The glory of the Messiah, 13:1-20:31

2. The trial and passion of Jesus, 18:1-19:42

v] The crucifixion of Jesus


John now recounts the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus carries his cross to the place of the Skull and there is crucified between two other criminals. Pilate has a notice prepared to place on Jesus' cross, "The King of the Jews", probably to spite the religious officials who have disturbed the business of government that morning. Having divided up Jesus' outer cloak, the soldiers play dice for his undergarment, and all this in front of Mary, some of Jesus' female disciples, as well as the beloved disciple. When Jesus asks for a drink, one of the soldiers puts some wine in a sponge and offers it to him. Jesus drinks and then calls out "It is finished"; he bows his head and breaths his last.


Jesus serves as the righteous suffering son who gives his life for the life of the world and so, in his lifting up, is enthroned as king - a task fully accomplished.


i] Context: See 18:1-11.


ii] Structure: The Crucifixion of Jesus:

The soldiers crucify Jesus with two criminals, v16b-18;

Pilate prepares an inditement-notice against Jesus, v19-22;

"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

The soldiers divide up Jesus' possessions, v23-24;

"They divided my garments among them;

  and cast lots for my garment."

Witnesses to the crucifixion, v25-27;

"Woman, here is your son."

The end of the beginning! v28-30;

"It is finished."


iii] Interpretation:

As is usual, John recounts the crucifixion from his own perspective (selectively recording the event!). His account agrees with that of the Synoptics, but he leaves out many salient points and adds his own. So, he doesn't bother mentioning Simon of Cyrene and has Jesus carrying his own cross to Golgotha, the place of the scull (in Latin, Calvaria), where he is executed with two criminals (possibly supporters of Barabbas). John makes special note of the titulus (a white notice board) which is attached to the cross, a notice not actually written by Pilate, but certainly composed by him. Note the evidence of a multicultural society, ie., the notice is trilingual. John goes on to record the fuss caused by the notice. Note is made of the four soldiers guarding Jesus and how they fulfill scripture by tossing for Jesus' seamless undergarment. John makes a point of mentioning Jesus' mother and three other women who witness the execution. In the final stages of the execution Jesus is offered some sour wine by the soldiers. John does not mention any drugged wine, but rather records an act of kindness by one of the soldiers, again in fulfillment of scripture. Having taken a drink, Jesus exclaims "it is finished." This statement, peculiar to John's gospel, probably takes the sense "it is accomplished", or as Hunter paraphrases, "I have finished the work my Father gave me to do." Jesus then surrenders his life to the Father. Finally, again peculiar to this gospel, John records Jesus being pierced by a spear and how water and blood flowing from his side.

In John's perspective of the cross, Jesus' crucifixion is free of shame; the cross is a lifting up to doxa, "glory, honor." Even the secular authorities honor Jesus with the notice, "King of the Jews", rather than the notice proposed by the Jewish authorities, "This Man claimed to be the King of the Jews." This is the death of an innocent man, as Pilate states, "I find no basis for a charge against him." Although there is no shame, there is suffering, the suffering of the Davidic messiah, the great I AM, the one from God who is in union with the Father, a suffering testified in the Scriptures of one who comes to his own, but is rejected by his own. None-the-less, "only from the vantage point of Jesus' resurrection can the cross be interpreted as the climax of God's mission to bring life to the world through the Son", Thompson.


iv] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 19:16b

John's account of the crucifixion, v16b-30: i] The soldiers crucify Jesus, along with two other criminals, v16b-18.

oun "So" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection, as NIV.

parelabon (paralambanw) aor. "the soldiers took charge of [Jesus]" - they took, took from, took to, took with, received from = took custody of [jesus]. They took into custody, "they" being the "soldiers" understood (v23), and obviously not the chief priests. "The soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified."


