17and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews”, but, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.” ’ 22Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ 23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.’ This was to fulfil what the scripture says,
‘They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.’
25And that is what the soldiers did.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. 32Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ 37And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’
"New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
As is characteristic of John’s Gospel, Jesus is in control even of the scene of his execution. Thus, there is no Synoptic Simon of Cyrene in the Johannine account; Jesus carries his cross alone. The timing of the events is also different from Mark. In John, Jesus is crucified in the afternoon. And since, unlike the Synoptics, Jesus is crucified on the day before Passover, not on the first day of Passover, Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” is executed, in John’s Gospel, at the same time as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed in the Temple. John’s Gospel mentions that the execution placard is in multiple languages and that there is a dispute between Pilate and the chief priests over its wording. Johannine irony is again in evidence: Pilate actually acknowledges, as his soldiers did earlier, that Jesus is the King.
Only in John’s Gospel is Jesus’ tunic described as seamless. Most commentators understand this to be a symbol of the unity that should identify the Church. As the Johannine Jesus had earlier prayed in chapter 17, “Holy Father protect them … so that they may be one.” Also unique to John’s narrative is the presence of the mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross. Her appearance here has many parallels with her only other appearance in John’s Gospel, at the wedding feast at Cana in chapter 2. From the cross the Johannine Jesus commits his mother to the care of the Beloved Disciple, a character found only in John’s Gospel who is both the hero and symbol of the Johannine church. He is now in effect made Jesus’ brother and the care of Jesus’ intentions for the church, symbolized by his mother, are now cared for and nurtured by the Johannine community.
Jesus’ final words in John’s Gospel are neither a cry of abandonment, nor a prayer to the Father. He rather triumphantly exclaims, “It is finished” or “It is accomplished.” The Son had laid his life down freely, and thus will draw all people to himself. There is no statement by a centurion or a tearing of the Temple curtain in John’s account. Instead, blood and water gush from a spear wound in Jesus’ side. This is John’s symbolic way of depicting the Spirit or the Paraclete being unleashed into the world.