Introduction: What first comes to mind when I say the word G’s? Some might think the pastor has resorted to using a slang word used by many which is an abbreviation of the name “Jesus”. Others may think first of the force of gravity, whether positive or negative, that is exerted against the body in high acceleration or deceleration and measured in G force. And some of you may have thought I said “cheese” because you didn’t hear me right! But this is what I mean when I say G’s - the plural use of the letter G. In the arrest, trial and death of Jesus Christ there are three place names that each begin with the letter G. The first one, though not named by John, is the garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:36 tells us this fact, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsamane and saith unto the disciples, ‘Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.’” From that garden Jesus was betrayed, arrested and brought to trial. When the “trial” was over the judgment was rendered at a place called Gabbatha, in John 19:13. From that place Jesus was taken to the third place that started with the letter G - Golgotha. I thought of entitling this message “The trip from Gethsemane to Golgotha by way of Gabbatha” But since we have already studied from the text of the book of John the events that transpired in the garden of Gethsemane, I have settled on just the last two of these three words that begin with G - From Gabbatha to Golgotha. Just as the Garden of Gethsemane was a place of preparation and betrayal, so to these two places have truths for us to glean and hopefully apply to our lives.
I. Gabbatha: The Place Of Rejection--19:13-15
A. The Struggle of the Heart in Rejecting Christ - 19:13
1.. The Conflict Stimulating the Decision
a. Pontius Pilate was faced with the decision of his life - what will he do with the Lord Jesus - a man he perceived was not merely of this world.
b. In his conflict, he attempted to do right - to release Jesus and to execute justice; but he bowed to the pressures applied to him by the world - “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth...”
It is striking to note that the trial of Christ before Pilate was in seven stages. This is seen by noting carefully the following scriptures, which speak of the Governor passing in and out of the judgment-hall. The First stage was on the outside: John 18:28-32. The Second on the inside: John 18:33-37. Third, on the outside: John 18:38-40. Fourth, inside: John 19:1-3. Fifth, outside: John 19:4-7. Sixth, inside: John 19:8-11. Seventh, outside: John 19:12-16. God’s use of his number of perfection, seven, is found once again, even in the trial of His Son before men.
c. His decision was made independent of the eternal realities of the situation and instead, was based solely upon temporal values and priorities.
d. He was faced with a crisis moment wherein he had to decide between two worlds -
i. Potentially forfeit all that is dear in this world (power, prestige, position, prosperity, possessions, etc_, and gain eternal blessing; or,
ii. Certainly forfeit eternal blessing and joy in order to preserve potentially all that the world has to offer.
e. Such a decision is essentially forced upon everyone who comes into contact with the Gospel - cp. Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
f. Because of the pressure applied by the world, Pilate made his decision and brought Jesus out in order to announce it.
Application: How often do we make decisions based on the pressures exerted upon us by others? Sometimes those decisions can be good if the pressure exerted is based on sound reasoning, but many other times the pressure exerted is foolishly given and based on selfish reasons and ungodly principles. Our decisions need to be based first and foremost in the Word of God.
2. The Commitment Solidifying the Decision
a. As he was walking out from the Praetorium to the place of official judgment, he had already cast his soul’s direction - having loved the present too much to follow righteousness and side with Jesus Christ.
b. So, he "sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha." As we shall see in the next few verses, Pilate has made his decision and is scornful in his attitude now. I’m reminded of what it says in the first verse of the book of the Psalms, a book that has much to say about Christ. Psalm 1:1 says this, and while I read it, look at John 19:13 again - “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
c. This is the place of official sentencing - where the decision that Pilate has made will become binding - a tremendously ironic situation - the Judge of all men being brought to the BEMA seat of judgment, and then one day, Pilate will stand before this same One, but that time it will be as the condemned, not the Judge.
B. The Selection of the Heart that Rejects Christ - 19:14
1. The Context Surrounding the Decision
a. God’s timing for this event is perfect - the Lamb of God who would atone for the sins of the world was sacrificed during Passover - “And it was the preparation of the passover...”
b. This phrase has caused considerable debate among interpreters of Scripture - but ought to be understood in light of the reality that Friday is called "the day of preparation" every week for the Sabbath - cp. Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
c. This is a particularly important preparation day in that it is the preparation for the Sabbath of Passover - the annual Day of celebration of God’s deliverance from the bondage in Egypt.
d. Originally, Passover was an event wherein the Angel of Death passed over all the homes that had found protection through the blood of the lamb covering the doorposts of their homes.
e. Here, the Passover would represent the blood of the lamb again being applied to bring people to safety from death - eternal death.
f.. It was during this celebration that Pilate and the people of Israel both chose to reject the provision of God.
2. The Confession Signifying the Decision
a. We are told that it was early morning - most likely around 6 AM when Pilate came out and presented Jesus to the crowd - "...and about the sixth hour. And he saith unto the Jews, `Behold, your King’!"
b. There is sarcasm present in his voice - calling attention to this man who was bloodied, bruised, and shivering in shock before them - "your king"
c. It is was the official declaration of rejection by Pilate - designed to slam the Jews, reject personal respect for Jesus, and demonstrate the antipathy toward the provision of God.
d. He forces the people of Israel to take ownership of the decision that he had made - to crucify Jesus; calling on them to either accept or reject the Messiah.
e. It is interesting to note the two times that Pilate has told the crowd of Jews that AM to behold Jesus. After having Jesus scourged, Pilate had Jesus brought out to the crowd and told them to “Behold the man.” Now he tells the same people to “Behold your king!” As in the first time that Pilate told the people to Behold the man, but didn’t grasp the importance of what he just told them to do, he does the same thing here. He is mocking them and Jesus at this point, but the truth was and is, Jesus was their King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, whether anybody recognizes it or not.
