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John 19:12-15 meaning

The Jews' Blasphemy: "We Have No King but Caesar." Pilate made efforts to release Jesus, but the Jews put him in a diabolical bind by framing his choose as to either support Caesar or betray him. Pilate ends the trial from his Judgment Seat. He gives the Jews a diabolical dilemma of their own when He presents Jesus and says: "Behold Your King." This forces the Jews to either accept Jesus as their King (in order to crucify Him) or deny that He is their King and admit that He is innocent of their charges. Rather than do either, the chief priests choose to blaspheme, saying "We have no King but Caesar." Their blasphemy all but seals Jesus's conviction. This event is part of the third phase of Jesus's Civil Trial. This phase is called: "Pilate's Judgment."

There are no obvious parallel Gospel accounts of this event, however Luke 23:23 is a general description of it.

This event is John's account of Pilate's final attempts to release Jesus. It occurred during the latter portions of the third and last phase of His civil trial.

The three phases of Jesus's civil trial were:

  1. Jesus's Arraignment before Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-7, John 18:28-38)
  2. Jesus's Audience before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8-12)
  3. Pilate's Judgment (Matthew 27:15-26, Mark 15:6-15, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:38 - 19:16)

The third phase of Jesus's civil trial was at the Praetorium, Pilate's Jerusalem headquarters (John 18:28, 19:9). This phase began while it still morning, most likely sometime around 8:00 a.m. (Mark 15:24 reports that Jesus is on the cross at 9:00 a.m.). 

To learn more about the timing and sequencing of these events, see The Bible Says' "Timeline: Jesus's Final 24 Hours."

Pilate had just interviewed Jesus for the second time (John 19:8-11). The purpose of his second interview was to investigate the new accusation that the Jews had charged against Jesus. They accused Him of violating the Jewish religious laws concerning blasphemy. The Jews pivoted to this new charge when it appeared that Pilate was hesitating to release Jesus after declaring Him innocent of their previous charges. This indicated he feared a riot, meaning he was more concerned about his own political career than following the law. 

Pilate had found Jesus innocent of the original charges, which were: upsetting the political order; sedition; and insurrection (Luke 23:2). Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea; and Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, had decided that Jesus was innocent of these charges no less than five times (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22, John 18:38b, 19:6b). 

The Roman governor was under no legal obligation to investigate the Jews' accusation that Jesus violated their religious laws, and he possibly violated Roman judicial protocol when he agreed to do so. But Pilate was exasperated and afraid that a riot was beginning to form (John 19:8, Matthew 27:24). If it did, it might result in him being relieved of his duty. He was therefore choosing between his own political gain and doing what he knew was right. 

This was an existential threat to Pilate. If a riot occurred, Pilate would likely be held responsible for it by Caesar and the Roman Senate. They would not hesitate to replace him, or put him on trial for an unsatisfactory performance. Because his position and freedom were at stake, Pilate seemed willing to break judicial protocol, and judge according to Jewish religious law. The Jews had authority to judge their religious laws, but did not have authority to crucify. 

During his second investigation, the governor interviewed Jesus, asking Him where He was from (John 19:9), but Jesus did not answer Him. Pilate then challenged Him by reminding his prisoner that he had the authority to release or crucify Him (John 19:10). Jesus acknowledged Pilate's authority over His life at this particular moment, but He informed His judge that he would have no power over Him if it were not first given to him from above (John 19:11a). Jesus then indicated to Pilate that he would be accountable to God for his decisions as His judge (John 19:11b).


Pilate's Fourth Attempt to Release Jesus
The governor seems to have understood, at least in part, what Jesus was warning him, because John tells us as a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him (v 12a).

Pilate had high, personal stakes for this decision. However, in one sense this seems out of character for the governor. Pilate had a penchant for being swift to violence during his tenure:

  • he mixed the blood of Galileans with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1
  • he defied Jewish laws and threatened death to those who did not comply (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII.3.1)
  • he set traps to kill Jews who opposed the building of an aqueduct (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII:3.2) 
  • he slaughtered Samaritan worshippers (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. XVIII.4.1) 

Given Pilate's record of brutality, it is remarkable that Pilate was reluctant to crucify Jesus and made efforts to release Him (Acts 3:13b). 

