About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
17 tells us that Jesus was led away to His death by the Roman soldiers.
In those days when a person was executed they were led through city
streets and went outside of town, normally to a busy intersection to be
executed. The idea was that
many people could see the process and the execution. This was a very
public event and was meant to be a deterrent to any would-be criminal.
normally carried their own crosses as Jesus did here.
Jesus was killed the same day He was sentenced.
was crucified at Golgotha, which is Aramaic for the "Place of the Skull," a place where
executions routinely took place. Although
verse 18 John tells us that Jesus was killed with two criminals, one on
His right side, and the other on His left side.
This completes the humiliation of Jesus, the Son of God.
He came from heaven where He was completely one with God the
Father. He left that place of
oneness and became a man, born in a cave, raised in a hick town, lived a
poor and lowly life, and was killed as a criminal with the burden of sin
on His shoulders. You can read Paul's thoughts on the descent in
Philippians 2:6 to 11.
that John does not say that the two men executed with Jesus were
criminals. We learn that from
the other gospel accounts.
was the Roman way of execution. They
borrowed this form of execution from the Persians.
It was specifically used because it was a slow and very painful way
to die. It would often take
several days before the person actually died.
19 and 20 tell us that Pilate had a sign posted to the cross where Jesus
died. It read. "Jesus
21 tells us that the Jews protested to Pilate about this sign.
They wanted him to reword the sign to say that Jesus
"claimed" to be king of the Jews.
In verse 22 Pilate replied by saying, "What I have written, I
have written." Pilate
wasn’t going to change his mind. Did
Pilate believe that Jesus was king of the Jews?
I don't think he thought Jesus was king of the Jews.
I think he put this sign on the cross partly to spite the Jews.
He succeeded at that, yet, deep in his heart I think he wondered
about who Jesus really was. We
know from history that Pilate was removed from his position and recalled
are some facts about Pilate that predate Eusebius that Christian tradition
seems to ignore. One is that
Eusebius himself states that this is a tradition.
He doesn't say it is fact. Another
fact, although based somewhat on silence, is that both Josephus and Philo
don't say anything about Pilate killing himself.
Both Josephus and Philo lived in the first century.
Philo actually was not a fan of Pilate.
In his writings he wrote extensively about people of his day, many
of which did commit suicide. The
speculation is that if Pilate had committed suicide, Josephus, and
especially Philo, would have documented this.
thing to consider is that the Greek Orthodox Church believes Pilate's wife
became a Christian. They
canonized her as a saint and set aside October 27th as a
special day for her. Also, the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church believes that both Pilate and his wife became a
Christian and has canonized both as saints, making June 25 their special
day. This doesn't prove that Pilate or his wife actually became
Christians. This also doesn't
prove that Pilate did or didn't kill himself.
it comes to the death of Pilate history is fairly silent, but knowing the
times, and knowing that when a Roman leader fell out of good will, they
often did commit suicide instead of being executed by Roman authorities.
verse 23 onward we see that four soldiers divided Jesus’ clothes.
There is much speculation just how this happened, and how many
pieces of clothes Jesus wore. We
know there were four soldiers, and we know that Jesus’ undergarment was
special in the sense that it was seamless. In
verse 24 we learn that the soldiers decided not to rip this seamless
garment, suggesting that they could have torn his outer garment into four
sections. Soldiers often took
anything that had value from the person being executed.
They decided to draw lots to see who won this piece of clothing.
dividing of Jesus’ clothes and the drawing of lots was in fulfillment of
Psalm 22:18. You can see how
detailed prophecy can be at times. This
is also interesting in the sense of how the Psalms is seen from a
prophetic nature. If you read
Psalm 22 you will understand that it first applied to the writer, but
beyond that there is the prophetic nature to these words.
If you read Psalm 22, which I suggest you do, you will see a good
description of Jesus' death on the cross, a description that you do not
see in the gospel accounts.
verse 25 we see the NIV mention the fact that 4 women stood near the
cross, along with John. Some
suggest because of the Greek sentence structure that there were only 3
women, but I will not elaborate on this point.
is interesting is what Jesus said on the cross.
The other gospels say that these people stood afar off, not really
by the cross. John, who was
there, said that they stood close to the cross.
Most likely these people were afar off at first but at some point
in time when people began to disburse they would have the chance to get
closer, which they did. At
that point Jesus speaks to them from the cross.
Jesus is in the moment of complete agony and torture and He is still
thinking of others. In verse
26 He says to Mary His mother: "Dear woman, here is your son."
You might wonder why Jesus called His mother "woman" and
not "mother." This
was just one common way of addressing one's mother back then.
then says to John; "Here is your mother."
From that point onward John looked after Mary as if she was his
biological mother. Jesus was
looking out for His earthly mother while dying on the cross.
I would suggest that it is bad hermeneutics for Catholics to use
this verse to suggest that Mary is the mother of all Christians.
All that Jesus was doing here was telling John to look after Mary.
We shouldn't read anything more into this than that.
might want to note that Jesus calls Mary as He often did, (John 2 – at
the wedding) "woman," not "mother."
This very fact should say something to Catholic theology that makes
Mary the mother of God. I
believe Jesus understood Mary to be his earthly mother only, and nothing
more. Beyond this she was a
woman, not unlike any other woman, except for her very special motherly
bond she had with Jesus. Jesus
never made a big deal about Mary being His earthly mother, but He did
provide for her in these last moments by asking John to take care of her.
should note that the text does not use the name "John" here.
The text says "the disciple that Jesus loved," as it says
in a few other places. Most
all Bible teachers understand that disciple to be John.
This is the way that John describes himself throughout his account.
would Jesus ask John to take care of Mary?
We know a little about the personalities of some of the disciples.
We know that Peter was impulsive, maybe not very sensitive.
From what we know of John, he is very pastoral, very caring,
probably a gentle man. This
might be why Jesus chose John to care for His mother.
I believe Jesus' and John's personalities were such that they had a
very special relationship with each other, thus the reason for the term
"the disciple that Jesus loved."
It seems apparent that Mary's husband Joseph was no longer alive at this time or else Jesus would not have asked John to care for Mary. We know little about Joseph. Just how long he lived after he and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem at the age of 12, the last time Joseph is mentioned in the Bible, is not known.
do know that Jesus had brothers as seen in Luke 8:19.
It is interesting to note that Jesus did not ask any of His
brothers to look after their mother.
He asked John instead.
My thinking on this is that at this moment in time His brothers
were not believers.
They did not become believers until after His resurrection.
For this reason, maybe, Jesus asked John to take care of Mary.