Arrest and Crucifixion
(John 18 & 19)

Fred R. Coulter—May 24, 1986

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I'm not, as I said, going to coordinate this with the rest of the accounts of the crucifixion and so forth. You can make a study through A Harmony of the Gospels and that will coordinate it all for you.

John 18:1: "After saying these things, Jesus went out with His disciples to a place beyond the winter stream of Kidron, where there was a garden into which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who was betraying Him, also knew of the place because Jesus had often gathered there with His disciples" (vs 1-2).

Let's just refresh our memories: a few days before this event all of the Jewish religious leaders were saying, 'Behold, the world has gone after Him.' They plotted to kill Him; they wanted to get rid of Him. Just think of all of the uproar that Jesus had caused against the 'religious' leaders. They wanted to do Him in, and here they had the perfect opportunity.

When you think about it, that's when most of the dastardly things are done, at midnight when people are asleep and no one can put up a protest or stop it. That's exactly what happened here at this time. And Jesus knew that it would.

Verse 3: "Then Judas, after receiving a band and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with torches and lamps and weapons." Kind of picture this in your mind. Here they come clanking down the road. It's not very bright at night when you have lanterns, torches and things, and it's kind of eerie, too. Just picture this at about midnight coming onto one o'clock coming down to get Jesus. They always do that.

This reminds me of the IRS, they come in, you haven't done anything. If they really suspect you of doing something wrong—whether you're right or wrong—they lock up your bank account, they lien your house, take your car, your boat and it's gone before you can say, 'Yeah but…' When do they do it? Early in the morning!

Verse 4: "Jesus, therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him…" Just think about this in relationship to what He must have been thinking when He was praying the prayer in John 17. We're going to understand a little bit more about this situation, what Jesus was thinking about just before He was arrested. "…knowing all the things that were coming upon Him…" That must have really been heavy mentally and spiritually.

Psalm 69 is a Psalm about the thoughts of Jesus, the majority of them, at this particular time. Not all of them, because remember that the Bible says, 'a little here and a little there, line upon line, precept upon precept.' Let's think about some of the other words that Jesus prayed. Obviously, not just the words of John 17 being the only thing that He said during that prayer for three hours. He prayed for an hour and came back and found the disciples sleeping and said 'watch.' He went back and prayed and came back again the second time and found them sleeping and said, 'Why can't you pray and watch lest you enter into temptation,' and went back and prayed the third time.

It also showed that He was praying to the point where His sweat was as 'great drops of blood' falling from Him. He was so into the prayer and knowing all things that would happen that God sent an angel to strengthen Him. Have you ever gone through such a traumatic experience that it left you physically weak. That's what happened to Jesus, knowing all the things that would happen pressing in upon His mind. With that in mind:

Psalm 69:1: "Save me, O God, for the waters have come in upon my soul!" That's how you feel, just like you're drowned and overwhelmed in it.

Verse 2: "I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overwhelm me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; those who would cut me off are mighty being wrongfully my enemies. Should I restore what I did not take away?" (vs 2-4).

That is an interjection there of David. Obviously, when David was inspired to write this Psalm, we'll see certain things that apply directly to David. I'm sure that King David felt this way when he was praying, but this is also a prophecy of Christ.

Verse 5: "O God, You know my foolishness… [obviously not Christ, because He was not foolish] …and my sins are not hidden from You." David sinned, but Christ bore the sins of the world!

Verse 6: "Do not let those who wait on You, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed because of me; let not the ones who seek You be ashamed because of me, O God of Israel." Obviously, again, this has to do with David.

Verse 7: "Because for Your sake I have borne reproach, shame has covered my face." This can apply directly to Christ. I don't think many people say it, or really portray it, but when Jesus was crucified He was naked; that's how they did it! He suffered the most humiliating and degradating treatment that could be given to any human being.

Verse 8: "I have become a stranger to My brothers and an alien to My mother's children." I'm sure that refers directly to Christ. What happened? All the disciples left Him! The only apostle that was there all through the whole ordeal was John. The only one!

Verse 9: "For the zeal of Your house has eaten Me up…" That's quoted in John 2 when Jesus cleans out the temple.

"…and the reproaches of those who reproached You have fallen upon Me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, it became my reproach" (vs 9-10). Then it goes back into the situation with David.

