John 19:16-27 Easter at Christmas: Crucifixion

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. 20 Many 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. 21 The 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.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When 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 that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.


It is hard to write about Jesus’ crucifixion  because everything seems to fall short.  In John’s account many details are added or left out.  Simon of Cyrene is absent, for example.  Why is this? It is because John includes the details that will best illustrate his point.  Pilate declares that Jesus is King of the Jews by placing a sign on the cross.  This declares a truth that the Jewish leaders do not wish to tolerate, but it is allowed to hang there just the same.

Jesus and John may have been cousins which is why Jesus hands off the care of his mother to John.  This would explain how John was connected to the High Priest since Mary’s line was connected to priesthood.

Nothing happens in the narrative that has not been preordained.  Jesus follows a path laid out from the beginning of time.  Sin and death will be vanquished and the price  will be paid.

We can follow the king who endured the cross.  We can trust in one who was following a path and who was not tossed around my chaotic chance.  However, as each one of us looks to the cross we see something of ourselves in the picture.  We see our sin carried away.  We see our saviour.  We need to be quiet.  No prayers or questions today, just quiet reflection as we look at the cross.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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