John 19:16–42—Jesus is Crucified and Buried

So they took Jesus away. 17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). 18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 And Pilate posted a sign over him that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

 21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”

 22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

 23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.

 25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

 31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also can believe.)36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

 38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. 39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. 40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. 41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. 42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Points of Interest

‘Pilate posted a sign over him’—these would be the charges against Jesus.

‘They divided my garments among themselves’—this is Psalm 22:18. This psalm as a whole is strange and amazing. In it David, writing about a thousand years before Jesus, talks about some of his own suffering in terms that eerily evoke Jesus’ crucifixion. Take a look, if you’re inclined.

‘the day of preparation’—the day of preparation is when the Passover lamb is made. The religious leaders are concerned because they don’t want these executions to get in the way of the big, busy holiday schedule. John, however, seems to be mentioning it because he is presenting Jesus as a new Passover lamb. The Passover lamb, you may recall, is eaten in memory of God sparing the Israelites during the plague of the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12). Way back in chapter 1 (v.29), John the Baptist had called Jesus, ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ The story is now catching up to John the Baptist’s pronouncement.

‘didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath’—they don’t have much problem with killing an innocent man, but doing a funeral on the Sabbath is unthinkable.

‘hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken’—broken legs would make it harder for them to keep breathing, which would require raising themselves up a little (IVP Bible Background Commentary).

‘This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account’—I think John is saying that he actually saw this happen with his own eyes. Since we know that the ‘disciple Jesus loved’ is nearby (v.26), this lends extra credence to the idea that this beloved disciple and the author are one and the same.

‘Not one of his bones will be broken’—perhaps a reference to Psalm 34:20: ‘For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!’ It could also be another way in which John is connecting Jesus to the Passover lamb, the bones of which were supposed to remain unbroken (Exodus 12:46).

Taking It Home

For you: Talk to Jesus today about how you feel physically. Are you in pain? Sick? Are you exhausted? Hungry? Out of shape? Jesus’ dying request for something to drink reminds me of just how basic and human our needs (even Jesus’) often are—a good meal, more sleep, exercise, health. Ask Jesus for a good relationship with your body (we seem to tend to idolize, hate, or ignore our bodies) and for good health for your body. Ask Jesus if he has anything he wants to say to you about this. Consider if there is something you could do with your body that would bring you closer to Jesus. Again it could be a nap, making a really great meal, going for a walk, an impromptu dance party…you decide.

For your 6: Ever wonder what it was like for Mary and Jesus’ followers to watch Jesus be executed? It just sounds terribly traumatic—especially since they didn’t necessarily know how the story would turn out, as we now do. Ask Jesus to heal any trauma that your 6 have experienced (it seems like all humankind unfortunately gets healthy doses of it.) Pray that your 6 wouldn’t be defined by the trauma and instead that Jesus would meet them in any lingering pain.

For our church: Joseph of Arimathea is a follower of Jesus who had gone completely under the radar until all of a sudden he plays a key part in Jesus’ story (being the one to claim and care for Jesus’ body seems like a pretty big deal, right?) Ask Jesus to raise people up in our church who are flying under the radar. Our hunch is that there are a lot of people in our church with incredible things to offer, but for one reason or another they’re a little undercover. Ask Jesus to remove whatever is holding people back and to raise more people into leadership. Who knows, maybe it’s you?