Verse 11: "I also made sackcloth my clothing, and I became a proverb to them." That's referring to David because Jesus didn't wear sackcloth and cover Himself with ashes.

Verse 12: "Those who sit in the gate speak about me; and I was the song of the drunkards." It just makes you wonder if Christ was, too.

Verse 13: "But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, in an acceptable time; O God, in the abundance of Your mercy answer me, in the Truth of Your salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me and out of the deep waters" (vs 13-14).

  • Did God deliver Him?
  • Did God deliver Jesus Christ?
  • Yes, He did, but not in the way that people think!
  • He delivered Him how? Through the resurrection!

He didn't deliver Jesus off the cross. He delivered Him out of the grave!

Verse 15: "Do not let the flood of waters overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut its mouth upon me. Answer me, O LORD, for Your steadfast love is good…" (vs 15-16). I just imagine that Jesus praised God for His love, truth and kindness when He was going through this ordeal.

"…turn unto me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. And hide not Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; answer me speedily" (vs 16-17). This tells us what we need to do when we're in trouble; call out to God! Don't try your own devices.

Verse 18: "Draw near unto my soul and redeem it; deliver me because of my enemies. You have known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor; my enemies are all before You" (vs 18-19). Obviously, not Christ, but if He's bearing the sins of all the world then in type it fits.

Verse 20: "Reproach has broken my heart…" You've heard the doctrine that Christ died of a broken heart. No, He did not die of a broken heart! He died of the loss of blood. But did Jesus experience what we, as human beings, would call a broken heart? Yes, He did! Forsaken by all! What did He even say of God while He was on the cross? My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

"…and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for sympathy, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave Me gall for My food…" (vs 20-21). That's what happened to Christ when He was on the cross.

"…and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink" (v 21)—which is a very bitter wine filled with narcotics to stem the pain of those who were on the cross, and He would have some relief by other people. That's why they put it on a sponge so He could suck on it. It actually had some narcotics and spices to take away the pain. That's why they said it was vinegar; it was spices and very bitter wine.

Notice how this weaves in and out between David and Christ so much. It goes two or three verses talking about Christ, then a verse or two it's talking about David, and two or three more talking about Christ and His experience. I can't imagine even what David went through. I've prayed some pretty sorrowful prayers from things that have happened in our lives, but never as this. I know that most of us at one time or another have come to a point when we have felt brokenhearted. That's a lonely time.

  • What was Jesus to do?
  • What was part of His mission in preaching the Gospel?
  • Also the mission of the people of God?
  • To heal the brokenhearted!

He was in every way tempted like we are, but yet, didn't sin. He experienced everything that all human beings have experienced. He was brokenhearted. I know that when I listen to The Messiah, it is really something! It's in the section where it says that He was despised and brokenhearted. No one stood with Him! I wanted to cover that as some of the thoughts and things that Jesus went through.

I've understood that Jesus did not die of a broken heart, and I've gone through this Psalm before, but it's never really occurred to me until listening to The Messiah, then reading it and, yes, He did have what we would call a broken heart. He did not die of it. He died from the crucifixion. We're talking about mentally. I'm sure that that's why the angels had to come and strengthen Him, knowing all the things that were to take place…

Have you ever anticipated something? When you anticipate something that is going to be not very nice, how do you feel? Miserable! So, knowing all the things that were going to take place, I imagine that He literally had, before the angels strengthened Him, no physical strength left in Him because of the trauma! He was praying so hard, but He was literally brokenhearted knowing what was going to happen.

John 18:4: "Jesus, therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forward and said to them, 'Who are you seeking?' They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarean.'…." (vs 4-5).

Let's just do a little imagining. Put yourself as one of the soldiers. You were told to get a lantern and go out there and bring in the guy that they said to bring in. You really didn't have anything against Jesus, because you didn't know much about Him. You knew that you had to go out there. You're one of those to arrest Him. You walk up and Jesus says, "…Who are you seeking?'…."

Verse 5: "They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarean.' Jesus said to them, 'I AM.'…. ['ego eimi'] …And Judas, who was betraying Him, was also standing with them. But when He said to them, 'I AM,' they went backward and fell to the ground" (vs 5-6). If you were that soldier, what would think at the point you fell over, rolled over on your back and dropped your torch, your spear fell down when this guy says 'I AM He!' I've often wondered if I were there, what would I have thought? None of us have ever experienced that. No one has ever come up and said in such a loud voice that I rolled over backward. There are times we step back.