Pilate had previously made no less than three efforts to release Jesus (Luke 23:16, Mark 15:9, John 18:39, Luke 23:22, John 19:1-5).

The current scripture concerns Pilate's fourth and fifth attempts to release Jesus

John does not appear to detail precisely how Pilate made these efforts for his fourth attempt. John simply writes that as a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him

This fourth round of efforts was rejected and/or ignored by the Jews. They diabolically put the governor in a conundrum, framing him as having a choice between being an enemy of Caesar and letting Jesus go, or a friend of Caesar and crucifying Him. As a seal of this, the Jews will commit blasphemy, pledging loyalty to Caesar as their king (John 19:15).

The Jews Pressure Pilate with a Diabolical Dilemma
But the Jews cried out saying, "If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar" (v 12b).

With this statement the Jews reframed the civil trial of Jesus into the political trial of the Roman governor. They told him his options were to either release this Man (Jesus) and prove himself to be no friend of Caesar; or he could crucify Jesus (as they demanded) and prove himself to be a friend of Caesar

Caesar was the title of the Roman Emperor. The term friend of Caesar may have been a political title of honor officially bestowed on those the emperor favored. Pilate owed his position as governor to the good will of Caesar. If word got back to Rome that Pilate released a Man who makes himself out to be a king who opposes Caesar, then Pilate could also be charged as one who opposes Caesar

The Jews had diabolically pushed Pilate into a dilemma where he felt as if he must choose between following Roman law and releasing Jesus and being branded an enemy of Caesar on the one hand, or disregard Roman law and give into their demands to crucify Him and not be branded Caesar's enemy on the other hand. 

Pilate Sits Upon the Judgment Seat
Whether there was a specific reason or not, the Jews' diabolical threat prompted Pilate to move the trial towards a close.

Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha (v 13).

When Pilate heard the Jews' diabolical threat that if he released Jesus, then he was no friend of Caesar, the governor began to end the trial. First, he brought Jesus back out from the Praetorium where he had just interviewed Him (John 19:9-11). 

Next, he sat down on the judgment seat at an elevated porch called The Pavement. In Hebrew this place was calledGabbatha. From this place, Pilate could see the crowd below, who remained outside so as not to defile themselves for Passover (John 18:28). Previously Pilate had been going in and out of the Praetorium to address the Jews

By sitting down on the judgment seat, Pilate was adding official weight to his words and decisions. He was officially speaking on the record and his decisions would have been considered final. It was likely from this placethe Pavement—that Pilate would dramatically declare Jesus's innocence even as he handed Him over to be crucified (Matthew 27:24). Pilate's sitting down indicated to everyone present that the trial was nearing its conclusion and verdict. 

At the time this commentary is written (2024), it is possible to see and touch the same Pavement where the judgment seat stood. It is located in the Praetorium ruins on the outer city wall of Jerusalem opposite of Herod's Palace.

John's Observations
At the trial's climatic moment, John interjects two thematic observations.

John's first observation was: Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover (v 14a).

This remark deserves discussion. Passover was the holy day commemorating God's deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt. It was the first of three consecutive holy festivals: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. 

To learn more about these festivals, see The Bible Says article: "The Original Passover."

These festivals began one day after another and depending on when the Sabbath came. They lasted anywhere from eight to nine days (the Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar, so the days floated year by year). This eight-or-nine-day festival began on Nisan 14. 

The Passover lamb was slaughtered on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nisan and was eaten at sundown, which according to Jewish customs marked the beginning of a new day—Nisan 15 and the beginning of the seven-day Festival of Unleavened Bread. The Jews customarily refer to this entire eight day holy-day festival as Passover or "Unleavened Bread." 

