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John Chapter 19:21-42

Memory verses for this week:  Isa 26:4  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: 

Introduction:   In our last study, we saw the people crying out for Jesus to be crucified as Pilate tried his best to release him.   Three times Pilate stated that he could find no fault in him, yet even when he offered to release Jesus as a special blessing to the people at the time of the passover, they cried for the robber Barabbas to be the one released.   There was no fault in Jesus, but now He must face death on the cross there on Mount Calvary.   How fitting that this lesson was taught the first time on Easter Sunday, 1999. 

I. The Crucifixiation

John 19:19  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

John 19:20  This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

John 19:21  Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

John 19:22  Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

We see that the led Jesus and the two malefactors out to Golgotha, the place of the skull to be crucified.  And we see Pilate writing a title above Jesus in three languages.  The title read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  This was not what the chief priests wanted, but it was true and lives through time.  Pilate told them “What I have written I have written.”   John Calvin had this to say about these verses in his Commentary on the book of John. 

“Pilate had a notice prepared.   The evangelist relates a memorable action of Pilate, after having pronounced the sentence.  It is perhaps true that it was customary to place notices when criminals were executed, so that everyone might know the reason for the punishment as a deterrent.  But in Christ’s case there is this extraordinary detail, that the notice which is put above him implies no disgrace, for Pilate’s intention was to avenge himself indirectly on the Jews (who by their obstinacy had extorted from him an unjust sentence of death on an innocent man) and in the person of Christ to throw blame on the whole nation.  Thus he does not accuse Christ of any crime.  But the providence of God, which guided the pen of Pilate, had  a higher objective.  It did not, indeed, occur to Pilate to praise Christ as the author of salvation and the King of a chosen people.  But God dictated to him this commendation of the Gospel, although he did not know the meaning of what he wrote.  It was the same hidden guidance of the Spirit that caused the notice to be written in three languages.  Most probably this was not an ordinary practice, but the Lord showed by this careful planning that the time was now ready for the name of his Son to be made known throughout the world.   “What I have written, I have written.”  Pilate’s firmness must be put down to God’s overruling.  There can be no doubt that they attempted, in various ways, to change his mind. So we know that he was held by a divine hand, and he remained unmoved.  Pilate did not yield to the cries of the priests and did not allow himself to be corrupted by them.   The example of Pilate reminds us, also, that it is our duty to remain stedfast in defending the truth.

John 19:23  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

John 19:24  They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

We know that God had a reason for allowing four different men, from four different viewpoints and backgrounds, to pen the four accounts of the Gospel.  What a blessing to hear each man, by the direction of God, give us his account of Christ’s life and ultimate death.   John’s account of the gospel was centered around the love of God toward man, and the importance of the Deity of Jesus Christ.  While no two books are alike in their accounts (some reveal special record of certain miracles and healings), we know that the important, highly crucial points were all penned in each of the four accounts.  This is one of those special events, and the other three accounts of the Gospel also mention the fact that they divided up his clothes.  This was important as it was a fulfillment of prophecy. 

Psa 22:18  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.


Mat 27:35  And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.


Mark 15:24  And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 

Luke 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

John 19:25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 19:26  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

John 19:27  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

We see that three women all named Mary stand looking on as the only Begotten Son of God is crucified on the cross.  Oh how hard this must have been for Jesus’ mother to watch her son die.  This was the one that God had allowed to be born of her, a virgin at the time of conception and also at Christ’s birth.   The father of Jesus Christ was not Joseph, but God Himself.   The scripture is clear about how the conception took place, and how that Mary never knew Joseph, her husband, until after Christ was born.   Here, the one that God had promised to save the people from their sins, was dying what must have seemed a futile death.  But this was not a futile death, but the exact thing that must have happened for us to have forgiveness of our sins.   As we said last week, here was the just dying for the unjust.     We see Jesus caring for His mother even unto the end.  He asks John to take His mother and to care for her.  Is this not the great love of God being shown even at the end of Christ’s life.  He was always caring for others, and if you don’t know God’s love, you know nothing about true love.   Men and women love with an expectation of return in that love.  God’s love, the agape love, is perfect and seeks nothing in return.   Matthew Henry commented that it was a great honor for John to have been asked to care for Mary.   “This was an honor put upon John, and a testimony both to his prudence and to his fidelity.  If he who knows all things had not known that John loved him, he would not have made him his mother’s guardian.  It is a great honour to be employed for Christ, and to be entrusted with any of his interest in the world.  Note how John immediately took Mary into his own home.  Those that truly love Christ, and are beloved of Him, will be glad of an opportunity to do any service to him or his.  By history, it shows that Mary lived with John at Jerusalem eleven years, and then died.”

John 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

John 19:29  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.

John 19:30  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 

We have record in the bible where the rich man in Hell looked up and begged that Lazarus could come and put a drop of water to cool his tongue.  If Jesus had not died this death, you and I would be facing those same flames of Hell where there is never any relief.   Jesus is expressing the travail of his soul.  He thirsted throughout His life to do the very Will of the Father.  And this bitter cup was what He had to endure for our salvation. 

Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Isa 53:12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. 

The scriptures had foretold that Jesus would thirst as He suffered for us on that cruel tree. 

