John  ◦   Chapter 19

1Even though Pilate was convinced of Jesus’ innocence, in an attempt to appease the Jews he ordered that Jesus be flogged. He hoped this would satisfy them, but instead, he only revealed to the Jews his own weakness of character and encouraged them to press harder until he would succumb to their demands.2The soldiers began to make fun of Jesus. They made a crown of thorns and smashed it down on his head. They put a purple robe on him3and began bowing down mockingly, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they punched him in the face repeatedly.

4 Pilate came out to the Jews one more time — this time appearing a little less confident. He said, "I find no fault in him or any basis for the charges you have brought against him."5Then Jesus was brought out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, and he was bleeding from the wounds inflicted by his beating.

6When the Jews saw that Pilate had had Jesus beaten and tortured — even though he had declared him innocent — they knew he could be pressured to their will, so they shouted in overwhelming rage, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate answered, "If you want to crucify him, take him and do so. I find nothing in him deserving of crucifixion."

7But the Jews wouldn't have this Roman insinuate that he was more just than they, so they shouted, "Our law says he deserves death, because he, a mere man, claims to be the Son of God!"

8Pilate was shocked and overcome with fear when he heard what the Jews had said.9He went back into his palace and questioned Jesus. He asked, "Where do you come from?" But Jesus kept silent.10"Are you refusing to answer me?" Pilate said. "I have the power to set you free or have you crucified, so you better answer my questions."

11Jesus replied calmly, "You would have no power over me if it had not been granted you from God. Therefore those who have rejected the truth, plotted my death, and are now manipulating you, are much sicker in heart, darker in mind, and more evil in character than you are."

12From then on, Pilate tried to get the Jews to agree to set Jesus free, but they were frothing for his blood and kept shouting, "If you let him go, you are an enemy of Caesar! Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar!

13When Pilate heard this, he became fearful for his own position and authority, so he brought Jesus out, and sat down in his judgment seat, at a place known as "The Stone Court" (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).14It was Friday before Passover, about noon. Pilate said to the Jews, "Here is your king."

15But the Jews knew they had Pilate about to capitulate and shouted all the louder, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!" "Do you want me to crucify your king?" Pilate asked. Then the chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."

16Exhausted and frustrated, and not knowing how to save Jesus and appease the Jews in order to secure his own position, Pilate finally handed Jesus over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took Jesus,17placed a cross on his shoulders, and led him to The Place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).18Here they crucified him, with two thieves–one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.

19Pilate had a sign placed on the cross, which read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.20It was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek; and many of the Jews read the sign because the place of the crucifixion was near the city.21The chief priests were upset that Pilate would put such a sign on Jesus' cross, and protested, "Don't write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

22But Pilate was tired of the Jews and their scheming, and said, "What I have written is what I have written."

23The soldiers who crucified Jesus divided his clothes among them — one piece for each — with the undergarment remaining. The undergarment was seamless,24so rather than tear it, they decided to roll dice to see who would get to keep it. This happened as further evidence that God knows people's decisions before they are made, yet doesn't use this knowledge in selfish or manipulative ways. For the Scriptures said: "They divided my garments among them and rolled dice for my clothing." And the soldiers freely chose to do exactly what God foreknew and foretold that they would do.

25The women who loved and trusted Jesus had followed him to the cross: his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26When Jesus saw his mother and his disciple John standing nearby, his heart went out in compassion and concern for them. He said to his mother, "Mother, here is your son. He will take care of you from now on."27And to John he said, "Here is your mother." From then on, John took her to his home and cared for her.

28Jesus knew that he had completed his mission. He knew that he had revealed the truth about God and himself, and the nature of sin; that he exposed Satan as a liar and murderer; and that he had lived perfectly as a human being. Knowing all this, Jesus was aware that the war was won and his mission was finished, and he whispered, "I'm thirsty." 29A jar of vinegar was there. They soaked a sponge in the vinegar, put the sponge on a hyssop stalk, and lifted it to Jesus' mouth.30When he had moistened his lips, Jesus said in a clear voice, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and breathed his last. He had completed his mission — he had finished the work given him to do.

31It was Friday–the day of preparation for the Sabbath–and the next day was the special Sabbath of the Passover. The Jews did not want bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, so they asked Pilate to have the legs of the victims broken and the bodies taken down.32The soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus,33but when they came to Jesus, they were shocked to discover that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs.34Instead, one of the soldiers, just to be sure Jesus hadn't simply fainted, pierced his side with a spear, penetrating up to the heart, and a mixture of blood and water flowed from the wound.35John, who saw this, has given testimony to what he saw, and his account is accurate and reliable. He knows exactly what he saw and he recounts it so that you may also know and have confidence in the truth.36All of these things occurred exactly as God foretold in the Scriptures, where it says, "Not one of his bones will be broken,"37and "They will look on the one they have pierced."

38Later, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a follower of Jesus, but he feared the Jews, so he had followed Jesus secretly. Once he had obtained Pilate's authorization, he came and took Jesus' body away from Golgotha.39Nicodemus, the man who had previously visited Jesus at night, helped Joseph carry the body. Nicodemus also brought about seventy-five pounds (thirty-four kilograms) of aloe and myrrh for the burial.40Taking Jesus' body, they reverently wrapped it, applying spices in the strips of linen. This was in keeping with Jewish burial customs.41Near where Jesus was crucified was a garden with a tomb that had never been used.42Because it was nearby, and the Sabbath was approaching, they laid Jesus in this tomb.