“So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus,” (John 19:16)
The King James and the New King James Version of John 19:16 adds at the conclusion of the verse “and they led Him away.” The best and earliest Greek texts omit this statement.
John 19:16 details the moment Jesus was handed over to His adversaries to be crucified. Pontius Pilate acquiesced, or consented, to the Jews’ demand, even though he found no guilt in Jesus. The Jews then took Jesus for the expressed purpose of fulfilling the desire they had since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry three years earlier: to execute Him.
The Gospel of Luke says, delivered to their will (23:25). Pilate pronounced no sentence of guilt against Jesus, but disclaimed all responsibility for the act, and delivered Christ up to them (αὐτοῖς). They, referring to the Jewish leaders, invoked the responsibility of executing Jesus upon themselves. See Matthew 27:24-25.
As teacher and commentator Robert Rothwell explains, “Had Pontius Pilate been a man of integrity with the courage to act on his convictions, he never would have sentenced Jesus to death. After all, he clearly did not believe that Jesus was guilty of either sedition against the Roman Empire or blasphemy against the God of Israel. We see evidence of this in his repeated attempts to get the Jewish religious leaders to call for him to release Jesus. Pilate stressed again and again that he found no guilt in Jesus. The Roman governor even offered the Jewish authorities a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, a man with a known criminal past (John 18:28–19:11; see Luke 23:18–19).”
It would be easy to perceive that Jesus was a victim of circumstances beyond His and God the Father’s control. Nothing could be further from the truth. What occurred was within the sovereign plan and will of Almighty God.
The Apostle Peter, as recorded in Acts 2:22-24, preached on the Day of Pentecost these words: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”
There are two phrases Peter used to which careful attention must be given. They are (1) the definite plan and (2) foreknowledge of God. A proper understanding of both phrases is necessary for us to glean a clear understanding of what John related in John 19:16.
The first phrase, definite plan, is from the Greek words ὡρισμένῃ, βουλή (horismene, boule). It means a designated, assigned or appointed plan and purpose. Foreknowledge, προγνώσει (prognosei), means no just to know beforehand but to also make a predetermined choice. Both the definite plan, along with the knowledge and predetermined choice to initiate it, belong to God the Father.
One commentator explains it this way: “From eternity past (2 Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8) God predetermined that Jesus would die an atoning death as part of his pre-ordained plan (Acts 4:27–28; 13:27–29).”
Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross was not one of several ways God the Father could have redeemed His people. It was the only way. As pictured from Exodus 12 account of the original Passover, which was not only a day of judgement but also a day of salvation, we see that the cross of Jesus Christ did not just appear out of nowhere.
Dr. Joel Beeke states, “God made a distinction between Egypt and Israel for a specific reason. The distinction was not one of race or nation, class or privilege. It was a distinction of blood. The people were sheltered under the blood of the lamb. Blood was the distinctive mark that save them. This blood points to Christ as God’s Lamb. The crux of Christ’s ministry is when He, as the Paschal Lamb, fulfills everything that God so clearly points to in the Old Testament.”
Nothing is more necessary today than the precious blood of Jesus to redeem sinners. Jesus atoning death is the only way God delivers sinners from the penalty, power and presence of sin.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!