Lesson 108


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

Today's Scripture

19:16 Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away. 19:17 He went out, bearing his cross, to the place called "The place of a skull," which is called in Hebrew, "Golgotha," 19:18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle. 19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, "JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS." 19:20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 19:21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, "Don't write, 'The King of the Jews,' but that, 'he said, I am King of the Jews.'"

19:22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 19:24 Then they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it will be," that the scripture might be fulfilled, which says,

 "They parted my garments among them,

 For my cloak they cast lots."

Therefore the soldiers did these things.


 Today's Lesson 

Under the threat of treason that the Jews had made toward Pilate, he relented to the crucifixion of Jesus. They had said that Jesus claimed to be a king and that if Pilate refused to crucify Him, that he was no friend of Caesar. Pilate’s position was not so secure that he could tempt such an accusation. So he delivered Jesus over to them and the soldiers to be crucified.

 

Jesus was taken out under guard to a place called "Golgotha" or translated, "The place of the skull". He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. He was crucified between two other men, unnamed here or elsewhere. This Gospel does not delve into the gruesome details of this particular form of execution. From what we know of it from contemporary sources it was one of the most barbarous means possible designed to intensify pain and strike fear into native populations.

 

This section does tell us two things that occurred at this time. The first is that Pilate had a sign made that gave the reason why Jesus was crucified. The sign that was nailed on His cross read, "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews." We are told of this because the chief priest objected to the sign and wanted Pilate to write another. They did not want anyone to think that Jesus truly was the King of the Jews. But Pilate answered their objections, "What I have written, I have written."

 

And the other image we are given here is that of the soldiers gambling for the coat of Jesus. They stripped Him and nailed Him to the cross and then divided up His garments among themselves. But instead of dividing the coat and ruining it, they "cast lots" for it to see which would claim it for a prize.

 

The author tells us that this was to fulfill prophecy. But, it also gives us a desolate picture of the scene. Christ nailed to the cross and lifted up and these Roman soldiers callously dividing His clothing among themselves.

 

I have heard men give a clinical description of what occurred during a crucifixion. Everyone should hear the words at least once in their lives I suppose. I am relieved that the details are not recorded here, however. It is painful enough to read this portion every time the Gospel is studied. I suppose we tend to skip over these painful passages as often as possible because they are so stark. It is difficult to contemplate the realities of what occurred.

 

I cannot imagine the horror or the pain that Jesus felt on the day that He was crucified. But I must acknowledge that it happened. Because Christ bore this pain and horror, we are given another chance. We are told that He bore our sins on the cross. There is no way for us to know these things beyond faith. What does your faith tell you about what happened here? Why did Jesus die on the cross and what does it mean to you, today?

 

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