John 19:16b-42 (Initial Acquaintance)
"So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him" (John 19:16b-18a). With these few words, John shifts the scene abruptly from the lengthy encounter between Jesus and Pilate to the execution of the former. Jesus is nailed to a cross.
Two other persons are crucified alongside him, reminding the reader that the manner of Jesus' death was not unique. Pilate has an inscription put on the cross of Jesus, reading, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Not surprisingly, "the chief priests of the Jews" object, asking the Roman governor to edit the inscription to indicate that Jesus only claimed to be King of the Jews. Pilate refuses.
After nailing Jesus to a cross, four Roman soldiers take the clothes of Jesus, dividing "them into four parts, one for each soldier." This detail indicates that Jesus not only died a painful death, but also a humiliating death. He suffered naked for all to see.
As he suffers and before he breathes his last breath, John's Jesus speaks three times. First, he tells his mother and one of his disciples to care for each other: "Woman, here is your son.... Here is your mother." Second, he says, "I am thirsty" (diyw, the same word Jesus uses in the beatitudes [Matthew 5:6]). Third, he says, "It is finished" (tetelestai). (The second and third sayings are just one word each.) Then Jesus dies in peaceful fashion.
In the Synoptic Gospels, the dying Jesus is depicted differently. In Mark and Matthew, Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). In Luke, Jesus says first "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (23:34), then "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (23:42), and finally "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (23:46). In these three Gospels (especially Mark and Matthew), the crucified Jesus comes across as more human, suffering greatly both physically and emotionally--he feels that God has abandoned him. As has been the case earlier, John's Gospel seems to emphasize the divinity of the man Jesus.
Intriguingly, John's account of the death of Jesus ends with two secret disciples going public. Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate and gets permission to bury Jesus properly. And Nicodemus reappears (by day this time, John implies) to help.