Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ST. JOHN - Chapter 19

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John xix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Pilate's motive, for ordering our Saviour to be scourged, was no other than this; that the Jews might be satisfied with these his numerous sufferings, and might no longer seek his death. For the same reason, likewise, he permitted his soldiers to inflict those unheard of cruelties, related in the sequel. (St. Augustine, tract. 110. in Joan.)

Ver. 11. Unless it were given, or permitted thee from above. Therefore, he that delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. Some expound this of Judas; others, rather of the high priest Caiphas, with the Jewish council: for they could not be ignorant that Jesus was their Messias, having seen the miracles Jesus did, and knowing the predictions of the prophets. (Witham) --- Lest any should think, from what our Saviour had said, that Pilate was not in fault, in this place, he here adds, that he that had delivered him up, had the greater sin: God, indeed, had permitted it; but still these instruments of his death were not without fault. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiii. in Joan.) --- Christ had been delivered into the power of Pilate through envy, and Pilate was about to exercise that power through fear. But though this last motive of fear can never justify any one, who condemns the innocent, yet still it is much more pardonable than the motive of envy, which was the incentive of the Jewish multitude. (St. Augustine, tract. 116. in Joan.) --- Judas delivered Jesus into the hands of the priests, but both the priests and the people delivered him up to Pontius Pilate.

Ver. 14. The Parasceve of the Pasch; that is, the day before the paschal sabbath. The eve of every sabbath was called the Parasceve, or day of preparation. But this was the eve of a high sabbath, viz. that which fell in the paschal week. (Challoner) --- It was about the sixth hour when they crucified him. St. Mark, in his gospel, says, it was at the third hour that Jesus was crucified. These two evangelists are easily reconciled, if we consider that according to the custom of the Jews, all that took place between the third hour and the sixth hour of their day, was said to have happened in the third hour: their days being divided into four parts of three hours each, in the same manner as the nights were into four watches, of three hours each. St. Mark, therefore, might say very well, that the crucifixion of our Saviour took place in the third hour: though it might have been towards the conclusion of this general division of the day: whilst St. John, with a reason equally as good, says that it happened about the sixth hour. (John Nicolaus, in his marginal notes on St. Thomas Aquinas' Aurea Catena.)

Ver. 17. St. John makes no mention of what took place on the way to Calvary, when Jesus, being worn out by fatigue, could not proceed any farther, and they were obliged to relieve him of his burden, and to give it to a man, named Simon, of Cyrene, to carry for him, as is related in St. Matthew xxvii. 32. and St. Mark xv. 21. (Calmet) --- For the honour paid in the early ages to the holy cross see St. Cyril, lib. vi. cont. Julian.; St. Jerome, ep. xvii.; St. Paulin. ep. xi.

Ver. 19. He is the king, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also. But it is not without reason, that he is called king of the Jews. For they were the true olive (Romans xi.); and we, the wild olive, have been ingrafted, and made partakers of the virtue of the true olive. Christ, therefore, is the king of the Jews, circumcised, not in the flesh, but in the heart, not according to the letter, but the spirit. (St. Augustine, tract. 118. in Joan.)

Ver. 20. As there were probably many Gentiles at Jerusalem at this time, on account of the festival day, this inscription was written in three different languages, that all might be able to read it. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- It was written in Hebrew, on account of the Jews, who glorified in the law of God; in Greek, on account of the wise men of all nations; and in Latin, because of the Romans, who at that time commanded almost every nation of the earth. (St. Augustine, tract. 118. in Joan.)

