Summary: Second in a series of three describing the day the earth really did stand still
And Gave Up His Spirit
Last week I strove to bring attention to the first of several miraculous workings performed by Jehovah God on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, namely the great darkness that enveloped the entire universe during the final three hours that the man given the title “King of the Jews” hanged upon the cross. Today, I want to examine more of the miracles we read of occurring specifically at the time of His death. Turn with me to the Gospel of John, chapter 19, starting with verse 28. I will interject Luke 23:46 at the place where I believe to be the proper time:
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar full of vinegar was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, 'It is finished!' And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.' and having said this, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (Joh 19:28-30)
Now in the real world Jesus' command over the course of this ordeal was something that simply could not have been done. Crucifixion was the most agonizing form of execution ever devised by the mind of ancient man. Roman law even forbade its use upon a Roman citizen. Its cruelty lay in the fact that it took the victim’s most basic innate desire for self-preservation, and turned it against himself in a most hideous fashion. In addition to the excruciating pain, and the slow, inevitable physical breakdown of the body’s ability to sustain life, the victim’s mind also became a battleground between its instinctive will to live, and the growing, insatiable, frustrated longing for death, if for no other reason, then simply as a release from the indescribable anguish of the moment. Its effect upon the living was also undeniable, because at this time no one would willingly risk the wrath of Roman rule if doing so meant suffering such a fate. Historical accounts attest to the fact that death by crucifixion took up to three days to run its course. Yet here was a man who defied everything by actually hastening His own demise while nailed to a cross.
Throughout the time of His ministry Jesus was called by many 'the Son of David,' and was looked upon by them as being the promised king destined to lead His people Israel to a position of renewed glory among the nations. To the Jews David was their ideal. Through the inspiration of the Spirit we know of the range of emotions that ancient king experienced in his life; confidence and courage, happiness and hatred, guilt and regret, remorse and despair, obedience, gratitude, hope, trust, and joy. All these and more made up the fiber of the man that through it all could claim victory through his faithfulness. In like manner, in these last minutes, David became Jesus' most intimate companion, and the Jews primary indicter.