John 19 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of John 19)

Verse 7

[7] The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

By our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God — Which they understood in the highest sense, and therefore accounted blasphemy.

Verse 8

[8] When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

He was the more afraid — He seems to have been afraid before of shedding innocent blood.

Verse 9

[9] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

Whence art thou? — That is, whose son art thou?

Verse 11

[11] Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Thou couldst have no power over me — For I have done nothing to expose me to the power of any magistrate. Therefore he that delivered me to thee, namely, Caiaphas, knowing this, is more blamable than thou.

Verse 13

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

Pilate sat down on the judgment seat — Which was then without the palace, in a place called, in Greek, the pavement, on account of a beautiful piece of Mosaic work, with which the floor was adorned: but in Hebrew, Gabbatha - Or the high place, because it stood on an eminence, so that the judge sitting on his throne might be seen and heard by a considerable number of people.

Verse 14

[14] And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

It was the preparation of the passover — For this reason both the Jews and Pilate were desirous to bring the matter to a conclusion. Every Friday was called the preparation, (namely, for the Sabbath.) And as often as the passover fell on a Friday, that day was called the preparation of the passover.

Verse 17

[17] And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

Bearing his cross — Not the whole cross, (for that was too large and heavy,) but the transverse beam of it, to which his hands were afterward fastened. This they used to make the person to be executed carry. Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20; Luke 23:26.

Verse 19

[19] And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews — Undoubtedly these were the very words, although the other evangelists do not express them at large.

Verse 20

[20] This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

It was written in Latin — For the majesty of the Roman empire; in Hebrew - Because it was the language of the nation; and in Greek - For the information of the Hellenists, who spoke that language, and came in great numbers to the feast.

Verse 22

[22] Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

What I have written, I have written — That shall stand.

Verse 23

[23] Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

The vesture — The upper garment.

Verse 24

[24] They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

They parted my garments among them — No circumstance of David's life bore any resemblance to this, or to several other passages in the 22d Psalm. So that in this scripture, as in some others, the prophet seems to have been thrown into a preternatural ecstacy, wherein, personating the Messiah, he spoke barely what the Spirit dictated, without any regard to himself. Psalms 22:18.

Verse 25

[25] Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

His mother's sister — But we do not read she had any brother. She was her father's heir, and as such transmitted the right of the kingdom of David to Jesus: Mary, the wife of Cleopas - Called likewise Alpheus, the father, as Mary was the mother of James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas.

Verse 27

[27] Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Behold thy mother — To whom thou art now to perform the part of a son in my place, a peculiar honour which Christ conferred on him.

From that hour — From the time of our Lord's death.

Verse 29

[29] Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

A stalk of hyssop — Which in those countries grows exceeding large and strong. Psalms 69:21.

Verse 30

[30] When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

It is finished — My suffering: the purchase of man's redemption.

He delivered up his spirit — To God, Matthew 27:50.

Verse 31

[31] The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Lest the bodies should remain on the cross on the Sabbath — Which they would have accounted a profanation of any Sabbath, but of that in particular.

For that Sabbath was a great day — Being not only a Sabbath, but the second day of the feast of unleavened bread (from whence they reckoned the weeks to pentecost:) and also the day for presenting and offering the sheaf of new corn: so that it was a treble solemnity.

Verse 34

[34] But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Forthwith there came out blood and water — It was strange, seeing he was dead, that blood should come out; more strange, that water also; and most strange of all, that both should come out immediately, at one time, and yet distinctly. It was pure and true water, as well as pure and true blood. The asseveration of the beholder and testifier of it, shows both the truth and greatness of the miracle and mystery.

Verse 35

[35] And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

His testimony is true — Valid, unexceptionable.

And he knoweth — And his conscience beareth him witness, that he testifieth this for no other end, than that ye may believe.

Verse 36

[36] For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

A bone of it shall not be broken — This was originally spoken of the paschal lamb, an eminent type of Christ. Exodus 12:46.

Verse 37

[37] And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

They shall look on him whom they have pierced — He was pierced by the soldier's spear. They who have occasioned his sufferings by their sins (and who has not?) shall either look upon him in this world with penitential sorrow: or with terror, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven, Revelation 1:7. Zechariah 12:10.

Verse 38

[38] And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate — And Nicodemus also came - Acknowledging Christ, when even his chosen disciples forsook him. In that extremity Joseph was no longer afraid, Nicodemus no longer ashamed.

Verse 41

[41] Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

In the place where he was crucified — There was a garden in the same tract of land: but the cross did not stand in the garden.

Verse 42

[42] There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Because of the preparation — That is, they chose the rather to lay him in that sepulchre which was nigh, because it was the day before the Sabbath, which also was drawing to an end, so that they had no time to carry him far.