Ver. 23. They made four parts. Christ's upper garment had seams, which the four executioners could easily divide; but his under garment, or vest, was without seam, so that being cut, it would have been of no use. (Witham) --- This coat without seam is a figure of the unity of the Church. (St. Cyprian, de unit. Eccles.) --- The Rev. Fred. Nolan, of Woodford, in Essex, in his late work, entitled, Objections of a Churchman to uniting with the Bible Society, after quoting 2 Peter iii. 15, 16, says: "That the Bible may, therefore, prove the remote, but innocent cause of harm, is not, I apprehend, to be disputed, if we are to admit of its own authority:" p. 23, and again, p. 24, "that the present mode of circulating the Scriptures must prove a most effectual specific for multiplying sects and schisms; and consequently, for increasing, to an infinite degree, the greatest evil, under which Christianity has suffered, from the time of its promulgation, down to the memorable epoch of this happy invention, for the establishment of Christian faith, and the extension of Christian unanimity." P. 62., in the same work, "That the Bible is the foundation of our religion, is new doctrine, unless in the divinity of the conventicle. We are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. (Ephesians ii. 20.) On this foundation others still build, who are labourers together with God; (1 Corinthians xi. 9. 10.) of which divine co-operation the successors of the apostles have an express promise, to the end of the world. (Matthew xxviii. 20.) And by persons thus authorized (John xx. 21.) apostolical tradition has been delivered down to the present day, p. 63. The one body, of which our Lord was resolved his Church should consist, was to have one faith, (Ephesians iv. 4, 5.) it was to contain no schism, (1 Corinthians xii. 25.) but the present confederacy is formed on the principle of combining every sect and party, and this, while we have received an express prohibition against associating with those, who reject apostolical traditions, committed to the Church." (2 Thessalonians iii. 6. 14.) In a foot-note on the above, the learned divine very appositely cites St. Ignatius, in which quotation we find these emphatic words: Me planasthe adelphoi mou, ei tis schizonti akolouthei, Basileian theou ou Kleronomei. Be not deceived, my brethren, not only acknowledged schismatics, but whoever shall join with a schismatic, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. The same apostolic Father, in another part, adds: he who corrupts the faith of God, for which Christ suffered, shall go into unquenchable fire: eis to pur to asbeston choresei. St. Alexander, in the fourth century, says of the Arians: that seamless garment, which the murderers of Jesus Christ would not divide, these men have dared to rip asunder. Tou arrekton chitona schisai eiolmesan.

Ver. 25. There stood by the cross....his mother. And so near to him, that from the cross he both spoke to her, and also to St. John. (Witham)

Ver. 26. Though there were other holy women standing by the cross, he takes notice of none but his mother, teaching us, by this, what we owe to our parents. For although it is our duty to disown them, when they place obstacles in our way to salvation; yet when they do not thus impede us, we owe every thing to them, and must prefer them to all. (S. Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- We learn also here, what should be our respect and confidence in this Virgin Mother, so highly honoured by her divine Son.

Ver. 27. The disciple took her to his own[1] home, or into his own are, not for his mother, by the Greek expression. See St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine. (Witham)

Ver. 31. Because it was the Parasceve. It is also called, (ver. 14.) the day of preparation of the Pasch. Literally, the Parasceve of the Pasch. And (ver. 31.) the Jews, because it was the preparation, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for that was a great sabbath day, &c. Some pretend, by these expressions, to prove that Friday, the year Christ suffered, was not the first and great day of the feast of Azyms, but only the day of preparation, and that on Friday night the Jews eat the paschal lamb, and not the night before, or Thursday night, as Christ had done with his disciples. But according to the common exposition, Friday is here called the day of preparation, for the great and solemn sabbath, which happened in the paschal week. See Tillemont on the 5th passage out of John, p. 698, section 11. and 12. (Witham)

Ver. 34. There came out blood and water, which naturally could not come from a dead body. (Witham) --- Hence it is, that the sacred mysteries flow; as often, therefore, as thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert going to drink from thy Saviour's sacred side. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- The holy Fathers say, that the spouse [i.e. the Church] of Jesus Christ was here taken out of his side, whilst sleeping on the cross, as Eve was from Adam's side, when he was cast asleep in Paradise.