That was at night, and when that happened all the torches and lanterns fell to the ground, and the spears and swords and everything. Then they get themselves up and:

Verse 7: "Then He asked them again, 'Who are you seeking?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarean.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I AM. Therefore, if you are seeking Me, allow these to go their way'; so that the saying might be fulfilled which He had said, 'Of those whom You have given Me, not one of them have I lost'" (vs 7-9).

Remember, this is Simon who said, 'Lord, we're ready to go to the death with You; we're ready to fight thing out.' Thomas/Didymus was right there with him and said, 'Yes, Lord, we will go; we won't let it happen.' Here's Peter and he had a sword:

Verse 10: "Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear…." Picture yourself as a servant of the high priest. You're out here and someone takes a sword and whacks off your ear. I don't know if it was real clean and the ear just fell to the ground, or whether it was not too clean, a little bloody, and it hung down. It must have been a bloody, gory mess! That thing must have been sharp! I've had people say that they didn't know anything about razors and scissors. So, Peter cut off his right ear:

"…And the servant's name was Malchus. But Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword into the sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me?'" (vs 10-11). Then we know that Jesus healed the servant's ear; He touched it and healed it. I would have to assume by that that when Peter cut off the ear it was hanging and dangling in a bloody mess, and Jesus pushed it back up and touched it and it was healed. It doesn't record that He reached down on the ground and picked up the ear and stuck it back on his head.

If you were that servant, what would you think? My thought would be, 'Hey, I'm not so inclined to arrest this man. Maybe there's something to what's being said about this guy.'

Verse 12: "Then the band and the chief captain and the officers of the Jews took hold of Jesus, and bound Him… [tied His hands behind His back] …and they led Him away to Annas first; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now, it was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was profitable for one man to perish for the people. But Simon Peter and the other disciple followed Jesus." (vs 12-15).

John, whom Jesus also loved. We'll also see that John had a little courage, as much as and more than Peter. We talk about the courage and leadership of Peter, but remember, John was the one whom Jesus loved.

Verse 16: "And that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood outside at the door. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in." John actually went out and brought in Peter. 'Let him in; the high priest knows me and that's all right to bring him in.'

Verse 17: "Then the maid who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, 'Are you not also a disciple of this Man?'…. [of course, we know the denial] …He said, 'I am not.'" That's why when it gets down to blood, guts and gore, it's going to have to be by faith and God's Spirit to say, 'Yes, I am a Christian; yes, I follow Him.' It's so easy to say, 'No' and slink back and come another day. That's too much the way human nature is; avoid the confrontation.

Verse 18: "Now, the servants and the officers had made a fire, for it was cold; and they were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was also standing and warming himself." So, he didn't go right up to where Jesus was with the high priest. He came over and stood there at the fire. And I imagine that after he denied it the first time, he thought, 'Jesus said I would deny three times, I won't do it the third time. I've done it once and I'll just stand here and be inconspicuous by the fire.'

Verse 19: "Then the high priest questioned Jesus concerning His disciples and concerning His teachings. Jesus answered him, 'I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where the Jews always assemble, and I spoke nothing in secret…. [very wise answer] …Why do you question Me? Ask those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, they know what I said.' But after He said these things, one of the officers who was standing by struck Jesus on the face…" (vs 19-22). It wasn't some little frail hand. I imagine it was a nice big hefty soldier hand, a lot of tough muscles behind it and whacked Jesus across the face:

"…saying, 'Do You answer the high priest in that way?' Jesus answered him, 'If I have spoken evil, testify of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?' Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest. Now, as Simon Peter was standing and warming himself, they said to him, 'Are you not also one of His disciples?' He denied it, and said, 'I am not.' One of the servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of the one whose ear Peter had cut off…" (vs 22-26). Here's the guy who had his ear whacked off by Peter. You would know for sure that if someone came up and whacked off your ear, you would know that was the one.
"…said, 'Didn't I see you in the garden with Him?' Then Peter again denied it; and immediately a cock crowed" (vs 26-27). I always thought that roosters only crow at sunrise until one night I stayed over at someone's house in Reno and about a quarter to three in the morning they started—2:45! So, you know about what time it is!