By itself, or in a vacuum, John's expression that it was the day of preparation for the Passover could mean one of two things. 

First John could mean that it was Nisan 14, the official day before Passover. Nisan 14 was the day of preparation for Passover when the Jews double and triple checked that they had cleared out all the leaven from the homes, and slaughtered and cooked the Passover lamb during the afternoon. They were to eat the lamb and the Passover meal after sunset—at the beginning of Nisan 15. (The Jewish counting of days begins at sunset—not sunrise. Once the sun has set, the Passover Seder is the first thing that takes place on Nisan 15).

Without overriding context, this first possibility is the most straightforward and likely meaning of his expression. But John's expression it was the day of preparation for the Passover was not said in a vacuum and the Bible provides overriding context which appears to rule out that John meant that it was Nisan 14 when he wrote that it was the day of preparation for Passover

John's Gospel clearly informs us that Jesus had already eaten the Passover with His disciples the night before (John 13:1-2). Moreover, Matthew and Mark clearly indicate that the disciples prepared the Passover on the first day of Unleavened Bread/Passover (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12). Luke's Gospel also details a Passover meal (Luke 22:15). All four Gospels seem to indicate that it was now Nisan 15, not Nisan 14.

The second thing John could mean by the expression that it was the day of preparation for the Passover was that it was the day of preparation for the day of Sabbath which occurred during the Passover week. (Roughly speaking, this would be like the day before a holiday weekend). 

The day before the Sabbath day of Passover/Unleavened Bread is likely what John meant by the expression: it was the day of preparation for the Passover. All four Gospels support this by indicating that Jesus was crucified the day before the Sabbath (Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:42). The historian Luke is perhaps the most explicit on this fact when he comments just after Jesus's death:

"It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin."
(Luke 23:54).

All this to say that Jesus's trial and crucifixion likely took place on the sixth day of the week (Friday—by Roman Reckoning) which was the preparation day before the Sabbath Day; and it was during the Passover week—more precisely the first day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15) which was the same Jewish day the Passover meal was consumed. 

In saying it was the day of preparation for the Passover, John was indicating that it was the sixth day of the week, the day before the Sabbath during the Festival of Passover/Unleavened Bread.

In the beginning, God finished creating the world on the sixth day of the week (Genesis 1:31) and He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2). Jesus would complete the mission His Father had given Him on the sixth day of the week and say, "It is finished" (John 19:30) and would rest in His grave on the seventh day (Luke 23:55-56). 

John's second observation was it was about the sixth hour (v 14b).

To determine what John meant by this timestamp, a brief look at ancient timekeeping is necessary.

First century Judea measured time under two different systems: Jewish and Roman. Both operated on two 12-hour cycles for a day. The Jewish day began at sunset (roughly 6:00 p.m.) The Roman day began at midnight (precisely 12:00 a.m.). Moreover, both systems regularly estimated time according to "watches" (a three-hour time period). Events were commonly described according to the "watch," or the first hour of the watch, in which they occurred. 

Thus, it is common for ancient historians to generalize when events occurred to the third, sixth, ninth, twelfth hours. Even in our modern world we generalize and use rounding when describing the timing of an event. For instance, we often say the show started at four o'clock when more precisely it started at 4:11 p.m. But whereas modern Westerners round to the nearest hour, the ancients simply noted which watch (or the first hour of that watch) in which the event happened. 

An ancient historian might describe any event that happened during the third watch—whether it happened at 6:05 a.m. or 8:45 a.m. according to modern timekeeping—as happening during the third watch or the sixth hour (which was the beginning of the third watch according to Roman timekeeping).

All four Gospel writers appear to use this customary reckoning of time when they describe Jesus's civil trial and/or crucifixion. Matthew, Mark, and Luke appear to use Jewish time signatures, while John appears to use a Roman time signature.

When John wrote that it was about the sixth hour, he was likely saying that these things took place during the third Roman watch—which was sometime between 6:00 and 8:59 a.m. 