Although John has Jesus carrying his cross (probably the top cross member rather than the post (the 3 meter post would remain in situ) it is not unreasonable to suppose that Jesus is not able to carry it all the way and that Simon is seconded to carry it the rest of the way. The fact that John doesn't mention Simon doesn't mean he didn't help.

bastazwn (bastazw) pres. part. "carrying" - [and] carrying [the cross]. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Jesus' going out; "he went out bearing his own cross", ESV.

eJautw/ ref. pro. dat. "his own" - by/for himself. Carry "for himself", dative of advantage, or "by himself", instrumental, expressing agency, or "his own cross", possessive dative. Bultmann suggests "alone." John makes a point of Jesus carrying his own cross. There may be an allusion here to Isaac, but above all it proclaims Jesus is the master of his own destiny. There may also be a discipleship image here. Anyway, for whatever reason, John does not mention Simon.

exhlqen (exercomai) aor. "he went out" - he went out [into]. He went out of the city, outside the city walls. Both Luke and Mark say that Simon was coming in from the country when he was ordered to carry the cross, so the procession was on one of the roads leading into the city. "He carried his cross to a place called 'The Scull'", CEV.

ton legomenon (legw) pres. pas. part. "-" - [the place] being called. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting the assumed noun "the place"; "the place which is called." Jesus went out to "the place that is called 'The Skull'", Jeremias.

kraniou (on) gen. "[the place] of the skull" - [place] of skull. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / identification; "the place known as / called the skull" / "the place which looked like a skull." The word "calvary" is Latin for "skull."

Golgoqa "Golgotha" - [which is called in hebrew]. skull, cranium. Nominative complement of the pronoun o}, "which", the antecedent of which is "the place of the skull." Hebrew.


o{pou "there" - where. Local conjunction expressing space.

estaurwsan (staurow) aor. "they crucified" - they crucified [him]. Note how the actual execution is downplayed. A "most cruel and terrible penalty", Cicero.

met (meta) + gen. "with [him]" - Expressing association / accompaniment; "and along with him."

allouV duo "two others" - Accusative direct object of the verb "to crucify." Mark and Matthew call them bandits (the same term used for Barabbas, revolutionaries, freedom fighters) and Luke calls them criminals.

enteuqen kai enteuqen "one one each side" - on this side and on that. Expressing "extension from a source near the speaker", BDAG; "from here and from there" = "one each side", Novakovic.

de "and" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, although translated as a coordinative here; "and ..."

meson adj. "[Jesus] in the middle" - [jesus] in middle. Here the adjective serves as an adverb of place; "in the middle", Zerwick. "Jesus between them", Barclay.


ii] Pilate prepares a notice of inditement against Jesus, v19-22. Matthew and Luke have the notice placed over Jesus' head. Interestingly, the actual words of the notice are different in all four gospels. John possibly means "Jesus from Nazareth, King of the Jews." This would suit the heading of a statement of criminal charges. Some commentators argue that the notice serves to honor Christ, but why would Pilate honor Christ? It seems more likely that, as was the custom, the notice outlines the charge against Jesus, namely, his claim to kingship / authority against that of the Emperor. The short-hand nature of the notice can certainly be read as a statement of honor and for this reason the Jewish authorities complained, cf. v21. Of course, John wants his readers to understand it as a statement of honor,

egrayen (grafw) aor. "[Pilate] had a [notice] prepared" - [but/and pilate and = also] wrote [a title / notice]. "Pilate also had a notice written." Taken literally, Pilate writes the notice, but the verb is likely causative, such that Pilate caused others to prepare the notice. The wording of the notice is designed to cause Caiaphas and his associates as much pain as possible. "Pilate ordered the charge against Jesus to be written on a board", CEV.

titlon "notice" - Accusative direct object of the verb "to write." A technical Latin term for a charge against a condemned criminal written on a board for public viewing.

epi + gen. "[fastened] to [the cross]" - [and placed] on, upon [the cross]. Local, expressing space; "upon, on."

h\n gegrammenon (grafw) perf. pas. part. "it read" - [and] it had been written, having been written. The perfect participle with the imperfect verb to-be forms a periphrastic pluperfect construction, "it read", Harris; "the writing ran", Barclay.

twn Ioudaiwn (oV) gen. "[Jesus of Nazareth, the King] of the Jews" - [jesus the nazarene, king] of the jews. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "king over the Jews." The Nazarene" stands in apposition to "Jesus" so giving the possible sense "Jesus from Nazareth."