Did this just happen by chance? No, it was prophesied! If it was prophesied—which it was—then God had to make it happen, which He did! I don't know exactly how He made it happen, but could it be that there was an angel there that sort of mentally frustrated and blocked Peter so he would deny Christ? I don't know! But regardless of when the roosters begin crowing, something had to make the rooster crow immediately when Peter denied Jesus the third time! I just wonder if there was an angel there, and whatever they do to make the rooster crow, that happened instantly! So, God is going to go to this detail to make it happen, make it work out. Let's use that as some more faith in God!

Verse 28: "Now then, they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the judgment hall, and it was early. But they did not go into the judgment hall, so that they would not be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover." We know all about the 14th/15th controversy; I'm not going to go through it here. This shows that there were two days in which the Jews ate the Passover. The day that Jesus ate it, He said, 'With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you.' His disciples came to Him and said, 'Where do You desire that we prepare the Passover. Jesus kept the Passover the day before. The Jews kept it the day after.

The one that Jesus kept obviously was the right one, but since Jesus died on the Passover Day He did not ignore the Jews' Passover but really, in fact, showed that with their taking the Passover on the 15th that their Passover did indeed reject the Messiah. Were they interested:

  • in love?
  • in truth?
  • in mercy?
  • in understanding?

NO! They didn't want to be defiled! Only their 'religious' cleanliness.

Verse 29: "Therefore, Pilate came out to them and said, 'What accusation do you bring against this man?' They answered and said to him…" (vs 29-30). The same way that people do. If you can't answer directly, you say:

"…'If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.'…. [Why do you even question it?] …Then Pilate said to them, 'You take Him and judge Him according to your own law.' But the Jews said to him, 'It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death'" (vs 30-32). That was against the Roman law, because they were under Roman domination.

Verse 32: "So that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which He had spoken to signify by what death He was about to die. Then Pilate returned to the judgment hall and called Jesus… [he didn't know what he was getting himself into] …and said to Him, 'Are You the King of the Jews?' Jesus answered him, 'Do you ask this of yourself, or did others say it to you concerning Me?' Pilate answered Him, 'Am I a Jew? The chief priests and your own nation have delivered You up to me. What have You done?'" (vs 32-35). Didn't even answer.

Verse 36: "Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world.…'" The little sideline is the Kingdom of God is on this earth. NO! Not of this world!

"'…If My kingdom were of this world then would My servants fight, so that I might not be delivered up to the Jews. However, My kingdom is not of this world.' Pilate, therefore, answered Him, 'Then You are a king?' Jesus answered, 'As you say, I am a king. For this purpose I was born… ['gennao'—in this case not begotten because He was referring to His birth] …and for this reason I came into the world, that I may bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth hears My voice.' Pilate said to Him, 'What is Truth?'…." (vs 36-38). Same thing today, especially among 'religionists.'

One true saying by Jesus, 'Think not that I have come to bring peace on earth; I came to bring a sword. To set a son against his father, and the mother against the daughter, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law, and the foes are going to be those of your own household!'

Is that not true of every one of us here today? Absolutely true! What is Truth? The Word of God is Truth! Pilate didn't know that!

"…And after saying this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, 'I do not find any fault in Him. And it is a custom with you…'" (vs 38-39). Pilate wasn't interested in Truth; slimy politics involved; we don't think like that. When we say something we'll say it and stand by it.

"'…that I release one to you at the Passover. Do you then desire that I release the King of the Jews to you?' But they all shouted again, saying, 'Not this one, but Barabbas.' Now, Barabbas was a robber" (vs 39-40). In another place it shows that Barabbas was a murderer.

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John 19

John 19:1: "Then Pilate, therefore, took Jesus and scourged Him." There were two kinds of scourges that they had. They had what is called 'a cat of nine tails' and they would put bones and pieces of metal and when they would be scourged, the end of the whip would be traveling at a tremendous speed and suddenly stop as it wrapped around the person they were scourging. Then they would pull back and it would just really rip the flesh, gouge and slash.

Someone said that they saw his grandfather scourged in one of the island countries in the Caribbean and in ten strokes he was dead. So, the scourging goes over pretty lightly here, not dwelling on all the gory aspects of it. It was a terrible and wretched thing. It is was miserable.