Moreover, the Gospel writer is admittedly rounding because he uses the word about in his account—which signals that it was not precisely at 6:00 a.m.—the sixth Roman hour—but rather it was about or during the watch that began at the sixth hour. This means Jesus's civil trial was drawing to its close during the third watch—probably sometime during the 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. range. Previously, John said that Jesus was first brought to Pilate while "it was early" (John 18:28), possibly as a way to indicate that it was just before or just as the third watch was beginning. 

If these things are what John meant, then Jesus's civil trial might have begun a little before 6:00 a.m. and concluded around 8:30 a.m. Mark (using Jewish timekeeping) says Jesus was on the cross at "the third hour"—or 9:00 a.m. (Mark 15:25).

When we combine both of John's two thematic observations, we see that the timing in which Pilate sat upon the judgment seat and brought Jesus out to the Jews for the final verdict was at the same moment when the chief priests who were in the temple were selecting the lamb for customary morning sacrifice for the Unleavened Bread. This was the same sacrifice which John referred to earlier when he explained why the Jews would not enter Pilate's Praetorium—because they did not want to defile themselves from being able to eat the Passover/Unleavened Bread Sacrifice (John 18:28).

The timing of Pilate's final presentation of Jesus to the Jews corresponds with the selection of the lamb that was to be sacrificed on Nisan 15, according to the Law. 

These thematic observations further associate Jesus as being the true and once-for-all sacrificial lamb of God which forever satisfied God's Passover, 

"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
(John 1:29)

Pilate's Fifth Attempt to Release Jesus
Pilate's last efforts to release Jesus came after he sat down on the judgment seat

As the Jews had antagonistically and diabolically put the governor in a politically painful dilemma between releasing Jesus (showing enmity to Caesar) or crucifying Him (showing loyalty to Caesar), so now Pilate antagonistically put the Jews in an uncomfortable and tricky dilemma of their own. 

Pilate's counter-dilemma was his fifth recorded attempt to release Jesus

 And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" (v 14c).

The dilemma was this, by referring to Jesus as your King, the governor was forcing the Jews to choose between two options, both of which were despicable to them

The first option was that they could correct Pilate and reject his description that Jesus was their King.

But if they denied Jesus was their King, then they would be acknowledging that Jesus was innocent of the charges they used to accuse Him—therefore they would be admitting along with Pilate that He should be released. But they had plotted to kill Jesus for a long time, and from the moment Judas came knocking at their door to alert them that Jesus was aware of their conspiracy, the religious leaders had gone to extraordinary lengths, violated countless laws, and devoted everything they had to condemn Him to death. 

See The Bible Says article: "Jesus's Trial, Part 1. The Laws Broken by the Religious Leaders: A Summary." 

Jesus's acquittal would have been disastrous for them. It likely would have put them in serious peril when their evil conspiracy to slander, condemn, and murder the Man many Jews regarded or hoped to be the Messiah became widely known. 

The second option Pilate gave them was to publicly admit that Jesus was their King

This admission was abhorrent to them because they deeply hated Jesus. Pilate was aware of how they despised Him (Mark 15:10). He knew the Jews would be loath to admit that Jesus was their King

Pilate had set a trap for the Jews to put them in a bind. Neither option was palatable to them. It was a clever attempt by the governor to release Jesus without further escalation.

Thematic Significance of "Behold your King"
As he had done earlier, when he announced: "Behold the Man!" (John 19:5), Pilate was saying far more about Jesus than he realized when he said: Behold your King!

The word, Behold, is an exhortation to pay special attention. It is the third time John has quoted Pilate as saying—Behold—during Jesus's civil trials. The first instance drew attention to Jesus's innocence (John 19:4). The second instance drew attention to His humanity (John 19:5).

John's account seems to draw special attention to Pilate's dramatic remark. The Gospel writer's brilliant literary construction of this moment almost makes it seem as though Pilate is presenting Jesus to the readers: Behold your King. 

