Jesus Delivered to be Crucified - John 19:1-16

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — II Corinthians 5:21

The hearts of men are naturally the same in all generations. We are liable to look hack upon the sins of the soldiers and of the Jews of the time of Jesus, and self-righteously condemn them. We are inclined to swell up in our pride and to think, if not to say, that we would not have done such a wicked thing as they did then, had we been there. But we forget, when we take that attitude, that we are naturally just as vile and wicked as they were. Let us bear this in mind as we study this lesson, and let us remember that it is only by the grace of God that men's hearts can be changed. Underneath the ordinarily calm and apparently sane exterior of men lurk hellish tendencies which they themselves may never realize until it is too late, and they have done some terrible thing which they thought was impossible for them to do. God, Who sees not as men see, looking not upon the outward appearance but upon the heart, has recorded in His Word that the human heart is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." But the grace of God is sufficient for the worst of sinners, and though we find in this lesson a dark picture which brings out clearly the natural sinfulness of men, still we find the grace of God in the midst of this terrible scene, giving a message of life. Jer. 17:9; I Sam. 16:7.


John 19:1-5

Pilate, before delivering Jesus up to be crucified, had Him scourged. The soldiers took delight in this fiendish act, and even when the body of their victim was raw and bleeding with innumerable wounds their bestiality had hot 'reached its limits. They plaited a crown of thorns and pressed it upon the brow of Jesus, then they mocked Him, and made sport of Him. Oh! how our hearts should burn within us when we realize the real significance of that scene! Jesus had the power to deliver Himself from the hands of His enemies. He had the power to put an end to their cruelties, but He did not. He suffered them all for us. Let us remember that as Jesus bore the insults and as He patiently submitted His bare back to the lacerating strokes of a scourge, whose lashes were tipped with steel hooks. He was doing that for love of our poor unworthy souls. Those Gentile soldiers must have broken His heart for the love which He had for them, because He had come to die for all men, including His tormentors. But were they any worse than many Christians who honor Him with their lips but whose hearts are far from Him? Surely that is just as truly mockery as for those soldiers to pay Him mock homage as they did, and surely it cuts into the heart of Jesus more cruelly even than the la-h cut His flesh. Mark 7:6; Matt. 15:8; Isa. 29:13.


John 19:6-7

After the scourging Pilate led Jesus forth before the Jews, in order (so lie said) that they might know that he found no fault in Him. When the Jews saw Jesus their fury knew no bounds and they cried, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" The chief priests and Pharisees stirred up the rabble to that cry, and they were directly responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. But was their sin any worse than the sin of those so-called ministers and teachers who today crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame in their denial of all the essential teachings of the Word concerning Him? Surely not. And as the chief priests and Pharisees found many ready to follow their leadership and to cry with them, "Crucify Him," so today modernistic leaders find many ready and willing to encourage them in their denials of the essential truths of the doctrine of Christ, and to pay them for their destructive teaching. Ezek. 34:1-10; II Tim. 3:1-9; I Tim. 4:1-2.


John 19:8-12, 16

One cannot help pitying poor Pilate. He was torn between his fear of the Jews, and the fear that perhaps after all Jesus' claims might be true. We find him at one time leaguing himself with the Jews in their attempts to convict Jesus, then we find him trying weakly to release Him, and finally we find him delivering Him up to be crucified. It seems that Pilate was not certain in his own mind about the One Who was before him. One is reminded of the cry of Elijah to the children of Israel, "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him" (I Kings 18:21). In his weak vacillating, Pilate reminds us of many who are trembling on the brink of an acceptance of Jesus, but who have not courage enough boldly to accept Him as their Saviour and to confess Him as such. Like Pilate many poor people who are in this predicament waver until finally it is too late. Their hesitancy proves their doom. They go out into a hopeless, Christless eternity. Mark 16:16; II Thes. 1:7-9.


