The Death Of Jesus: An Exegesis Of John 19:28–37 -- By: R. Alan Culpepper
FM 5:2 (Spring 1988) p. 64
The Death Of Jesus:
An Exegesis Of John 19:28–37
Professor of New Testament Interpretation,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The Gospel of John’s account of the death of Jesus differs markedly from that of the synoptics. Missing are the scenes of mocking, the cry of dereliction, the centurion’s confession, and the other words of Jesus from the cross. In their place we find five scenes:
- The Title: “King of the Jews” (19:19–22)
- The Parting of the Garments (19:23–24)
- Jesus’ Mother and Beloved Disciple (19:26–27)
- Jesus’ Last Words (19:28–29)
- The Piercing of Jesus’ Side (19:29–37)
Other passages in John set Jesus” death in a distinctive, Johannine context. His death is his “lifting up” (3:14; 8:28; 12:32–33), by which he will be glorified and draw all persons to himself. His death is the “hour” (2:4; 12:27) of his glorification (17:1), part of his return to the Father (13:1). Jesus’ crucifixion was his enthronement as the “King of the Jews.” Emphasis on Jesus’ suffering, so prominent in Mark, is also diminished in John.
An earlier, traditional interpretation of Jesus” death as expiation (John 1:29, 36; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) has been overlaid by a distinctively Johannine interpretation of Jesus’ death as the fulfullment of his mission to reveal the Father (1:18). Paul interpreted Jesus’ death as humiliation: “he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him...” (Phil. 2:8–9). For John, however, Jesus’ death is itself a part of his exaltation.
This Johannine interpretation of Jesus’ death soon gave rise to a view that Jesus’ death was not important for salvation; his revelation of the Father brought salvation to all who believed (see 3:18–19
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