about the sixth hour

There were different ways of telling time (Jewish and Roman). John is probably using Roman time, which would mean that the sentencing took place “about” 6:00a.m.

Mark (15:25) tells us that the actual crucifixion itself took place the “third hour”, in Jewish time that would be 9:00a.m.  It took three hours to get Jesus off to Calvary and up on a cross.

Next week we will talk about the crucifixion.

:14 Behold your King

It’s no longer “Behold the man”, but now “Behold your King”.

Play “Gospel of John” clip.


Who is my King?

Perhaps Pilate is simply mocking the Jews about their “King”.
But they respond that they don’t want Jesus to be their king.
Your “king” is the one who ultimately makes the decisions in your life.
For some, their friends are their “king” – all they care about is doing what their friends tell them to do.
For some of us, we’re our own “king”.  We don’t want anyone telling us what to do.  “I am king”.
How about letting Jesus be your “king”?