Please indulge me for a time as I want to focus my work on John 19 and the meaning behind this writing and its timely description of this season of life and rebirth…
In John 19:1-18, it has amazed me over the years what key decisions made that day of Christ’s death had from that day forward, particularly that of Pilate, to be thought and spoken of by so many great men. What my Lord endured for me was brought to life in the 2004 Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ… willing to be exposed to such scorn. While many of the scenes were incredibly difficult to witness, I believe that they helped strengthen my faith exponentially… to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings… to behold Him, and fall in love with Him even if for the first time; to be still looking unto Jesus in utter helplessness. There was a scene in the film when Jesus was being whipped and the witnessing Pharisees needed to turn away at the sight of Jesus’ suffering… what were they thinking then having help to put Jesus in this place? Even Pilate seemed to have thought that Jesus might be someone above the common order. In the end, our Lord was made to suffer the sins of both Jews and Gentiles; that the Jews should first purpose his death, and the Gentiles carry that purpose out. But, had not Christ been rejected by men that day, we would have been forever rejected of God! Now the Son of man was delivered into the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that we might escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a human Sacrifice bound to the altar. That day, Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at the altar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed to public justice.
John 19: 19-30 articulated many amazing events surrounding the circumstances of Jesus’ death. Pilate refused the chief priests that the writing above Jesus be altered… perhaps God dwelling within his heart? That this statement “Jesus of Nazarath, King of the Jews” describing our Lord’s character and authority might continue? Additionally, the many things done by the Roman soldiers were fulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament including how Christ tenderly provided for his mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, he offers another in ways and places we never considered. Christ’s example teaches us to honor our parents always… providing for their needs, and to provide comfort whenever possible. Observe the dying words of Jesus as He breathed His last… It is finished; that His sufferings were now fulfilled… that all prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished… that the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away… that an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness… that His sufferings were now finished in both soul and body… that the work of man’s redemption and salvation is now completed. His life was not taken forcibly from Him but freely given up.
John 19:31-37 saw Jesus lay His life down with his body speared. The very fountain of life offered blood and water from the pierced side of our Redeemer, signifying the two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ, justification and sanctification with blood signifying atonement and water for purification (Philippians 3). Pilate not allowing Christ’s legs to be broken fulfilled Scripture (Psalm 34:20)… the paschal lamb described in Exodus 12:46.
In John 19:38-42, just as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus stepped up to tend to Christ’s body after his death and show value they had for Christ’s person and doctrine, we are called to do our duty daily and leave it to God to fulfill His promises in His own way and His own time. However, in order to accomplish this task, we must prepare our hearts, for where God has a throne and an altar in the heart, there is a living temple in which the Spirit will be manifested (Exodus 40, Proverbs 16).
My prayer is that we continue to look to Jesus, whom, by our sins, we have ignorantly and heedlessly pierced, who shed from His wounded side both water and blood, that we might be justified and sanctified in His name. So great was His love for us, that He endured unspeakable suffering to set us free from condemnation forever… what greater love than this exists? Let us continue to live our lives in such a way that is honoring to God for His tremendous suffering, so that when people who don’t even know our name can recognize that there is change… that when they see us, they’re seeing You! In Jesus’ name… Amen.
Happy Easter all…