Words of Life

A Tragedy that Changes

John 19:

Death brings a lot out of people. Anger, rage, sorrow, mourning. Expressions that are normally inappropriate are excused. Words that once took courage are now spoken without considerations of the consequences. Here we see this from several angles.

From the Jews we can see the rage. They scurry to justify themselves at all costs. They know the injustice of what they’re doing, but they cannot continue to have Jesus challenge their personal kingdom. (vs. 6a, 21)

Pilate was likely already on thin ice with Caesar in regards to maintaining order in Jerusalem. Yet, even this man known for violence seems to be puzzled at the Jews demand for murder. He beats and mocks Jesus to assuage them, while reminding them that Jesus is innocent. (18:38, 19:4, 12) Even when he gives in to their demand, he turns his sarcasm toward the Jews, calling Jesus their King (vs. 14, 15, 19-22) – (SIDE NOTE: I wonder if Pilate’s heart began to turn here. There’s interesting historical evidence that this was a possibility.)

Now for the Jewish leaders, siding with Jesus was vocational suicide. At this time of peak injustice, at least a couple religious leaders come out of the closet (so to speak) and take action that will surely be noticed and surely kill their own positions of leadership. One purchases a new tomb for Jesus, and another bought an abundance of spices and ointments for a proper burial. This would not have gone unnoticed. But, like I said, death can bring a lot out of a person.

What has Jesus’ death brought out of me? Do I dig in and defend myself in the face of accusations? Am I appalled at the injustice?Or do I courageously respond in love for this sacrifice? I’m sure that it’s all of the above depending on the season. But I want my season of angry defense to end.


Holy Spirit move in my heart to see Jesus in such breathtaking ways that acts of risky generosity come natural.


Verse 38 was key in showing me the breaking point of some people’s fear of reputation, of consequence, or whatever. They just wanted to honor the sacrifice that Jesus made for them.

Categories: Words of Life

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