Now we come to part two of this fourth and final scene in John’s passion narrative of Jesus. In this part of the fourth and final scene of John’s passion narrative of Jesus we see the death of Jesus. But more importantly we see that Jesus’ death fulfilled all the prophecies that were made in the Old Testament, and even more important than that we see that Jesus’ death happened because he chose to allow it to happen.
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.—19:28-30
Jesus died with the same composure that characterized his entire ministry. He remained in complete control of the events. His cry, “I am thirsty,” is unique to this Gospel. Jesus, aware that death was near, asked for a drink. Even this request fulfilled the Scriptures (Psalm 22:15 or Psalm 69:21). John’s mention of the hyssop plant reminds readers of the Passover (Exodus 12:22-25 and Hebrews 9:18-20). At the first Passover in Egypt, the Jews used hyssop to brush the Passover lamb’s blood on their doorposts. Jesus is God’s Passover Lamb (John 1:29 and 36), and his blood likewise saves. God provided a new and better exodus by the death of his Son. After taking a drink, Jesus cried out in victory and exhaustion, “It is finished”. He had accomplished the work the Father had sent him to do. The way John describes Jesus’ death shows again that though he hung on the cross. Jesus was in control of what was taking place. The fact that he bowed his head as he died demonstrates submission to the Father. He was not fighting to stay alive. The mention that he gave up his spirit indicates that he died at the moment of his choosing. The entire scene depicts the voluntary nature of his death. As he had earlier said, no one took his life from him; he laid it down for his sheep.
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.—19:31-37
These verse describe the events immediately following Jesus’ death. This scene is unique to John’s Gospel. The Jews did not want bodies languishing on the cross on the Sabbath during a festival. The Jewish leadership requested that the legs of the crucified be broken so that they would die quickly. The soldiers began with the criminals hanging on each side of Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they discovered he was already dead and so did not break his legs. As a final act of brutality, they plunged a sword or a spear into his side, and out flowed blood and water. The blood and water confirmed the reality of his death. John felt the incident to be important and comments that if was well attested. Jesus’ unbroken legs and pierced side fulfilled the Scriptures (Exodus 12:46 and Zechariah 12:10). Even in death Jesus was fulfilling God’s Word, attesting again to God’s providence over these events.
To finish we are going to talk about Jesus’ final three words that he spoke while alive on this earth, “It is finished” (John 19:30). This phrase is one word in Greek “tetelesta.” It was not a cry of termination, but a shout of triumph, declaring the completion of Christ’s work on the cross. This triumphant declaration was signal that Jesus had accomplished the following things:
- It fulfilled his earthly mission given to him by the Father (18:37).
- It fulfilled Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah’s suffering (Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 53).
- It completed the work of spiritual rescue and restoration by the providing the perfect sacrifice for sin (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 9:12).
- It secured the decisive victory over Satan and his network of demons (Colossians 2:15).
- It achieved the means of restoring God’s relationship with his creation and sinful humanity (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 and Colossians 1:20-22).
Nothing can be or needs to be added to Christ’s finished work on the cross—and the results are ongoing. Because he endured the punishment for offenses against God, he opened the way for people to have a relationship with him. All who accept Christ’s sacrifice for themselves and yield their lives to him receive God’s gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.
Considering all of God’s wonderful and creative acts, it may seem somewhat ironic that his highest purpose—to bring eternal life—came through death. The Creator (John 1:1-3) was sacrificed for his creation. Through this horrific event, Jesus’ mission was accomplished. The God/man had paid the perfect price for sin and bridged the gap between a holy God and sinful people. Through faith in Christ, we now have full access to God. If we surrender our lives to the One who went to this extreme for us, we can experience the life he intends for us. And we will pick up from here tomorrow as we conclude the fourth scene in John’s passion narrative of Christ.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
2 Kings 10:32-12:21, Acts 18:1-22, Psalm 145:1-21 and Proverbs 18:1
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