John explains that many Jews are able to read the sign because the site of the crucifixion is close to the city (generally held to be where the church of the Holy Sepulchre is situated today) and because the notice is written in all three of the common languages used in Jerusalem at this time. Commentators often make much of the three languages, eg. Jesus is a king who is drawing all people to himself (inclusive). It is unlikely that John is making this point. Hebrew / Aramaic was the language of Palestinian Jews, Latin the official language of the Empire, and Greek the lingua franca of the time.

twn Ioudaiwn (oV) gen. "[many] of the Jews" - [therefore = so this title many] of the jews. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. "Many people read it", TEV.

anegnwsan (anaginwskw) aor. "read" - read. The site of the crucifixion is close to the city, and therefore, probably close to the road that led into the city. The notice was in three languages for all to read - this was a common practice. "Many of the Jewish people read the charge against him", CEV.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why many people are able to read the sign.

egguV + gen. "near" - Spacial. The adverb here serves as an improper preposition + gen.

thV polewV (iV ewV) gen. "the city" - [the place was near] the city [where jesus was crucified, and]. Genitive after egguV.

gegrammenon (grafw) perf. mid./pas. part. "[the sign was] written" - [it was] having been written [in hebrew, in latin, in greek]. The participle with the imperfect verb to be h\n, serves as a periphrastic pluperfect construction.


Pilate again serves as a witness to the truth by refusing the request of the religious authorities to change the wording of the sign.

oun "-" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "So the chief priests ......."

twn Ioudaiwn (oV) gen. "[the chief priests] of the Jews" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination, "over the Jews", limiting "chief priests." Why the tautology, "of the Jews"? Brown suggests John is rubbing it in since Jesus was king of the Jews.

elegon (ercomai) imperf. "protested" - were saying. The imperfect is tendential, expressing attempted / unrealized action - they got nowhere; "tried to tell Pilate", NEB.

tw/ Pilatw/ (oV) dat. "to Pilate" - Dative of indirect object.

mh grafe (grafw) "do not write" - do not write [the king of the jews]. The sense is "Do not leave it written / alter what you have written."

all (alla) "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ....."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement, recitative, expressing what should be written, namely that, "this man said 'I am king of the Jews.'"

ekeinoV "this man" - this one. The use of the demonstrative pronoun here is probably derogatory. "This person."

eipen (erdon) aor. "claimed" - said [i am king of the jews]. "You should have written, 'He claimed to be King of the Jews'", CEV.


gegrafa (grafw) perf. "I have written" - [pilate answered, what i have written] i have written. The first perfect takes a punctiliar sense, the second a continuous sense; "what I have written stays written", TH. This looks very much like a slap in the face to the Jewish authorities.


iii] The soldiers divide up Jesus' possessions, v23-24. As in Mark 15:24, the soldiers divide up Jesus' possessions, but cast lots for his undergarment which is a single piece of woven cloth. Making the point that the garment is a single piece explains why the solders cast lots for it, so fulfilling scripture. No other significance is intended, although many have been suggested, eg., the garment represents the long outer robe of the High Priest.

oJte "when [the soldiers crucified Jesus]" - [therefore = so the soldiers] when [they crucified jesus]. Serving to introduce a temporal clause, as NIV. English translations usually take liberty with "had crucified" to give the meaning "when the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus."

