The Gospel of John, The Period of Consummation, Part XV, John 19:28-37 - Lesson 192
Read Verses John 19:28-30, After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
John passes over in silence the three hours of darkness that lasted from noon until three o'clock and brings our attention to the last act of Christ.
Imagine if you will a man hanging on a cross from spikes driven through his hands and some of his weight carried by his legs which press down upon spikes driven through his feet.
He has been in this position for six hours.
He is bleeding through these wounds and yet this man is in full control of the situation he is in.
John tells us that Jesus Christ knows when all things are finished that he is to accomplish in obedience to the Father.
He had been observing, one after the other, the fulfillment of the scriptures that foretold various aspects of his suffering.
In this passage John tells us that Jesus Christ knew that all things were accomplished yet one thing one left to be done.
The scripture was yet to be fulfilled.
There was one thing lacking.
Christ, the word of God, knew that every word was to be fulfilled.
And the word that was yet to be fulfilled was foretold in:
Psa 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
He sayeth, I thirst!
Psalm 69:21, was prophesied to express the bodily exhaustion of Jesus and was specified as part of his agony.
This expression of the Messiah's physical suffering was the last thing required that he might be made perfect.
Heb 5:8,9, tell us: Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
As the author of eternal salvation he was completing the writing of the book as he hung upon the cross.
And by him doing the work that the scripture prophesied he made the scripture perfect.
He neglected not one thing, even the last thing concerning his thirst.
We know not who had compassion on our Lord.
John says they filled a sponge with vinegar or sour wine and put it to his mouth.
I believe this must have been the soldiers because they were in charge and no one had a right to interfere with an execution.
At this moment all was complete.
All scripture had been fulfilled.
Every jot and title of the law, every word and deed, all that he had been given to do on the earth was finished.
His great sacrificial work, his sin bearing was now finished.
All that needed to be done to satisfy the righteousness of God was finished.
God's holiness was vindicated.
Peace was now made in the blood of the cross.
All was finished that was needed to reach down to man in his deepest sin and to save him.
All was finished so that the lost, the guilty, the hell-deserving sinner, becomes, by trusting in Him, a child of God and an joint heir with Christ.
All is finished to put on the side of the believer every spiritual blessing that God can bestow.
He then could say: It was finished.
There was not another breath that had to be taken and therefore he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Thus no man took his life from him.
He laid it down of himself.
Nothing can be added to the saving work of Christ.
For he himself has said it is finished.
For anyone to add to it is to challenge that last word of Christ and to call him a liar!
When God says that it is finished it is blasphemy to say otherwise.
Jesus Christ died on Friday the 15th of the Jewish month Nisan nee‑sawn, our April 7th around 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon.
Chronological calculations show that in the year 30, the 15th Nisan actually fell on a Friday, which was the case only once more between the year 28-36
John 19:31, The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
What is important to man is shown clearly in this verse.
The outward appearance rather than the condition of the heart, the inward.
Their concern was over the ceremonial law.
Very careful they were about the preparation of the passover and observation of the sabbath day while their hands were red with the blood of the Son of God.
It was the Roman custom to allow the bodies to hang on the cross until they wasted away or were consumed by the birds of prey.
The bodies were to feed the crows.
What was left was disposed on in the ash heap where criminals were thrown.
But Jewish law expressed in Deut. 21:22,23 commanded that a body shall not remain all night upon a tree but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day.
And not only that but this sabbath was a high sabbath occuring during passover.
This day was on the eve of the regular weekly sabbath and also of the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
This is so typical of the sinner's frame, the frame of hypocrisy which strains out gnats and swallows camels.
The Jews considered themselves bound to observe every jot and tittle of an outward ordnance but cared nothing in violating the most weighty precepts of the moral law.
They could murder an innocent man and yet they could not imagine letting his dead body hang upon the Sabbath day.
It was urgent that the prisoners die quickly and breaking their legs would hasten death for it would transfer all weight to their arms and hands.
The whole weight of the body dropped down fixing the thoracic cage of the torso so that the lungs could no longer expel the air which was breathed in.
Death was hurried by asphyxiation. (as-fix-e-a-tion)
Jesus had said that he would be buried and he would rise on the third day.
If the Jews had not insisted that his body be removed in observation of their holy days he would have hung on the cross and not been buried.
Again the Jews carry out God's plan.
As someone has said God's wickedest enemies are only axes, saws and hammers in His hands, and are ignorantly His instruments for doing His work in the world.
John 19:32, Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
The Jews prevailed with Pilate and orders were given to brake the legs of the three on the crosses.
The word brake in the Greek means to rend in pieces, to crack apart.
This was to be no little tap but it was to be a braking of many bones in the legs to insure that the legs were useless.
Presumably the solders worked from either side, finishing off the two thieves before arriving at the center cross.
They found the two malefactors on the first and third crosses still alive and the soldiers took their mallets and smashed their legs.
This of course ushered one the forgiven thief into paradise where Jesus Christ promised him he would be that day.
Jesus had given up his spirit before him so the malefactor was received in paradise by the very one who was so recently next to him on the cross.
John 19:33, But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
When they arrived at the cross of Jesus Christ they saw that death had already done its work.
His bowed head, his closed eyes, the limp body, his pale bloodless face told the story.
There was no need to brake his legs.
Why waste the effort?
Most likely they were surprised to see him dead already.
Death by crucifixion was never over in six hours!
This verification by the enemies of Christ as to his death is the first witness of him dying.
These were trained executioners, under orders of Pilate to hasten the death of the three crucified and by their actions, testify that Jesus Christ died on the cross.
This shows further evidence of the uniqueness of Christ's death.
The Lord Jesus Christ and the two thieves had been crucified together.
They had been on their respective crosses the same length of time.
But now only six hours later both thieves were alive but Jesus Christ was dead.
No vital member of his body had been affected and in most cases the sufferer lingered on two or three days.
It was not natural for Christ to be dead an yet he was.
It was he who gave up the ghost because his job was finished.
John 19:34-37, But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
Here is the second proof that our Lord really died.
One of the soldiers to be sure that his report to Pilate would be true took his spear and aimed it at the heart of Jesus Christ and pierced his side.
He did not do this to the dying thieves but only the one that was already dead.
Out of his side came blood and water.
It must have been identifiable as blood separated from water.
John bare record that this is true.
We know now that the blood and water signified justification and sanctification.
Blood stands for remission, water stands for regeneration, blood stands for atonement, water stands for purification.
John saw this as a miracle. John saw this as supernatural.
Blood flowing from a dead body.
Blood and water flowing together yet identifiable as blood and as water?
It is as if God is repeating the message he already gave that this is my beloved Son, hear ye him!
John gives witness to these events for our learning:
For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
John quotes Psa 34:20 which prophesies, He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
God who prepared Jesus Christ as the true passover lamb obeyed his own commandment of Exo 12:46, In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
For fifteen hundred years Israel had observed this commandment in the passover observance, and none of them had any idea of its meaning.
And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
John recalls Zech 12:10 which was written some 500 to 600 years before this event:
The piercing of the side of Christ at his crucifixion readies him for this verse which points to the second coming of Christ.
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
This piercing of the Savior's side and his unbroken bones show absolutely the sovereignty of God.
The soldiers had received orders to brake the legs of Christ and they had not.
They had not received orders to pierce his side but one did.
The soldiers had no inkling that their actions were putting into effect what had been written long before.