TEXT: John 19:1-30
The students will be able to list the sufferings that Christ endured prior to and during His crucifixion. They will also be able to explain why He died for us.
Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea, 26-37 A.D., and he assumed office about the same time that Jesus began His public ministry. His official residence was at Caesarea and he came to Jerusalem at feast times to keep law and order. He was a merciless man, known for his brutality. But he did not want to crucify Jesus. He appealed to the Jewish rulers, then Herod, then the rulers again, and finally the multitude. It would seem that Pilate had Jesus scourged in hope that the multitude would have pity on Him and say that was enough punishment. It was not until Pilate realized that if he did not crucify Jesus it might cost him his position as governor of Judea that he consented. Halley’s Handbook says that Pilate committed suicide and that his wife later became a Christian.
Scourging was done with a whip which was made of leather thongs weighted with pieces of lead or sharp metal.
Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified, is a hill just outside the north wall of Jerusalem near the Damascus gate. It is about thirty feet high and is like a rock ledge. It is also called the Place of a Skull.
Crucifixion was a Roman punishment. It was a punishment for slaves, foreigners, criminals, and persons who were not Roman citizens. Death usually followed in four to six days; but not so with Jesus, as He died in about six hours.
The Roman punishment of crucifixion has been considered one of the most cruel forms of death. It was a penalty for slaves, criminals, and persons who were not Roman citizens. Jesus “. . . made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and . . . he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).
- In our text one can find the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies regarding Jesus’ suffering. Following each Scripture below list the prophecy and the verse or verses in John 19 where it is fulfilled.
Response: These answers from John 19 should help students consider some of the sufferings Jesus endured.
Isaiah 53:3 — Rejection by Jews (verses 14-15)
Isaiah 53:7 — Opened not His mouth (verse 9)
Psalm 22:18 — Lots cast for vesture (verse 24)
Psalm 69:21 — Given gall and vinegar (verse 29)
Psalm 34:20 — No bones broken (verse 33)
Zechariah 12:10 — Side pierced (verse 34)
You may wish to follow up this thought with other Old Testament Scriptures regarding Christ’s sufferings which were fulfilled in the New Testament. (Forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46; Nails: Psalm 22:16 and John 20:27; etc.)
- Jesus suffered greatly during his last 24 hours on earth. In what ways was He physically abused? List as many as you can find. In addition to the text, use Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; 15:19.
Response: He was scourged and a crown of thorns was placed on his head (John 19:1-2), he was smitten with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:65), smitten on the head with a reed (Mark 15:19), spat upon, struck in the face and buffeted (Matthew 26:67). He gave His back to the smiters and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair (Isaiah 50:6). After these preliminary cruelties, with His body lacerated from the scourging, Jesus was compelled to bear His cross (John 19:17) and was crucified. While secured to the cross with nails driven through His hands and feet, He was offered vinegar to drink (John 19:29). Encourage the students to describe the tortures as they are mentioned, that they might have a mental picture of what took place. Focus on the fact that it was Christ’s love that caused Him to go through all of this for mankind.
- In what ways did Jesus mentally or emotionally suffer in those last hours? To supplement the text, see Mark 14:43-44,55-57,71; 15:34; Luke 22:44 and John 1:11.
Response: He suffered agony (Luke 22:44), was betrayed by a friend (Mark 14:43-44), falsely accused (Mark 14:55-57), denied by a close friend (Mark 14:71), humiliated and mocked (John 19:1-5), rejected by His own (John 1:11), and forsaken by God (Mark 15:34). Allow students to give their description of how Jesus felt through these events and any others they can name.
- Why do you think it was necessary for Jesus to suffer so?
Response: Allow time for your students to discuss this question. Their answers may vary, but the conclusion should be that Jesus’ suffering and death were necessary in order for divine justice be satisfied. Further development of the lesson will bring out other reasons why it was needful for Jesus to suffer prior to His death.
- In what ways have Christians suffered physically through the centuries because of their love for Jesus? How does this compare to Christ’s suffering?
Response: Allow students to relate specific examples with which they are familiar. Some of these may include imprisonment, loss of life, torture, separation from family, deprivation of necessities of life, loss of home and financial resources. How did the martyrs stand under torture? Could the students stand if they were facing such trials? Point out that Christ’s sufferings were inflicted by man. Refer to Scriptures that declare God’s blessing upon those who suffer for Christ.
- In what ways do Christians face mental or emotional suffering?
Response: Compare this response to that of question 3. Christians may suffer from betrayal, false accusations, denials, humiliations, and mockings, but Jesus suffered so that we might have victory in those times. We can know that Jesus understands our sufferings (Hebrews 4:14-16). Point out that it is the Christian’s duty to seek God’s help, for He is able to supply it.
- At one point Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Had God forsaken Jesus? Explain.
Response: As your students discuss this, they should realize that God was not rejecting Christ, but the sins of man that Christ was bearing. However, Jesus felt that His Father had turned away from Him. Could there be greater suffering than this? Did this mean God loved Him any less? The students should understand that the curse of man’s individual sins was upon Jesus as He hung upon the Cross. The sense of God’s wrath against man for sin seemed to be impressed upon Jesus at this moment. Does God look upon sin in a man with any less degree of displeasure today?
- By His death, Jesus made certain provisions for us. The following Scriptures give some of these pro-visions. List them here.
1 Peter 2:24
Response: Titus 2:14 tells us that He provided for man’s redemption.
1 Peter 2:24 indicates that He provided for man’s justification and healing.
Hebrews 13:12 shows that He provided for man’s sanctification.
The students should understand what these provisions are and who they are provided for. Jesus never intended these provisions to be optional, but rather that everyone be partaker of these blessings, seeing they were purchased by His own precious Blood.
Give each student a piece of paper, a pencil, and a time limit. See who can list the most qualities that Jesus exemplified by His death on the cross.
Have each student select a personality to portray during Easter week: a disciple, Mary Magdalene, a centurion, a high priest, or just an ordinary person living in Jerusalem. Have them keep a journal for that week, writing a few sentences each day describing what they’ve seen, heard, and their reactions. On Easter or the Sunday after, read the journals aloud.
Appoint someone to play the part of the centurion. Interview him, or have him explain his change of feelings.
Bring to class and show your students some spikes, a crown of thorns, a wooden cross. Compare Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament. Have students look up these Old Testament Scriptures and compare them with this lesson.
Isaiah 53:3 His rejection by Jews John 19:14-15
Psalm 69:21 Given gall and vinegar John 19:29
Zechariah 12:10 His side to be pierced John 19:34
Psalm 34:20 Not a bone to be broken John 19:33