Ver. 36. You shall not break a bone of him. This, which was literally spoken of the paschal lamb, (Exodus xii. 46.) the evangelist applies to Christ, of whom the lamb was a figure. (Witham) --- This had been said of the paschal lamb, which was a figure of Jesus Christ. (Exodus xii. 46. and Numbers ix. 12.)

Ver. 37. This text is from Zacharias xii. 10. and seems to refer most literally to Jesus Christ.

Ver. 39. About a hundred pound. This seems a great quantity. It may be, they did not use it all. And besides, it was the custom of the Jews, at their great burials, to cover the body with spices and perfumes. (Witham)

Ver. 41. This is added, lest it should be said, that it was not Christ, but some other, that rose from the dead; or at least, that he rose by the virtue of some other person reposing there. (Calmet).


[1] Ver. 27. Accepit eam discipulus in sua. Not in suam. eis ta idia.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The continuation of the history of the Passion of Christ.

1 Then, *therefore, Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him.

2 And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head: and they put on him a purple garment.

3 And they came to him, and said; Hail, king of the Jews: and they gave him blows.

4 Pilate, therefore, went forth again, and saith to them; Behold I bring him forth to you, that you may know that I find no cause in him.

5 (So Jesus came forth bearing the crown of thorns, and the purple garment.) And he saith to them; Behold the man.

6 When the chief priests, therefore, and the officers, had seen him, they cried out, saying; Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them; Take him, you, and crucify him; for I find no cause in him.

7 The Jews answered him, We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

8 When Pilate, therefore, had heard this saying, he feared the more.

9 And he entered into the hall again, and he said to Jesus; Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

10 Pilate, therefore, saith to him; Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee?

11 Jesus answered; Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying; If thou release this man, thou art not Csar's friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Csar.

13 Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth: and sat down in the judgment-seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

14 And it was the Parasceve of the Pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king.

15 But they cried out: Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them; Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered; We have no king but Csar.

16 Then, therefore, he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth.

17 *And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew, Golgotha:

18 Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst.

19 And Pilate wrote a title also; and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

20 This title, therefore, many of the Jews did read; because the place, where Jesus was crucified, was near to the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.

21 Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate; Write not, The king of the Jews: but that he said, I am the king of the Jews.

22 Pilate answered; What I have written, I have written.

23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified him, *took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

24 They said then one to another; Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saying, *They have parted my garments among them; and upon my vesture they have cast lot. And the soldiers indeed did these things.

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

26 When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple standing, whom he loved, he saith to his mother; Woman, Behold thy son.

27 After that, he saith to the disciple; Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own.

28 Afterwards Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, *that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said; I thirst.

29 Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth.

30 When Jesus, therefore, had taken the vinegar, he said; It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

31 Then the Jews, (because it was the Parasceve) that the bodies might not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

32 The soldiers, therefore, came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him.

33 But when they were come to Jesus, as they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

34 But one of the soldiers opened his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.

35 And he that saw it, gave testimony; and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true, that you also may believe.

36 For these things were done, that the Scripture might be fulfilled; *You shall not break a bone of him.

37 And again another Scripture saith; *They shall look on him whom they pierced.

38 *And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted him. He came, therefore, and took away the body of Jesus.

39 And Nicodemus also came; *he who at the first came to Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound.

40 They took, therefore, the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as it is the custom with the Jews to bury.

41 Now there was in the place, where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man had yet been laid.

42 There, therefore, because of the Parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.



1: Matthew xxvii. 27.; Mark xv. 16.

17: Matthew xxvii. 33.; Mark xv. 22.; Luke xxiii. 33.

23: Matthew xxvii. 35.; Mark xv. 24.; Luke xxiii. 34.

24: Psalm xxi. 19.

28: Psalm lxviii. 22.

36: Exodus xii. 46.; Numbers ix. 12.

37: Zacharias xii. 10.

38: Matthew xxvii. 57.; Mark xv. 43.; Luke xxiii. 50.

39: John iii. 2.