tessara adj. "[dividing them into] four [shares]" - [they took the garments of him and made] four [parts]. With merh, "parts", accusative direct object of the verb "to make." A Roman execution squads would normally consist of four soldiers, and it is their right to keep the possessions of those they crucify, so they divine, rip up Jesus' outer garment into four parts. The presence of four soldiers is only recorded in John. Presumably each prisoner had four soldiers to guard them. The synoptics only have "they divided his cloths."

eJkastw/ stratiwth/ dat. "[one] for each of them" - [a part] to each soldier. Dative of interest, advantage, as NIV.

ton citwna "the undergarment" - [and] they took the tunic. Accusative direct object of an assumed verb, probably "they took"; "they also took the tunic." The garment worn closest to the skin although some commentators suggest that it was a seamless robe or tunic similar to those worn by the religious elite. Obviously Jesus was stripped naked for crucifixion - stripping was normal for Roman crucifixions. "They took possession of his cloths."

arrafoV "seamless" - [but/and the tunic was] without a seam. Predicate adjective. Jewish law required that two different materials should not be joined together and so a seamless woven garment removes this possibility.

uJfantoV adj. "woven" - woven. Predicate adjective. As against pieces of material sown together.

ek .... di (dia) + gen. "from [top] to [bottom]" - from [the top] through [all]. The preposition ek expresses source / origin while dia is spacial "through space." "Woven as one piece."


mh sciswmen (scizw) subj. "let us not tear [it]" - [therefore = so they said to one another] let us not tear, rent, divide. Hortatory subjunctive. "Instead of tearing it up, lets......."

alla "-" - but. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction, "not ....., but ...."

lacwmen (lagcanw) subj. "let's decide by lot" - let's choose, select, receive, by casting lots, by a throw of the dice. Hortatory subjunctive. "Let's toss to see who gets it."

peri + gen. "-" - for [it]. Expressing advantage - often used instead of uJper; "for", or reference / respect, "concerning it."

tinoV gen. pro. "who [will get it]" - of whose [it will be]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

iJna + subj. "this happened that" - that. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, or consecutive clause expressing result / hypothetical result, "in order that / with the result that, so that."

plhrwqh/ (plhrow) aor. pas. subj. "might be fulfilled" - [the scripture] might be fulfilled. More likely the consequence of the events that surround the crucifixion rather than their purpose. "Such that the prophecies of the scriptures came true, namely ..."

hJ legousa (legw) pres. part. "that said" - the one saying. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "the scripture", as NIV.

diemerisanto (diamerizw) aor. "they divided" - they parted, divided up [the garments of me]. Cf., Psalm 22:18, the Passion Psalm.

eJautoiV dat. refl. pro. "among them" - to themselves. A dative of interest, advantage, "for themselves", or locative - space, as NIV, "amongst them."

ebalon (ballw) aor. "they cast" - [and upon the clothing of me] they threw, cast [lots]. "They gambled for my garments", CEV.

epi + acc. "for [my garment]" - upon. Either spacial in the sense of "over my clothing", ie., over the matter of the division of my clothing, or possibly reference / respect, "about, concerning my clothing."

men ..... de "-" - [therefore = so] on the one hand [the soldiers did these things] (v25) but on the other hand [there stood beside the cross of jesus ....]. Establishing an adversative comparative construction where the soldiers' actions are compared with that of the four woman.


iv] Witnesses to the crucifixion, v25-27. John indicates that four women witness the crucifixion (but see below) standing para, "beside", the cross. Note that Mark also has female witnesses, but they are "looking on from afar. It is unlikely that John has four women as a counterpart for the four soldiers because there were twelve soldiers all up, plus an officer - but yes, there were just four for Jesus. Only John mentions Mary's sister, and Mary the wife of Clopas (possibly to be identified with Salome the wife of Zebedee [Matt.27:56], mother of James and John, and Mary the mother of James and Joses [Mk.15:40]). Possibly Clopas identifies with Cleopas, Lk.24:18. Note again another example of the gospel working in family units - the salvation of households.