Jesus was and is the King.

  • He was and is the Jewish Messiah and a King like David. (2 Samuel 2:12-13, Matthew 1:1).
  • He is the King of Kings. (Rev 19:16)

But in this moment, He did not appear as a mighty King. Jesus was bloodied, dressed in a robe, and crowned with thorns (John 19:1-2). He appeared as a despised King of curses. 

Jesus was exactly as Isaiah prophesied of Him:

"He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him…
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;"
(Isaiah 53:2b-3a) 

No one saw Jesus for who He was. 

"He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."
(John 1:11)

"An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master's manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand."
(Isaiah 1:3)

Both the chief priests and the Jewish people "disowned [Jesus] in the presence of Pilate"…"in ignorance" (Acts 3:17, 13). But their ignorance was the result of their pride and selfishness and hatred for Jesus whose teachings and growing influence threatened their position. 

Pilate's diabolical offer to the Jews was intended to insult them. But without knowing it, the Gentile governor presented to the Jews their true Messiah and King when he said, "Behold your King!"

The next time Jesus is presented as King, everyone, including Pilate and the Jews who condemned Him, will see Jesus as King (Philippians 2:9-11). 

"Thus He will sprinkle [astonish] many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him."
(Isaiah 52:15a).


The Jews' Response to Pilate's Fifth Attempt to Release Jesus
In an attempt to release Jesus, Pilate tried to trick the Jews by presenting them with a dilemma. When he offered Jesus to the Jews, he described Him as "your King!" If the Jews rejected Pilate's description of Jesus, then they would be admitting and agree with Pilate that Jesus was innocent. But to maintain their position that Jesus deserved death, they would have to accept Pilate's description—that Jesus was their "King"—which they were loath to say—even hypocritically. 

Instead of overtly confess what they hated (that Jesus was their King) or losing their objective (that Jesus be crucified), the Jews silently accepted Pilate's account of Jesus as "your King" (John 19:14) before they reframed the argument:

So they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" (v 15a).

Rather than risk Jesus's release, the Jews choose to quietly go along with Pilate's identification that Jesus was their King so that He would be crucified. But they refused to confess with their mouths that Jesus was their King; the Jews did so tacitly by not correcting Pilate's description of Him as their King. (When Jesus returns as their King they will confess with their mouths that He "is Lord"—Philippians 2:11).

By not correcting Pilate, the Jews tacitly accepted Pilate's assessment that Jesus was "your King" (John 19:14). This was the only time the Jews accepted Jesus as their King—but it was done only implicitly, and only as a means to crucify Him

In this profoundly strange and ironic moment, by virtue of not correcting Pilate's assessment, that Jesus was their King, the chief priests, elders, and all the other Jews who were present implicitly accepted that Jesus was their King and Messiah, if only to crucify Him. A further irony was that their first and only acknowledgement of Jesus was part of the Jews' final and ultimate rejection of Jesus as their King

The Jews rejection of their Messiah was nearly complete. They called for His removal—away with Him, away with Him. And they called for His death—crucify Him!

With the Jews having tacitly accepted Pilate's description of Jesus as their King (in order to have Him killed) the Roman governor (who wanted to release Jesus) was backed into a corner. The Jews were calling for him to crucify their King

Pilate pressed the Jews and tried to force them to admit again that Jesus was their King and to verify that they wanted to crucify Him or to deny that He was their King and accept that He should be released. 

Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" (v 15b).

The chief priests' response to Pilate's question was astounding. Rather than admitting what was hateful to them or accept the possibility of Jesus's acquittal, the chief priests decided to reframe their response to Pilate's question and commit blasphemy against God instead.

The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar" (v 15c).

From a Jewish perspective—only God was King. The chief priests' reply was tantamount to saying: "We have no God but Caesar. This was even more the case, given that Caesar claimed to be a god and to be worshipped as a god. 

