Tom: We’re continuing with the gospel. We’re in the Gospel of John. Dave, last week we were in chapter 19, and we’re going to pick up with John:19:19: “And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross, and the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title, then, read many of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city, and it was written in Hebrew and Greek and Latin.”
Dave, before we go on, it is a question—I think it’s a reasonable question—what was written on the sign that was placed on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”—that’s not what it says in all the other three gospels.
Dave: Yeah. Well, none of the gospels gives the complete statement. For example, I think it was Matthew says, “This is Jesus of Nazareth.” We don’t have that here. Well, it’s not necessary. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Some of them don’t say, “King of the Jews.” Some of them don’t say “Jesus.” But they’re all talking about the same inscription. You put them all together, you get the whole thing. But none of it’s contradicting…
Dave: …one another. A little bit of shorthand, or whatever. You get the gist of it in every one. You don’t get every word in every one. But you have no contradictions in them.
Tom: I think a point we’ve made in previous programs is that when we look at the four gospels, they’re from different perspectives. And that’s one of the reasons, as you know, this wasn’t collusion or somebody didn’t just take one thing and sort of just stamp it…So, to me, it’s another proof that these gospels were written by four different individuals. As you say, they don’t contradict one another. They just give four different perspectives on things.
Dave: Yeah. Tom, as we’ve often said, but I don’t think we’ve said it in a long time on this program, if you have four witnesses in court, and they are testifying for the plaintiff, let’s say. Or for the defendant. And they each just parrot exactly what the other one said. Awww, it’s a setup! I wouldn’t trust them. But if they independently—you know, they’re giving their independent viewpoint, how they saw this incident happen, they don’t necessarily say the same words. In fact, they don’t say exactly the same words, but when you see what they’re saying they’re all in agreement, then you’ve got a solid case.
So that’s what the Bible gives us in four gospels.
Tom: Verse 21: “Then said the chief priest of the Jews to Pilate, Write not THE KING OF THE JEWS but that he said, I am the king of the Jews.” Now, I don’t know if you mentioned it last week, or we were just talking about it in passing—I think Pilate was trying to razz them a bit, stick it to them a bit.
Dave: Well, they accused Him of claiming to be a king. And he says to the people, “Shall I crucify your king?” He’s being a bit sarcastic. The King of the Jews. And, in fact, he could say to Caesar, “I got rid of their king. They were going to have an uprising, and I took care of that. I got them even to agree to crucify Him.”
I think that he’s just giving the rabbis back a little bit. He knows this man is innocent, and he’s putting this on there because it is going to make them angry. And they are angry. Then of course, he says, “What I have written, I have written. You aren’t going to change me now. This is a done deal. Be upset if you wish.”
And it’s interesting that…of course, it fits the Bible, that they would take the Messiah and crucify Him. The Messiah is the King. Isaiah:9:7: “Of his kingdom and peace there will be no end.”
And Gabriel says to the virgin Mary, “On the throne of his father David he’ll rule for ever.”
The Messiah is the king! And they have crucified their king. So what Pilate says is very accurate to the Scriptures, and he’s finally speaking the truth, but it’s an amazing story, Tom. And all the details…and we go to Acts 13, remember, Paul’s first recorded sermon that he preached, he talks about the rulers, and the leaders of the people, because they didn’t know the Scriptures, the prophecies—they fulfilled them in what they did.
And this is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy here.
Tom: Verse 23: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.”
Interesting, Dave, it just...”When they had crucified Jesus,” and then past that. They don’t…
Dave: Yeah, it says…the next verse says, “They said therefore among themselves, Let’s not rend it. (Let’s not tear it up to divide it between us. I mean, this is woven without seam. This is a unique garment.) Let’s cast lots for it, whose it shall be. That the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they cast lots. These things, therefore, the soldiers did.”
Tom, I don’t know if you remember…you were in the movie industry. I had an office right on the corner of Wilshire and Beverly Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills. California Bank Building. I remember when Louis B. Mayer used to come in his chauffeured limousine and check it out, because he owned it. And I would bump into Elizabeth Taylor on the elevator. Her psychiatrist was in there. And I was on the fifth floor.
But anyway, they made this movie, and there was a theatre right across the street: The Passover Plot—do you remember that one? The whole thesis was, well, Jesus knew the prophecies, and he and Judas conspired to fulfill them—you know, to have them fulfilled so that they would think he was the Messiah. Well, it’s kind of ludicrous, because you’ve got to get yourself killed, and you’re going to prove that you’re the Messiah by getting killed—getting crucified—pretty painful. And then if you really are the Messiah, you’re going to have to rise from the dead. Furthermore, how did Jesus…oh, He could have arranged certain things, you know. Judas was in on the deal, so he could have bargained for 30 pieces of silver, then he throws them down in the temple to fulfill that prophecy, but how does Jesus know what soldiers will be on duty at the cross? So that he can get them to do what they never did, that is, pierce his side with a spear. He can get them to gamble for his clothes, and so forth. It doesn’t hold together.
And the prophecies are the proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be. No question about it. Especially in His resurrection.
Tom: Well, Dave, speaking about movies, most people know (if they’ve been on the planet) The Passion has been, certainly—much to do has been made of that. But regarding these verses, as I said earlier, in one phrase: “And when they had crucified Jesus…” and it gets past the crucifixion. But also, if you remember from the film, they actually ripped the clothes of Jesus apart—they tore it apart. I wonder, was that artistic license, or just…what?
Dave: Well, Tom, I haven’t read that book by that mystic, but did she see that happening? Because so much else that he took…
Tom: Well, that’s where all the details, extrabiblical details, for the most part, were taken from. But again, that’s not the Scripture. This is what the Scriptures say, and we go by the Scriptures.
Dave: I’m astonished, Tom, that so many evangelical leaders have said that that film is basically biblical. It certainly is not biblical by a long shot. But anyway, you wrote a book about it, so we’re not going to get into that.
Tom: Right. Verse 25: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son.”
And Dave, we just have less than a minute.
Dave: “Then said he to his disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour, that disciple took her unto his own home.” I think it’s pretty straightforward. Mary is not suffering with Christ. She’s loyal. She’s there. Christ is making provision for her. You know, “John, take care of her.” But we don’t have anything more than that, and certainly not what the Catholic Church teaches about Mary.
So, I think we can let it go at what the Bible says, and we’ll move on from there next week.