We have the prophecy that says that 'He [Jesus] was marred more than any man.' We also have the prophecy showing that 'He was beaten for our sins, and He bore our sins and carried our diseases.' He was a man acquainted with sorrow. Psalm 69 shows that He had a broken heart. I never thought of it before, but how many people give up on life because they have a broken heart? That makes me think a little bit more about the prayer of Jesus when He said, 'Father, if You be willing, let this cup pass; but nevertheless, let not My will be done but Your will.' I'm beginning to believe that He felt so alone and so betrayed—and at that point, brokenhearted—that He was hoping that He wouldn't have to go through it.

Have you ever gone through an experience like that? You hope you don't have to do it, you're wishing, wanting not to go through it. Then you have to go through it. I think that's more the flavor of the prayer and attitude of Jesus at that time than what we may have traditionally thought of.

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John 19:2: "And after platting a crown of thorns, the soldiers put it on His head…" Have you ever seen these Palestinian type bushes with thistles? They have thorns on them that are just like iron spikes. That's what they made it out of and put it on His head.

Let's think of this: Every indignity that you have ever read of or heard of that has been done to human beings, Jesus had done to Him. Being God in the flesh, having never sinned, was a tremendous ordeal to go through. That's why the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Way; there's no other way. He's the only One Who was righteous! Nothing else can pay for our sins except the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! So, they put this on His head, but I'm sure that they didn't just put it on, I'm sure they mashed down on it.

"…and they threw a purple cloak over Him, And kept on saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they struck Him with the palms of their hands. Then Pilate went out again and said to them, 'Behold, I bring Him out to you, so that you may know that I do not find any fault in Him.'" (vs 2-4). Pilate said that three times:

  • John 18:38: "…'I do not find any fault in Him.'"
  • John 19:4: "'…I do not find any fault in Him.'"
  • What did he do when he was done with it? He washed his hands and they turned to blood! (Matt.)

Verse 5: "Then Jesus went out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak; and he said to them, 'Behold the Man!' But when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried aloud, saying, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him!'…. [here is public mob action; they are effective politically] …Pilate said to them, 'You take Him and crucify Him because I do not find any fault in Him.' The Jews answered him, 'We have a law, and according to our law it is mandatory that He die, because He made Himself the Son of God.' Therefore, when Pilate heard this saying, he was even more afraid." (vs 5-8).

Probably when he heard that he thought: What have I got myself into. You know what happens when something really dawns on you? You can just feel yourself go white from head to toe! You get numb in your knees and your stomach sort of balls together. I think that's what happened to Pilate and he was more afraid.

Verse 9: "And he went into the judgment hall again, and said to Jesus, 'Where have You come from?' But Jesus did not give him an answer. Then Pilate said to Him, 'Why don't You speak to me? Don't You know that I have authority to crucify You, and authority to release You?' Jesus answered, 'You would not have any authority against Me if it were not given to you from above. For this reason, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin'" (vs 9-11). That tells you a little bit more about Judas Iscariot.

Every once in a while the question comes up: Did Judas commit the unpardonable sin? Was he created for that role and that was the one that was lost? I don't know! But it does say in 2-Pet. 2 that there are certain people who are created 'brute beasts,' who are made for destruction. This is one of those things that is filed in the back of my mind and every once in a while it pops up. {note sermon: The Enigma of Judas Iscariot}

We cannot give the final judgment on Judas Iscariot. I think the only thing we can do is trace the history of what he was and did and how he ended up and what the Bible says about him. The ultimate judgment has to be with God. "…the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin." That was not only Judas Iscariot, but that would have to include the chief priests, the scribes, the officers who went out to arrest Him. All of those would be considered in that group who delivered Him.

Verse 12: "Because of this saying, Pilate sought to release Him; but the Jews cried out, saying…" Notice how cleverly this is done. Have you ever been in a political trap? Just watch television, there will be political traps. Here it is:

"…'If you release this Man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.'" (v 12). Is Pilate more interested in retaining his power and position than following truth? Always power and position! They're saying that if you release Him, 'we will get you as a seditious enemy of Caesar, because you befriended One Who called Himself King of the Jews. Pretty headed charge for a Roman.