Psa 22:14  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

Psa 22:15  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 

We see how little respect the persecutors show Jesus.  They would not give him a drink of water in a cup. But rather they put vinegar in a sponge, and lift it up to Him.  My commentaries did not agree on whether it was vinegar alone or a mixture of vinegar and hyssop-water.  One said that it was a piece of hyssop used to extend the sponge up to Christ.  The other said the soldiers mixed vinegar with what was called hyssop-water, and gave that to Him as He faced His last breath.  While the vinegar must have tasted sour, it nothing compared to the taste of death that Jesus tasted for all mankind.   It was a horrible taste that Jesus had to forbear, and He did it all for you and me.     And with that final breath, Jesus says “It is finished.”   And he gave up the ghost.   When we die, the soul goes on to be with the Lord, while the body goes to the grave.  And our bodies stay in the grave until the day Jesus returns and calls them out.  With Jesus’ body, it was not going to be long in the grave.  Three days and three nights is all that it would lay in the tomb.   When Jesus said “It is finished”, I’m sure many thought that this was the end of this false prophet.  That He meant His life was finished.  And while life temporarily left His body, so much more was finished.   At that moment, God’s perfect plan of salvation, the sacrifice that had to be offered for sinful man, was completed.   All that was left for Jesus to do was to take His blood before God and sprinkle it on the perfect Mercy Seat, and then to sit down on the right hand of God showing that the job was finished once and for all.   The priests thought that finally they were finished with the one who threatened their old religious ways.  What they did not know, is that this was the beginning of the greatest movement to ever take hold of civilization.   In just a few short days, Jesus would rise victorious over sin.   Satan had bruised Jesus on the cross like God had promised would happen in Genesis, but Satan did not win the battle like he thought. 

Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Heb 10:8  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Heb 10:9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 10:11  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

Heb 10:12  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Heb 10:13  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Heb 10:14  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 

II.  The Body of Christ

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.

John 19:32  Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

John 19:33  But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

We see that they were eager to get the bodies off the cross since it was a high sabbath day.  It is important for several reasons to note that they brake the legs of the two on each side of the Lord to put them to death.  But Jesus was dead already, so they did not break His legs.  Some have said that when Jesus told the thief that “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise”, that he could only have been saved without baptism because the New Testament era did not start until Christ’s death.  That anyone who was saved after Christ’s death had to be baptized in order to be saved.  Note this destroys this false doctrine since both men died after Jesus.   Baptism is an ordinance of the church, and is the first act of obedience we should follow after we are saved.   But baptism is not an element of salvation.  Salvation comes by faith and repentance towards God.  The second thing that was important about the fact that no bones were broken is that this is another fulfillment of prophecy.

 Psa 34:20  He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

I read last week that for all the prophecies to have been perfectly fulfilled that were written down as many as hundreds of years before Christ’s birth by accident, the odds would be something like 60,000,000 to one.   The reason that we don’t have to worry about odds and things that the world brings up is because we know Jesus was exactly who He said He was.  He was God manifested in the flesh, coming at the exact hour, minute, and second God had ordained at the foundation of the world.   And just like he was on time to be born, He was on time to die for our sins, there is a perfect time that only God knows, and at that exact second, the eastern sky is going to light up, and we will see Him in all His glory.   These fulfillment’s of scripture are here for us, to prove to us that Jesus was the Messiah of the world.

John 19:34  But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

John 19:35  And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

John 19:36  For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 19:37  And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

By water and blood, Christ brought true atonement and washing.

1 John 5:6  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

When the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side, the water and blood came out.  We know in the old testament, a lamb was slain for a person’s sin, and its blood was poured out on the altar by the priest.  Jesus was the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world for our sins.   Matthew Henry said that this piercing of Christ was significant in several ways.   “ One is that it showed even in death, the very love of God showed through the wound in His side.   It signified the two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ—justification and sanctification.  The blood was for our remission, the water for regeneration; blood for atonement, water for purification.  They signified the two great ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, buy which those benefits are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.  It is not the water of the font hat will be to use the washing of regeneration, but the water out of the side of Christ; not the blood of grape that will pacify the conscience and refresh the soul, but the blood out of the side of Christ.  Now was the rock smitten, now was the fountain opened.  “

1 Cor 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  

Zec 13:1  In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

On  that last part of verse 37, they may have looked here on the one whom they pierced, but a day is coming in the future when the nation of Israel is going to see Jesus as their true Messiah.

Zec 13:6  And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

III.                The Burial of Christ 

John 19:38  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

John 19:40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

We see two of the “secret” disciples coming for the body of the Lord.  While we may tend to wonder why they just now appear, it is interesting that none of the other disciples are around at this point.

We see two of those that loved the Lord coming to take Him away for burial.  Some questioned whether Nicodemus was saved.  Based upon verse 39, I think there is no doubt.  He brought with him a 100 lbs. of myrrh and aloes to sprinkle on the body.   It was traditional that they used ½ the person’s body weight in spices, which would tend to make us think that the Lord weighed around 200 pounds.    Pilate gives Joseph release of the body, and Nicodemus comes along with him.  They take the body and wind it up in linen clothes with the spices which was in the tradition of the Jews.  I think it was sad to see that they had to come privately to Pilate in fear of the Jews, even after Jesus is dead.   What a great hatred the religious leaders had for Jesus Christ.

John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

John 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

It appears that due to the approaching Passover, they had to hurry.  Apparently they did not complete the embalming process which might explain why the women came bring more spices after the feast day.   No man had ever lain in this tomb, and this man, Jesus Christ, would not lay there very long.   Just three days and three nights according to the scriptures.

Mat 27:57  When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

Mat 27:58  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

Mat 27:59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

Mat 27:60  And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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