de "-" - but. Introducing the apodosis of the adversative comparative construction commenced in v24d.

para + dat. "near" - by, beside, near [the cross]. Spacial. Note that the Synoptics have the women standing at a distance, possibly to align with Psalm 88:8. They possibly did both. Certainly Barrett is wrong in suggesting that the Romans did not allow people near an execution. Both friend and foe could attend close at hand.

tou Ihsou "of Jesus" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic, "the cross on which Jesus was crucified", or just possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic.

eiJsthkeisan (iJsthmi) pluperf. "stood" - there had stood [the mother of him and]. The pluperfect is read as imperfect; "standing beside the cross", Barclay.

thV mhtroV (hr hroV) gen. "[his] mother's [sister]" - [the sister] of the mother [of him, mary the one = the wife of clopas]. The genitive is adjectival, relational. It is unclear whether "Mary the wife of Clopas" stands in apposition to "his mother's sister"; "his mother's sister, namely, Mary the wife of Clopas." Probably four separate women are intended, such that kai coordinates two pairs, cf., Mk. 15:40.

hJ "the wife" - the one. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the genitive Klwpa, "of Clopas", into a nominative standing in apposition to Maria, "Mary", "Mary, the one of Clopas" = "Mary the wife of Clopas."

tou Klwpa (aV a) gen. "of Clopas" - of clopas [and mary magdalene]. The genitive is adjectival, relational, limiting "the wife."


"The disciple whom he loved" is usually regarded as the apostle John, traditionally held to be the source of this gospel, although not necessarily its final author / editor. This disciple is obviously the same as the one referred to in 13:23, and possibly the same as the "other disciple" in 18:15. Luke agrees with John that there were males present with the women. The fact that the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested doesn't mean that they all fled from Jerusalem. The fact that Jesus sought to look after his mom is a very touching personal note.

idwn (oJraw) aor. part. "When [Jesus] saw" - [therefore = so jesus] having seen. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, introducing a temporal clause, as NIV. "When he saw his mother, with the disciple whom he loved".

hgapa (agapaw) imperf. "[whom] he loved" - [the = his mother and the disciple] whom he loved. The imperfect expresses durative aspect.

parestwta (paristhmi) perf. part. "standing nearby" - having stood beside. Accusative complement of the accusative direct object "disciples", standing in a double accusative construction. The perfect expressing the sense that they had come to stand near Jesus and continued to do so.

th/ mhtri (hr roV) dat. "[said] to her" - [says] to the = his mother. dative of indirect object.

ide oJ uiJoV sou "here is your son" - behold the son of yours. In antiquity the words "I leave you my mother to take care of" were commonly said by a dying son.


tw/ maqhth/ (hV ou) dat. "to the disciple" - [then he says] to the disciple. Dative of indirect object; "then he said to the disciple", ESV.

ide "here [is your mother]" - behold [the mother of you]. Interjection; "behold, you mother!"

apo + gen. "from [that time on]" - from [that hour]. Temporal use of the preposition; an Aramaism meaning; "from that very moment."

eiV + acc. "into [his home]" - [the disciple took her] into [the = his own home]. Spacial, expressing movement toward and arrival at. Rather than implying that the beloved disciple immediately took Mary away from the execution site to his home, the phrase would be better rendered, "into his care", Brown.


v] The end of the beginning, v28-30. Jesus knows that he has now accomplished the Father's will and so as to tie up one final item in the fulfillment of scripture he says "I am thirsty." It is likely that the scripture in mind is Psalm 69:21, "For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

meta touto "later" - after this. Temporal construction; it may be a general "after these things" meaning "later", but it is singular so it is probably saying that what is now recorded immediately follows the previous incident; "After that", Moffatt.

