A JOB WELL DONE
C: Jesus’ sacrifice
Pr: WE WORSHIP AND FOLLOW A SAVIOR WHO COMPLETED THE TASK SET BEFORE HIM.
TS: In our study of John 19.16-42, we will see how Jesus accomplishes our salvation.
PA: How is the change to be observed?
• We should renew our appreciation for what Jesus has done.
• We should dedicate ourselves to worship and serving the Lord
RMBC 06 April 07 PM (Good Friday)
ILL Cross (S)
Imagine with me for a moment…
Pretend that a man from South America is speaking here. His name is Jose Samblanco, and having just arrived, he proclaims the good news to us that a Peruvian peasant by the name of Carlos Hernandez was electrocuted on the electric chair for your sins.
He has even written a hymn. The words go like this:
Carlos was there
On that horrible chair
They tied him down with bolts
And then zapped him with 40,000 volts
It was for you he fried
It was for you our savior died
Despite the fact that his hair
caught on fire,
this one is God’s Messiah.
The wisdom of the world has been refuted
because Carlos was electrocuted
He is my savior and my lamp,
because he absorbed every deadly amp
Now I know that God does care,
’cause he sent Carlos Hernandez
to the electric chair
He has also written other hymns like, "In the chair of Carlos I Glory" and "When I cling to that old rugged electric chair". Now imagine if people caught on to this religion and they started wearing gold electric chairs on their necklace or if they put chairs on top of building. What if the Red Cross changed their named to the Red Chair. Prior to a big race, athletes, instead of making the sign of the cross made the sign of the electric chair as a gesture of good luck. Instead of hotcross buns you got hot chair buns.
Now what would your response to that be? You’d probably say that was the most stupid religion anyone had ever invented. But really, the offence that it causes, the images of idiocy that surround it would not be wholly different to the way a lot of people regard the scandal of the cross.
We need to recognize that…
1. The death of Jesus is scandalous.
A crucified Jew who died for my sins, in my place, it is utterly scandalous.
What kind of sense does that make?
It is not only scandalous in this regard.
It is also scandalous in the fact that we celebrate an unjust result.
Jesus did not deserve the treatment that He received from His disciples, the religious leaders, the people and the Romans.
This mistreatment led to His death.
2. What is worse is that we celebrate an execution.
Why do we do this?
It seems…so foolish.
We know that our faith rests in the fact that Jesus died on a cross.
We know that our salvation depends on it.
We know this intellectually, but we forget how scandalous and horrible it really is.
We know this, but in time, we become detached and desensitized.
The truth of the matter is that the events of the passion are real.
The gospel writers do not ask us to be overcome with a morbid preoccupation with the gore, but neither should the agony of the cross become a matter of dispassionate interest.
For as we consider the text this evening, we see that Jesus is…
I. DYING (16-27)
(16) So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, (17) and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (18) There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. (19) Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." (20) Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. (21) So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” (22) Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
(23) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, (24) so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, (25) but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (26) When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (27) Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Pilate has handed Jesus over to be executed, even though he believes Him to be innocent.
He has washed his hands over the matter and the process of the execution begins.
In the Roman culture, a crucifixion was a spectacular event, in the very worst way.
It began with a procession of the criminals, usually the longest route possible through the town or city, to demonstrate to all its residents and visitors that crime does not pay.
The criminals would have to carry their own crossbar upon which they would be hanged.
It would often weight up to 100 pounds.
In Jesus’ case, He had been so weakened by the scourging, He was physically unable to carry the cross the whole route and a bystander was ordered to help.
During the processional, an officer preceded each particular criminal, carrying a placard describing the criminal’s crime.
For Jesus, it was a charge of high treason.
His placard read: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Isn’t that interesting?
Of all the things that were wrong, one thing is right.
3. Jesus is rightfully declared the king.
Pilate surely was tweaking the religious leaders, knowing that they would not like what he had written.
So when they complained, Pilate’s rebuttal was clear:
“What I have written, I have written, and it will always remain written.”
This was permanent and he was not going to change it.
Interestingly, the placard is written in three languages: Aramaic, Greek and Latin.
It was written in Aramaic because this was the language that was spoken in the land.
It was written in Greek because this was the language of commerce and culture.
And finally, it was written in Latin because it was the official language of the empire.
So, the announcement of the kingship of Jesus was being made universally.
It is a reminder to us of the spiritual and actual truth about the events of this day.
Christ rules from the cross.
He has not lost control of Himself or the events.
He is deliberately going to the cross.
Therefore, we are not to lose sight that this person going to the cross is no less than “The King of kings and the Lord of lords.”
When the processional finally ends, you will find the vertical stakes are already in the ground, since this is the location for all Roman executions.
Nails will be driven into the wrists, more specifically because the bones will be a preventative to keep the flesh from ripping and the criminal from falling off the cross.
The horizontal beam will be placed in a groove on the vertical stake.
Then the spikes will be driven into the feet while the person is hanging freely.
This is the indignity that our Lord suffered.
He was nailed to a cross.
He was crucified with other criminals who it could be said “deserved” their punishment.
The final indignity was that he was stripped naked.
It was customary for Roman soldiers to divide belongings.
This was not unusual.
But, in spite of this, there is something here worth noting.
4. The Romans treat Jesus disdainfully.
…as they divide up the five pieces of clothing.
It is bad enough to take a dying man’s belongings, but now they were gambling over them as well.
It is a picture of a world without God.
The Roman soldiers disregard for Jesus is a capsulization of the world’s neglect of the meaning and effect of Christ’s death.
They did not care.
They did not want to care.