John 19:12-15

The Jews in insisting upon their law broke it themselves. So intent were they upon securing the death of Jesus that when Pilate said to them, "Behold your King," they cried out, "Away with Him! Crucify Him!" And when Pilate asked, "Shall I crucify your King?" They answered, "We have no king but Caesar." The law definitely provided that the Jews should not set a stranger over them in authority. In thus choosing Caesar as their king, and rejecting Jesus they broke the very law to which they appealed in insisting upon the death of Jesus. Then, too, they refused to believe the Word of God in which He clearly promised to raise up a King unto them of the seed of David. 'The King of the Jews was the King of prophecy, but the Jews shut their eyes to the prophecies and stopped their ears to the promises. They said, "We have no king but Caesar." Many, like them, are enthroning a strange king in their lives. When they face the claims of Jesus upon them, and hear His loving offer of life they respond, "We have no king but gold, — We have no king but lust, — We have no king but pleasure," etc. How many false "kings" might be named, and all of them are superseding the Lord Jesus in the lives and hearts of men who have been bought by His precious blood. Deut. 17:15; H Sam. 7:12-16; Psa. 18:50.


I Peter 2:24

The guilt of crucifying Jesus and rejecting Him cannot be limited to the men of His own time. We are just as guilty as they were. It was for our sins He suffered so. It was because we were guiltly, hell-doomed sinners that it was necessary for Jesus to die upon the Cross. And in our stubbornness and sinfulness we have multiplied His sufferings. God reached down into our time by His marvelous grace and gathered up all of our sins, placing them upon His own Son. Does it not make us tremble to realize how many He had to answer for in our behalf? When we catch the glimpse of Calvary which God wants us to have, we will think less of the sin and brutality of the Jews and the Romans, and more of our own sin and unworthiness. Then we win find that the consciousness of sin is swallowed up in an ineffable joy because of the love which made Him willing to suffer so for us. To the question, "Who crucified Jesus?" we can only answer, "We did it." Truly the Jews demanded His death, and the Roman soldiers performed the actual deed, but you and I, dear friend, by our sins made it necessary for Him to suffer. God looked down through the years and saw us guilty and helpless and undone before Him. He saw that only through the acceptable sacrifice of His Son could He save us, and He gave Him to be the propitiation for our sins. John 3:16; Rom. 8:3-4; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:26, 28.


II Corinthians 8:9

In the sufferings which Jesus endured at the hands of the soldiers God gives us a wonderful message of grace. He was bruised and bleeding, — for us! Many years before this time Isaiah had cried concerning Him, "He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:56). The bleeding, bruised body of Jesus testifies eloquently of the love of God in letting Him die for us. Then, too, the crown of thorns upon His brow gives a clear testimony. Thorns are symbolical in the Scripture of sin, and the resultant curse of God. It was not until man had sinned that God said, "Thorns and thistles shall the earth bring forth unto you" (Gen. 3:18). The crown of thorns upon the brow of Jesus testifies that God laid upon Him the sin of men, — that He Who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:10-13.

The simple story of Jesus' sufferings contains power to save the souls of men. Too often we hinder the power of the Gospel by making it too ornamental. Ministers have found that men and women, boys and girls sit entranced when they simply tell the story of Jesus' sufferings. We need to hold before their eyes the bleeding, lacerated form of our Lord, and to tell them that He did this for them. We need to point them to the crown of thorns and the blood which dropped from His pierced brow. We need to make them see Him, bearing His cross up the mountain side. We should let them hear the angry cries of the rabble as they push, and jostle Jesus, spitting upon Him, buffeting Him and plucking the beard from His face. We need to let them hear the sound of the hammers as they drive the nails through His quivering, bleeding flesh. We need to let them look upon the Son of God hanging in unspeakable agony upon the cross, and to hear Him saying, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." We need to let them witness His death agonies, and to hear Him cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" Then we should point them to the empty tomb and tell them that the Lord has risen again. After they have clearly seen the sufferings of Jesus we should remind them that all this physical suffering is but a picture of the more awful spiritual suffering which He endured in His separation from God. Jesus literally endured the torments of the damned in hell. He did it that we might have eternal life, and that we might not have to suffer so. If men will only gaze upon Him by faith, God will give them eternal life. Let us tell them the simple story of the Cross and seek to lead them to Him. Rom. 1:16-17.