eidwV (oida) perf. part. "knowing" - [jesus] having known. The participle is adverbial, possibly causal; "since Jesus knew that all was now finished." "Aware", although some manuscripts have "seeing"; "Jesus, realizing that everything was now completed", Phillips.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what Jesus was aware of.

tetelestai (telew) perf. pas. "completed" - [already everything] has been completed, fulfilled, finished, ended. All that the Father had given the Son to do was now completed; "he had obediently accomplished the Father's work (17:4), and his will is completed down to the last detail", Pfitzner.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Probably introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that the scriptures may be fulfilled, Jesus says, 'I thirst.'"

teleiwqh/ (teleiow) aor. pas. "[the scripture] would be fulfilled" - [the scripture] may be completed, fulfilled [he says, i thirst]. Here "fulfilled", although not the word normally used for fulfill. C.F.D. Moule argues that the word is used here to indicate the looming end of fulfillment with regard Christ. The clause implies that the "all was now completed", including the joining of the beloved disciple with Mary. The grammarians note that this is one of those occasions when the subordinate clause, here a consecutive clause, precedes the main clause "I am thirsty."


An act of kindness serves to fulfill scripture.

skeuoV "a jar" - a vessel. Nominative subject of the verb "to lie down, set." "A jar of cheap wine was there", CEV.

oxouV (oV) gen. "of wine vinegar" - [was set, placed, full of] cheap wine. Genitive complement of the adjective "full of" / of measure; "full of / containing." So also the second use, "a sponge of (full of) wine vinegar." Given to quench Jesus' thirst, although some argue it was given to promote thirst. This is not to be confused with the wine and gall offered to Jesus early in the crucifixion as a relief from pain, cf. Mark and Matthew.

oun "so" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection, as NIV.

periqenteV (peirtiqhmi) aor. part. "put [the sponge] on" - [a sponge full of cheap wine] having been placed around, put around, clothed, wrapped around. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to bring, lift up"; "they put a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth", ESV.

uJsswpw/ (oV) dat. "a stalk of hyssop plant" - a hyssop branch. Dative complement of the peri prefix participle "having been wrapped around." Barrett suggests that this is another example of the evangelist getting his details wrong because he was so far removed from the events. A hyssop is a reed and could not hold the weight of a wine-soaked sponge. The trouble is the word is used of a number of plants. Some have suggested the word was confused with a similar word meaning "lance / javelin."

proshnegkan (prosferw) aor. "lifted [it]" - they brought, lifted up. They offered a drink to Jesus, but note, the "they" is not identified. Most assume that it was the soldiers.

stomati (stoma) dat. "lips" - [into] the mouth [of him]. Dative of indirect object. Possibly "lips", but "mouth" is better.


Jesus, having completed the Father's missions, breaths his last.

oJte "when" - [therefore = so] when. Introducing a temporal clause.

elaben (lambanw) aor. "he had received" - [jesus] received [the cheap wine]. Jesus drank the offered wine, a fact not mentioned in the Synoptics. "After Jesus drank the wine", CEV.

tetelestai (telew) perf. pas. "it is finished" - [he said] it has been accomplished, ended, finished. "Finished!", Barclay, although "all is accomplished" is probably better. "Not as a moan uttered in defeat, or as a sigh of relief. It is a cry of victory, proclaiming to the Father and to the world that his task is perfected", Pfitzner.

klinaV (klinw) aor. part. "he bowed [his head]" - [and] having bowed, bended [the = his head] Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "handed over." Another detail not mentioned in the Synoptics. "He bows his head as in sleep", Haenchen; "his head fell forward and he died", Phillips.

paredwken (paradidwmi) aor. "gave up [his spirit]" - he handed over, handed down, delivered, gave up .... [the = his spirit]. Possibly "entrusted" his being into the hands of the Father. The word is used of the Suffering Servant's death, Isaiah 53:12 - His life was handed over to death, and into the hands of his loving Father. "He surrendered his life to God", Barclay.


John Introduction.



[Pumpkin Cottage]