5. While most of Jesus’ followers have scattered, there are faithful attenders at the cross.
There are four women and one man who stand in contrast to the Roman soldiers.
They are true people of courage.
They are Mary, the mother of Jesus, Salome, the sister of Mary (and the mother of James and John), Mary, the wife of Cleopas, Mary Magdalene, and one of the twelve, John.
It is interesting that three are named Mary, which is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew Miriam.
Their names meant “bitter.”
And it truly is a bitter time.
The prediction of Simeon has come true.
A sword has pierced a mother’s heart.
But at this moment, Jesus speaks.
He speaks tender instructions to the one man that is standing with Him.
“Take care of my mother.”
He dispenses the responsibilities of being the firstborn son to His cousin, disciple and friend – John.
As He hangs on the cross, dying, Jesus shows He is in control and faithful to the end, even to His dear mother.
And now, the end comes…
II. DEATH (28-37)
(28) After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” (29) A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. (30) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
(31) Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. (32) So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. (33) But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. (34) But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. (35) He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth — that you also may believe. (36) For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” (37) And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
Max Lucado has said:
“Nails don’t hold gods to crosses.”
Jesus was staying on the cross, even though He had the very option at any moment in time, to be released.
He stayed in the midst of a cosmic battle, for you and me.
He stayed on the cross to bear the world’s sin alone in the darkness.
And it is at this moment, He suffers the greatest indignity.
He suffers the abandonment of the Father.
As your sin and my sin was laid on Him, the perfect sacrifice, the Father could no longer bear it, in His perfect holiness, to keep the treasure intact of the perfect communion of the Trinity.
It was broken.
And it was unbearable.
The body of Jesus was parched.
And in His humanity, He cries for relief.
“I am thirsty.”
When the inadequate answer of vinegar was given…
6. Jesus absolutely completed the task.
It is not a submissive cry.
It is not a giving up.
It is nothing less than a shout of victory.
Jesus lets loose one word, tetelestai, meaning all at once, “It is finished and always will be finished.”
The One for all sacrifice was completed.
ILL Salvation (S)
Warren Wiersbe explains to us how profound the use of this word was:
The word tetelestai is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life in those days. A servant would use it when reporting to his or her master, "I have completed the work assigned to me" (see John 17:4). When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, this word would apply. Jesus, of course, is the perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish. When an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, he or she might say, "It is finished!" The death of Jesus on the cross "completes the picture" that God had been painting, the story that He had been writing, for centuries. Because of the cross, we understand the ceremonies and prophecies in the Old Testament.
Perhaps the most meaningful meaning of tetelestia was that used by the merchants: "The debt is paid in full!" When He gave Himself on the cross, Jesus fully met the righteous demands of a holy law; He paid our debt in full. None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins; their blood only covered sin. But the Lamb of God shed his blood, and that blood can take away the sins of the world (John 1:29; Heb 9:24-28).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
The assigned work was completed.
The Lamb was perfect for sacrifice.
The story was completed.
The debt was paid in full.
“It is finished!”
7. The religious leaders wanted to hurry what was already accomplished.
Though this was a Roman execution, the religious leaders would not allow a body to hang on a tree all night.
This was against the Torah.
The Romans would have been fine with it.
Their custom was just to leave bodies there and rot as a warning to others.
But to keep peace, the Romans went to break the legs of those bring crucified, so that the weight would collapse on to their chest cavity and they would die of asphyxiation.
As they came to Jesus, they did not need to do so.
He had already finished His course of life.
Whether for fun or whether to make sure He was dead, a Roman soldier puts a spear into Jesus’ side, revealing the broken heart of Jesus as blood and water poured out.
Jesus has died, and now is the time for the…
III. BURIAL (38-42)
(38) After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. (39) Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. (40) So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (41) Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. (42) So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
Usually, criminals were cast into a common, but obscure grave.
Perhaps, it would be nothing more than a ditch that was covered over with soil.
And because of the shame involved, they would not be mourned publicly.
But this was not the story of Jesus, for…
8. Kindness was extended to Jesus even in His death.
Two men come to the forefront that are described as good and righteous.
We do not know the reason why they have been silent in their devotion to Jesus.
Perhaps, their role had been prearranged ahead of time, and they were acting as His secret agents so that a proper burial could be made.
Though we are not sure of the motive, we do know this, they were generous.
Joseph of Arimathea provides a personal burial place.
Nicodemus provides spices enough for a royal burial.
At least, there will be some honor in death...
Let us recognize this evening that…
9. WE WORSHIP AND FOLLOW A SAVIOR WHO COMPLETED THE TASK SET BEFORE HIM.
He did not waver.
He kept to the mission.
And His love for us kept Him going to the very end.
How can we do anything else but worship?
How can we do anything else but follow?
“Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all”
For Further Study: Genesis 22.16; Exodus 12.22, 46; Deuteronomy 21.23; Psalm 22, 69; Isaiah 53; Zechariah 12.10; Matthew 10.38, 16.24; Mark 16.9; Luke 2.34-35, 8.2, 14.27, 23.51; I Corinthians 15.3; II Corinthians 5.21; Galatians 2.20, 3.13; Hebrews 9.22; I John 5.6
Coget, A . Todd King of My Life
McNeely, Ed Christ and Him Crucified
Warren, Garry A Mother, a Thief, and a Pharisee
Calvin, John. Calvin’s Commentaries. 22 vols, ed. The Calvin Translation Society. Edinburgh, Scotland, 1843.
Hughes, R. Kent. John: That You May Believe. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999.
Keener, Craig S. The Ivp Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. F. F. Bruce. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977.
Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament. Colorado Springs: ChariotVictor Publishing, 1989.