When the chief priests declared: We have no king but Caesar, they shouted what was truly blasphemy. Ironically, blasphemy was the same sin/crime which the Jews had illegally and falsely charged Jesus with during His religious trials (Matthew 26:65-66, Mark 14:64, Luke 22:70-71). And it was the same charge they had just brought against Jesus to Pilate (John 19:7). Jesus was innocent of this charge—He was God—and yet He had been condemned for it without a proper investigation.

Their level of hypocrisy was flagrant and bold—even by their standards. 

Apparently, the chief priests—just as the high priest Caiaphas had done earlier when he tore his robes (Matthew 26:65)—were willing to commit blasphemy and violate the first of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7) in order to condemn Jesus of blasphemy and crucify Him

In this moment, the chief priests chose to commit blasphemy against God rather than accept Jesus's acquittal (by denying that he was their King). And they apparently chose to blaspheme God rather than admit, if only in hollow words, that Jesus was their King so that Pilate would crucify Him. Such was the depravity. Such was their hatred towards their Messiah. 

For the second time within this trial the innocent (Jesus) was condemned and the guilty acquitted. In both cases the innocent party was Jesus. In the first instance the guilty party was Barabbas. In the second instance the guilty party being acquitted was the chief priests.

Barabbas was guilty of insurrection (Mark 15:7, Luke 22:19). Jesus was charged with insurrection (Luke 22:2) but He was innocent of the charges (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22, John 18:38b, 19:4). Although innocent, Jesus was condemned. Barabbas, the guilty insurrectionist, was released and allowed to live. Jesus, the innocent and falsely accused insurrectionist was punished and executed in the guilty Barabbas's place (Matthew 27:21-22, Luke 22:18-21, John 18:40). 

The chief priests were guilty of blasphemy (We have no king but Caesar). Jesus was not guilty of blasphemy (He was God). The blaspheming chief priests falsely accused Jesus. From a human perspective they were not punished and had neither their liberty nor their life imperiled by their crime. Meanwhile Jesus was innocent, being falsely accused of blasphemy, but was punished and executed instead of the guilty priests (John 11:48-50, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:2). When Jesus died, He died for the sins of the whole world, including the sins of His accusers. 

In both instances—Barabbas and his insurrection and the chief priests and their blasphemy—Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah was fulfilled:

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God and afflicted…
He was crushed for our iniquities."
(Isaiah 53:5, 6b)

By saying: "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests had exchanged their souls for their position and worldly influence. But their exchange would bring about their downfall and utter ruin. In 70 A.D. Rome would utterly crush the city of Jerusalem, demolish and burn the temple, and eliminate their nation (Matthew 24:1-2, 27:6-10). The chief priests sought to save their life by having Jesus—their King crucified—but in the end they would lose everything (Luke 9:23-25).

It was even more fitting that the king they chose for themselves—Caesar—would be the one who would destroy them. In Jesus, they were presented the choice of Life (John 14:6) but they chose death instead: 

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants."
(Deuteronomy 30:19)

A possible Sixth Attempt by Pilate to Release Jesus
Matthew 27:24-25 may be a detailed description of Pilate's final efforts to have Him released or it may have been a personal appeal by the governor to absolve and acquit himself of the sin he was about to commit—the sin of ordering an innocent Man to be crucified,

"When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, 'I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves.'"
(Matthew 27:24)

The governor knew that Jesus was innocent and not deserving of death (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22, John 18:38b). He understood that the morally right and lawfully required action was to release Jesus without further punishment (Acts 3:13b). If what Matthew describes here was an account of Pilate's sixth attempt to release Jesus, he was trying to shift the blame and make the Jews feel and incur the responsibility and guilt of this decision, and therefore reconsider their desire to crucify Him. However, the Jews emphatically reassured Pilate that Jesus's blood would not be on the governor's account but on themselves and their children (Matthew 27:25).

In saying: "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25), the people failed to choose the path of life and prosperity; they chose "death and adversity" for themselves and their descendants (Deuteronomy 19:15, 30).

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