Verse 13: "Therefore, after hearing this saying, Pilate had Jesus led out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement; but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. (Now it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour.)…." (vs 13-14). This would give an implication perhaps six p.m. but that doesn't quite fit into the overall chronology. The account in Mark 15 says that it was the third hour. There is an apparent three hour discrepancy.

Notice again that it was the preparation of the Passover; the Jews kept their Passover the day after Jesus kept His Passover. Talking to a Jewish friend in the Church of God, he said that his grandmother always kept two days of Passover so that they wouldn't miss keeping the right one. That's what happens when you get into this visual observation of the new moon. You're always going to end up being off.

I've seen those people who have the official observance of the new moon whereby you observe it, and two years in a row I've seen that they are off by a day, maybe a day and a half from the Calculated Hebrew Calendar, when you go out on a Holy Day and you look at the full moon. You can tell when it's a full moon and not a full moon. The 15th of the month is to be a full moon.

Every year at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles, I always make a point to go out and see if the moon is full. I've never seen it fail to be correct. That's why I believe that as far as a calendar goes, the Calculated Hebrew Calendar is the one that is truly accurate for a worldwide observance.

"…And he [Pilate] said to the Jews, 'Behold your King!' But they cried aloud, 'Away, away with Him! Crucify Him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.'" (vs 14-15). That's really quite a statement—isn't it?

  • What was God called in the Old Testament? King of Israel!
  • Didn't David say, 'You are the King of Israel?'

So, this is a tremendous denial of God!

  • Who is the power behind Caesar? Satan!

Verse 16: "Therefore, he then delivered Him up to them so that He might be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away. And He went out bearing His own cross to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on this side and one on the other side, and Jesus in the middle" (vs 16-18).

There's one Bible commentator who says that there were four thieves crucified with Jesus instead of two. That is not true; there is no way that can be substantiated in the Greek. There was one on each side. This statement makes it very clear that there were only two, one on each side of Him.

Verse 19: "And Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; and it was written, 'Jesus the Nazarean, the King of the Jews.' As a result, many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek and in Latin" (vs 19-20). Why would they write it in Hebrew, Greek and Latin? There are some people who claim that the Jews never spoke Greek! That's what sacred namers say; that it was a pagan language.

Language is not pagan, 'religion' is pagan. You can have different names for different pagan gods and many different religions, but that doesn't make the language pagan. Did the Jews and the Israelites worship pagan deity? Whenever they apostatized form time to time, yes they did! Did they have names for those gods? Yes, they did! Those are Hebrew names—aren't they?

Sidebar: Greek was the main language that they spoke all through the Roman Empire. Latin was secondary and in the western part of the empire. Greek was in the eastern part of the empire, because the Roman Empire took over the vast portions of the Greco-Macedonian Empire, and the universal language was Greek. The Jews themselves in Alexandria translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, and there were 70 Jewish scholars who did that, and it is called the Septuagint, which means the 70.

In just going through many of the quotes in the New Testament, Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, the apostles quoted from the Septuagint, so if it were a pagan language and going against God's will, why did Jesus quote from it? and Why did the apostles write from it?

Every time you come by some of these things like that, just go ahead and put some of these things to the test and follow it right through and then you'll be able to know what is the proper understanding of it.

The sacred name literature tends to go back to a Pharisaical work of law Old Testament 'religion.' Some of them go so far as to say that 'we cannot believe anything in the New Testament until we find an original Hebrew manuscript.' Well, you're never going to find an original Hebrew manuscript of the New Testament because God didn't preserve it in Hebrew.

Verse 21: "Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, 'Do not write, "The King of the Jews"; but that He said, "I am King of the Jews."' Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written'" (vs 21-22). This is a political action committee of Jesus' day, a PAC.

Verse 23: "Now the soldiers, after they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, a part for each soldier, and the coat also. But the coat was seamless, woven in one piece from the top all the way throughout. For this reason, they said to one another, 'Let us not tear it, but let us cast lots for it to determine whose it shall be'; that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says, 'They divided My garments among them, and they cast lots for My vesture.' The soldiers, therefore, did these things" (vs 23-24). Every time I read something like that, I wonder how it was that God carried out making this prophecy happen?