C. The Satisfaction of the Heart that Rejects Christ - 19:15
1. The Corruption Swaying the Decision
a. The hearts of the people were grotesquely estranged from God - to the point where they did not even recognize God’s hand in the life of Jesus. They had closed their heart and mind to the miracles that Jesus had performed, that only One sent from God could do. They attributed what Jesus did to the power of Satan in His life!
b. They were hostile and corrupt - lusting after the ability to rid themselves of Jesus and the moral uprightness and authority that he represented in their lives - "But they cried out, `Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!"
c. In disgust and mockery, "Pilate saith unto them, `Shall I crucify your King’?"
d. Their constant call is that they be rid of Jesus.
Application: The corruption of the human heart is still what keeps people from having Jesus. Their cold, stony heart tells them that they do not need Christ as their Saviour. That is just a crutch that weak people need. Thus, the spiritually corrupt and dead heart of mankind sways their hear and mind away from the saving grace of God.
2. The Claim Substantiating the Decision
a. Their response to Pilate is to claim independence from any king other than Caesar - "The chief priests answered, `We have no king but Caesar’."
b. The most tragic thing is that God took them at their word and allowed them to suffer the fate of being surrendered to the corrupt authority of men and the curses of it - when He would have given them divine rule and blessing.
c. The Jewish people have been ruled over and abused ever since - to this day still not possessing a King who will accomplish all that God intends to accomplish through the coming One - the Lord Jesus Christ.
d. They were essentially calling on Pilate to do his duty as a loyal servant of Tiberius Caesar - and professed their loyalty to him as a inducement for Pilate to do what would be in the best interest of a loyal Roman.
e. The claim of Caesar being their one and only king substantiates the rejection of the will of God and His provision for their need.
Application: Many a person today is saying about the same thing that the Jews said that day - “I have no king but myself” They cannot hardly think of giving themselves to God and put themselves under His rulership in their life. Sadly, many a Christian is also unwilling to fully commit their life to God as the King of their life, and submit to Him as a result.
II. Golgotha: The Place Of Crucifixion--19:16-18
I would like us to notice five very important truths that these three verses teach us about our Lord Jesus Christ. These truths are quite a contrast from what we saw concerning Pilate and the People in the last three verses.
A. He was DELIVERED...unto them--19:16a
Pilate, now that he has made his rejection complete, simply hands Jesus over to the Jews, who then have the Roman soldiers do the dirty work. They didn’t waste any time doing what they had wanted to do with Jesus. Our Lord’s own estimate of Pilate’s act is recorded by the Spirit of prophecy through the Psalmist: "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with that which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood" (Ps. 94:20, 21)! Let us not forget, however, that behind the governor of Judea, who delivered the Lord Jesus unto the Jews, was the Governor of the Universe, who "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all" (Rom. 8:32). And why? Because He was "delivered for our offenses" (Rom. 4:25). Christ was delivered to death, that we might be delivered from death.
B. He was LED to that place as a lamb--19:16b - “And they took Jesus, and led him away.”
Christ was neither driven nor dragged, for He made no resistance. As prophecy had foretold long before, "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isa. 53:7). In Acts 8:32 this same verse is being read by the Ethiopian eunuch on his way back home from Jerusalem. The wording is much the same, except instead of “is brought” (which is the wording in Isaiah 53:7), it says “was led”.
C. He had LAID on him a wooden cross--19:17a
I’m reminded of the OT type of what happened to Jesus Christ here in John 19:17. It is found in Gen. 22 from the story of God’s test of Abraham in telling him to sacrifice his son of promise, Isaac. In Gen. 22:6 it says, “And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.” Isaac is a type of Christ, and like Christ, Isaac had to bear the wood that he was going to be laid out upon as the sacrifice.
D. He WENT FORTH to the place called Golgotha--19:17a
"He, bearing his cross, went forth." That is, out of Jerusalem, or as Hebrews 13:12 puts it, "Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without [outside] the gate." This, too, fulfilled an Old Testament type—every detail of the Passion fulfilled some prophecy or type. In Leviticus 16:27 we read, "And the bullock for the sin-offering, and the goat for the sin-offering; whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place shall one carry forth without the camp." Little did the blinded Jews imagine that when they madly hounded on the Romans to crucify Jesus outside the gates, that they were unconsciously perfecting the mightiest sin-offering of all!
E. He was LIFTED UP between sinners--19:18
This one verse records the fulfillment of at least three Old Testament prophecies.
1. The manner in which the Savior was to die had been clearly foretold.
A thousand years before this He had cried, by the Spirit of prophecy, "they pierced my hands and my feet" (Ps. 22:16); this is indeed most striking. The Jewish form of capital punishment was stoning. But no word of God can fall to the ground, therefore did Pilate give orders that Christ should be crucified, which was the Roman form of execution, reserved only for the vilest criminals.
2. Isaiah had declared, "He was numbered with the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12).
The Jews’ object was to add a final indignity and insult to the Lord; it was a public declaration that He was counted no better than the scum of the earth. Little did they realize that this expression of their malice was but a means for the carrying out of Messianic prediction!
3. It had been written that He should be "with the wicked at his death" (Isa. 53:9—literal translation).
But why did God permit His Beloved to be so outrageously treated? To show us the place which His Son had taken. It was the place which was due us because of our sins—the place of shame, condemnation, punishment. Moreover, the Lord crucified between the two malefactors, gave Him the opportunity to work one more miracle ere He laid down His life—a miracle of sovereign grace.