Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for May 14

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for May 14


John 19:17–30

The action in John’s description of the last hours of Jesus’ life slows down in the apostle’s description of the crucifixion of Jesus. The Roman authorities sentenced Jesus to death, but “He gave up His Spirit” (v. 30). The authorities did not take Jesus’ life from Him. Jesus gave His life on behalf of others (John 3:16).

Raised (17–22)

The essence of discipleship is following Jesus to the cross. Jesus stated, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). In the fourth Gospel, Jesus literally took up His cross. Pilate’s action of putting a sign on the cross with the words “King of the Jews” points to a political understanding of the necessity of the death of Jesus.

The official charge leading the Romans to crucify Jesus was the charge of treason. The official charge was written in the three main languages used in Palestine — Aramaic, Latin and Greek. Pilate wrote the official charge, and the Romans raised Jesus up on the cross for all to see. The official Roman charge against Jesus was that He claimed kingship.

Planned (23–24)

The Jewish leadership pressured the Roman authority Pilate to crucify Jesus. Ultimately, however, God planned Jesus’ death, as seen in the fulfillment of Scripture regarding the soldiers gambling for Jesus’ outer garment.

They likely gambled for His head covering, belt and sandals too. John viewed the soldiers’ gambling as a fulfillment of Psalm 22:18. While the Jewish leadership turned Jesus over to the Romans, and the Romans crucified Jesus, the emphasis on the fulfillment of Scripture in this chapter indicates God planned His death.

Honored (25–27)

While the male disciples abandoned Jesus, four faithful women were present as Jesus died, namely Mary, the mother of Jesus; the sister of Mary (Jesus’ aunt); Mary, the wife of Clopas; and Mary Magdalene.

Rather than entrusting the care of His mother to the siblings born to Joseph and Mary after His birth, Jesus committed his mother’s care to the disciple John — the disciple Jesus loved.

The Gospel of John notes that from the point of Jesus’ death, John took Mary into his home. Jesus honored both His mother and the disciple He loved. We do not know why Jesus did not commit Mary’s care to His younger half siblings — James, Joses (also referred to as Joseph), Judas, Simon or one of the sisters (Mark 6:3). Perhaps the siblings did not believe in Jesus at this point. James later experienced a resurrection appearance of Jesus not narrated in the Gospels (1 Cor. 15:7).

Finished (28–30)

The Greek word translated “finished” occurs three times in these verses. First, Jesus, knowing “that everything had now been finished” in terms of the Old Testament Scripture regarding His death, cried out in thirst.

Second, the same Greek term occurs in verse 28 for the fulfillment of Scripture. Third, after receiving a sponge containing sour wine, Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” moments before His death. God’s plan of redemption was completed.

By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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