Remember that I brought up about when the rooster crowed immediately as soon as Peter denied Jesus the third time. The soldiers don't know anything about God, they're just soldiers. The spoils of war in this case the spoils of crucifixion. It was right down to the very last detail of what was prophesied. I'm sure that these soldiers didn't say, 'Oh, we're going to do the will of the Lord.' But God made them do it. I'm sure that they felt absolutely no constraint that God was making them do it.

When I read this it makes me wonder how it is that God just works in people's minds and causes these things to take place. Is there an angel there putting thoughts into their minds? I don't know! But here at the crucifixion I've often thought this: Who is the one who literally crucified Jesus Christ? Satan the devil! The Jews had their part in it; the Romans had their part in it; but that was all typical of human nature. It wouldn't have mattered which people Jesus would have come to, the same thing would have happened because of human nature.

I've often wondered in some of these things how is that God reaches down and makes all these things take place. Remember the Scripture in 2-Kings 3 where Elisha told his servant—remember the battle that was going on around the city of Samaria and Elisha was there—'Hey, sonny, don't worry there's more for us than for them' (to put it in modern English). Then Elisha prayed and said, 'Open his eyes that he may see.' God opened the young servant's eyes and he saw on the hillside that it was full of horses and chariots and angels.

  • I wonder what was going on around the cross at the time that Jesus was crucified?
  • I wonder what Satan was doing?
  • I wonder what Satan was thinking?
  • I imagine that he thought: I did it! Yes, I did it!

Col. 2 is the Scripture that got me to thinking about it. This is talking about the crucifixion. I'm not going to get into the details of the ordinances or things like that. Colossians 2:15: "After stripping the principalities and the powers…"

Ephesians 6:11: "Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places" (vs 11-12).

Colossians 2:15: "After stripping the principalities and the powers…" That's not just talking about Pilate or the chief priests; it's talking about the powers that were behind the throne. I just wonder: what was it like there at the crucifixion spiritually speaking?

We know that Mary, Jesus' mother, was there, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; John was there and different people coming along. One said, 'If you be the Messiah come down off the cross. If God delighted in You then let Him deliver you from the cross.' But I wonder beyond that what it was like if we could have been like that servant of Elisha to have our eyes opened standing right there at the cross? I imagine it was incredible! I would just assume that all of the evil henchmen of Satan the devil, the wicked spirits that be, were right there gloating in their victory. And the angels of God were told to withdraw.

Darkness covered the earth for three hours, and Jesus said, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' I just wonder if Jesus could not see all of this spiritual activity going on around the cross. That would be something, to really have that kind of concept of what was going on.

"…He made a public spectacle of them, and has triumphed over them in it" (v 15)—in the crucifixion. Maybe this will help us understand the universe-shaking portion of the crucifixion.

John 19:25: "And Jesus' mother stood by the cross…" I wonder what she was thinking at that time? Remember in the first part of the book of Luke and also in Matthew where it talks about the conception of Jesus, the birth of Jesus and things that He did, that she kept Him in her heart. I imagine how many times that she and Joseph talked about the angel that appears and said to get out and go to Egypt; then get up and go on back now that Herod is dead. I wonder how many times she would go to bed at night and think about the day that Gabriel appeared and told her that she was going to conceive and bring forth a son and call Him 'Jesus.' All the things that must have been in her mind.

Now, here was her son up on the cross, naked, crucified and dying and here stood His mother. She had more than pity for herself. Anyone would have so much pity for themselves that they would not have stood there. They would be so emotionally involved in their own sorrow it would have been impossible to stand there; just go off into some emotional collapse somewhere. But she was right there.

Remember when they were in the upper room just before Pentecost, who was there? Mary and 120 of the disciples! So, there's an awful lot more to the mother of Jesus and her own personal conviction and belief and 'grit.' Could you stand and watch your own son crucified? Could you go and stand by that cross and stand, watch him go through the whole thing? Then maybe even assist the women in the burial situation? Took a lot of guts!

Verse 25: "And Jesus' mother stood by the cross and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son.'" (vs 25-26).

It wasn't that Judas, Simon and James had deserted Mary the mother of Jesus, but here John was to be the one because he was the one that Jesus loved to help comfort and give that kind of love to His mother that couldn't come from anyone else.

Verse 27: "Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.' And from that time, the disciple took her into his own home"—included into that close family relationship. You would have to assume at this point that Joseph was dead and the other three brothers were already married, so therefore, she could go with John.

