John 19: Jesus Christ Lays Down His Life

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 90–92

Roman soldiers made a crown by twisting thorned branches together and putting it upon the Savior’s head. In mockery they proclaimed, “Hail, King of the Jews.” When Pilate presented the scourged figure of the Master to Jewish leaders as their king they cried out, “Away with him … Crucify him.” Yet, Jesus Christ will come again as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16) and will wipe away death, sorrow, and pain (see Revelation 21:4). As you read the dramatic and touching events recorded in John 19, ask yourself: Why did the Son of God allow such insult and injustice? What does this teach us about His love?
Christ before Pilate

Understanding the Scriptures

John 19

Platted (v. 2)Twisted, braided 
Sixth hour (v. 14)About noon 
Coat (v. 23)A garment that extended from the neck to the knees 
Rend (v. 24)Tear 
Cast lots (v. 24)A game of chance that determines a winner 
Hyssop (v. 29)A long stalk or branch of a hyssop bush 
Myrrh and aloes (v. 39)Spices used by the Jews in preparing bodies for burial 
Sepulchre (vv. 41–42)Tomb or grave 

John 19:1—Pilate Orders the Scourging of Jesus

Elder James E. Talmage wrote, “Scourging was a frightful preliminary to death on the cross. The instrument of punishment was a whip of many thongs, loaded with metal and edged with jagged pieces of bone” (Jesus the Christ,  638).

John 19:6–30—“Crucify Him, Crucify Him”

Elder James E. Talmage explained, “Death by crucifixion was at once the most lingering and most painful of all forms of execution. The victim lived in ever increasing torture, generally for many hours, sometimes for days. The spikes so cruelly driven through hands and feet penetrated and crushed sensitive nerves and quivering tendons, yet inflicted no mortal wound. The welcome relief of death came through the exhaustion caused by intense and unremitting pain, through localized inflammation and congestion of organs incident to the strained and unnatural posture of the body” (Jesus the Christ,  655).

John 19:31–37—“That Their Legs Might Be Broken”

The Jewish Sabbath—which began at sundown—was nearing. Jewish law did not allow the bodies to be removed from the crosses on the Sabbath, nor for them to hang on the crosses over the Sabbath. At the request of Jewish leaders, Roman soldiers broke the legs of the thieves to hasten their deaths. Jesus had already died, thus fulfilling the scripture that “a bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36; see also Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study John 19.

Activity A iconWhat Would He Say? What Would You Say?

Imagine you had the opportunity to meet Pilate several years after the events in John 18:28–19:22.

  1. 1.

    Based on what you read in the scriptures, what do you think he might say about Jesus and His crucifixion after he had some time to look back on it?

  2. 2.

    If he asked you the same question he asked Jesus in John 18:38, what would you reply?

Activity B iconLearning to Love Others at All Times

  1. 1.

    Read John 19:25–27 and describe one of the Savior’s concerns while He hung on the cross.

  2. 2.

    How does this act characterize the life He lived?

Activity C iconBeing Disciples of Jesus Christ

taking Christ's body from the cross

Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were Jewish leaders and members of the ruling body known as the Sanhedrin (see Bible Dictionary, “Joseph [of Arimathaea],” p. 717). Both were secretly disciples of Jesus.

  1. 1.

    Read Luke 23:50–51 and John 7:45–53 and describe how each man showed evidence of his discipleship.

  2. 2.

    Who did the new sepulchre belong to? (see Matthew 27:59–60).

  3. 3.

    What can you learn about discipleship from Joseph and Nicodemus?