Verse 28: "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had now been finished, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst.' Now, a vessel full of vinegar was sitting there. And after filling a sponge with vinegar and putting it on a stick of hyssop… [a type of sponge] …they put it up to His mouth. And so, when Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, 'It is finished.' And bowing His head, He yielded up His spirit [Greek: 'penuma']" (v 28-30). His spirit went back to God!

Verse 31: "The Jews, therefore, so that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, because it was a preparation day (for that Sabbath was a High Day)…" This shows the thing that the Jews do to this very day, that they keep the Passover on the eve of the first day of Unleavened Bread.

This is a Holy Day, a very basic Scripture. I think when you were first understanding the Truth you were really surprised. It was to me. If you've had anything to do with the 'religions' in the world it was Sunday, Easter, Christmas, etc.

"…requested of Pilate that their legs might be broken and the bodies be taken away" (v 31). Isn't that something? They were more concerned about the people, more concerned about the opinion of people! They didn't want to have the bodies on the cross lest the people would riot during the Holy Day.

Verse 32: "Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first one, and the legs of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers had pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water had come out" (vs 32-34). In the Greek it is in the past tense.

Matthew 27:45: "Now, from the sixth hour…" That's where the conflict comes in with John 19 and the sixth hour. John was calculating time a little differently when he wrote it than was Matthew when he wrote his. This calculation of the sixth hour is according to 12 hours in the day, the sixth hour in the day portion what we would call noon.

"…until the ninth hour, darkness was over all the land" (v 45). The ninth hour was approximately three o'clock.

Verse 46: "And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' That is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' And some of those who were standing there heard and said, 'This one is calling for Elijah.' And immediately one of them ran and, taking a sponge, filled it with vinegar and put it on a stick, and gave it to Him to drink. But the rest said, 'Let Him alone! Let us see if Elijah comes to save Him.'…." (vs 46-49). Right after this is another part which is included in many, many manuscripts and should read:

"…Then another took a spear and thrust it into His side, and out came water and blood." (v 49). The point being that when it gets to John 19 the Greek shows that it was already an accomplished thing, rather than He died and then the spear was thrust into His side.

Verse 50: "And after crying out again with a loud voice, Jesus yielded up His spirit. Then suddenly the veil of the temple was ripped in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks were split, so that the tombs were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had died, were resurrected: after His resurrection; and they came out of the tombs. Then they entered into the Holy city, and appeared to many" (vs 50-53).

I've often thought, what if a week before you just buried Aunt So and So or uncle, mother or father, and here after the resurrection of Jesus you're sitting there one day eating your lunch and you hear a knock at the door and guess who is standing there? How would you feel? If you literally buried someone having wrapped them in grave clothes and put them into the cave, and covered it over. You knew that they were dead. When you were wrapping them you could feel the corpse—cold, stiff, can't move. About a week later, lo and behold, they appear on the doorstep.

How did that happen? It doesn't say how many, it says many! I'll bet you can't find that in Jewish history. They were dead! In John 11 Jesus said that when Lazarus sleeps, but He knew that he was dead. This is talking about those who were dead. Talk about surprises in your life!

Have you ever been so surprise that it would just startle you, have such an impact that it would never leave your mind. What did all of these people think? Of course, you know how the Jews would do, they would have a feast! The name of Jesus was really something! He literally turned that whole world upside down! No doubt! Every time I read that I think about if I were one of the relatives that came back to life and walked home and knocked on the door.

How long would these people have lived? I would say that they would have lived to what would be the end of their normal life, just like Lazarus apparently did! I couldn't tell you, I would like to know myself. This was a special resurrection. Just like when someone dies and the doctors bring them back, do they die again? Yes, they die again!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • John 18:1-4
  • Psalm 69:1-21
  • John 18:4-42
  • John 19:1-4
  • John 18:38
  • John 19:4-24
  • Colossians 2:15
  • Ephesians 6:11-12
  • Colossians 2:15
  • John 19:25-34
  • Matthew 27:45-53

Scripture referenced, not quoted:

  • John 17; 2
  • Isaiah 53
  • 2 Peter 2
  • Mark 15
  • 2 Kings 3

Also referenced:

  • Book: A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter
  • Sermon: The Enigma of Judas Iscariot

Transcribed: 12-29-14