Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
What Was Jesus Thinking on the Cross?
Chapter 19 of John is the culmination of Jesus? life. It is the high point in the story of the universe. Everything before leads up to this event and everything after points back to it.
Much of the debate here seems to revolve around whether Jesus is a king and of what? That?s a question each of us must answer today too.
The flogging was an attempt by Pilate to punish Jesus and then release him. If the Chief Priests got their ?pound of flesh? maybe they?d be mollified. They were not.
2 ? 3
Purple is the color of royalty. Much of the treatment by the Romans was to mock Jesus as King and the Jews as weak (?this is your king?).
Isn?t it interesting that when left completely to ourselves we want to strike out at the very One who is pure and ready to give it all for us?
4 ? 7
Pilate dared the Jews to usurp Roman law but they then reveal their true hatred for Jesus and why: because he claimed to be the Son of God. Leviticus 24:16 says, ?Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.? The only problem was that Jesus wasn?t blaspheming because what He claimed was indeed true!
The Jews didn?t want Jesus to be God. They were very happy being their own god and having Yahweh as their seal of approval and their mascot.
8 ? 11
Why was Pilate afraid? The Romans believed gods walked among humans. Perhaps Jesus was a god (note the little ?g?). Matthew?s gospel tells us that Pilate?s wife had suffered in dreams because of Jesus, and third, perhaps he worried that this intense hatred was about to spark a riot, something the Romans feared, especially during this very crowded time in Jerusalem.
God?s authority supersedes all human authority.
?He who delivered me over to you? refers to Caiaphas, not to Judas, who delivered Jesus to the Jews. Caiaphas? sin is greater than Pilates?, for he should have known better. Pilate was but a pawn. Even still, he is responsible for his actions too.
12 ? 16
The Jews were so anxious to get rid of Jesus they would speak blaspheme by declaring that anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar. Historical records show that the Jews had already threatened to lodge a complaint with Rome over Pilate?s treatment of them. Later they did just that and got Pilate kicked out so this threat is very real.
When it came down to it, Pilate?s self-interest overcame his fear of the gods.
The Jews final cry ?we have no king but Caesar? shows the lengths they would go to distance themselves from Jesus.
17 ? 22
John is scant on details on the crucifixion itself. The detail that he does note is the sign Pilate has made and puts above Jesus. It?s another slam at the Jews saying, ?This is your king, a crucified man.? Isn?t it odd that Pilate wrote truth even though he didn?t mean to?
23 ? 24
Why did the soldiers do this? Clothing was not cheap like it is today so this was part of their ?pay? as executioners. Psalms 22:18 is the quotation here.
Now this next part is very significant to our study this morning.
25 - 27
This is both interesting and impacting. John identifies four women: Mary, Jesus? mother, Mary?s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdelene. None of these last three appears before in John?s gospel. However, if we hook together two other gospels we get some interesting results.
Matthew 27:55-56 There were also? many women there, looking on? from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee,? ministering to him, 56 among whom were? Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and? the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Mark 15:40-41 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
So Mary, wife of Clopas is the mother of James and Joses (or Joseph). That leaves the other woman as the mother of James and John (the writer of the gospel). Mark identifies her as Salome, John identifies her as Mary?s sister. If that?s the case then John the Apostle and Jesus were cousins.
While that?s interesting I think there are two very significant things in this paragraph that are more impacting than interesting.
The first is this: of all the people who hung around Jesus only five stick with him to the end, and four of them are women! Luke 8 tells us that some prominent women supported Jesus financially in his ministry. They become loyal even to the cross. I think they are also there to support Mary who has to be absolutely beside herself with grief and torment.
And that leads me to the other impacting thing. Here is Jesus, on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, and what are his final words to other humans in this account? They are words of caring for his mom. There is a special bond between a mom and her sons and certainly what an incredible bond between the woman who bore the Savior and the Savior Himself.
Here Jesus is thinking of her, making sure she has a son to love (John, possibly his cousin). And he wants to make sure there is a son to take care of his mom.
28 ? 30
Jesus made seven statements on the cross; the words to John and Mary were the last to another human.
1.??? He spoke to God of his executioners, asking that they be forgiven. (Luke 23:34, in some manuscripts)
2.??? He assured the repentant criminal crucified beside him that they would be together in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
3.??? He asked John to care for his mother, Mary. (recorded here, in John 19:26-27)
4.??? \"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?\" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
5.??? \"I am thirsty.\" (John 19:28) ? possibly Psalms 69:21 (?they gave me vinegar for my thirst?), or 42:2 (?I thirst for God?). The sour wine was not the drugged wine offered him earlier (Mark 15:23).
6.??? \"It is finished.\" (John 19:30)
According to the Greek, the one word, tetelestai, means \"it is accomplished,\" \"it is fulfilled,\" or even, \"it is paid in full.\"
Jesus\' death meant that no more would there have to be continual animal sacrifices as a substitute, combined with faith in God?s promise of redemption. Jesus accomplished it by voluntarily giving his life so we could be clean and have new life forever.
7.??? \"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.\" (Luke 23:46)
Jesus? life was not taken from him, he gave it up voluntarily.
John 10:17-18? For this reason the Father loves me,? because? I lay down my life that I may take it up again.? 18? No one takes it from me, but? I lay it down? of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and? I have authority to take it up again.
31 ? 37
Many times those crucified could stay on the crosses for days but because of the coming Sabbath the Jews wanted them taken down and here?s why:
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 \"And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23? his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for? a hanged man is cursed by God.? You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
The breaking of the legs was a way to hasten death because it prevented the person from raising themselves up to breath.
There have been various studies done trying to determine what would have caused the blood and water to flow from Jesus? side. Some have said it was the piercing of the pericardial sac, the sac around the heart. For John?s purposes, it just shows that Jesus was in fact dead, and it disproves those who later came along and said Jesus wasn?t a real human or he really didn?t die. Besides, the Roman soldiers, experts in execution, reported to Pilate that he was dead. They knew what they were doing.
Exodus and Numbers both talk about the Passover lamb not having its bones broken. This is also prophesied in Psalms 34:20, and perhaps in Daniel 6 where the lions overcame those that had Daniel thrown into the lions den. These were ?overpowered? and the lions broke all their bones. So in a sense we see that Jesus was not overpowered, but he gave his life and overcame.
38 ? 42
Two secret disciples come forward in a very public way. Usually the Romans left bodies to rot in public as an object lesson to anyone who would come against Roman authority. Joseph actually gives up his own tomb for Jesus. Nicodemus, who came to talk to Jesus at night in chapter 3 and stood up for Jesus (ch 7) now wraps his body in clothes soaked in aromatic oils and spices (aloe and myrrh-remember the wise men?).
We know the story of the crucifixion. Most of us have heard it taught many times. We know its theological importance and spiritual significance. What I want to look at briefly in our closing minutes is not the facts of the crucifixion but the emotions of those involved.
There are four people or groups I want to look at briefly: Pilate, the soldiers, the Jewish leaders, and Jesus.
Pilate ? motivated by fear (of losing his position, of offending the gods, of Jesus Himself). Pilate overcomes his fear by resorting to arrogance.
Soldiers ? We can?t be sure as to their motivation but their actions suggest that they felt threatened by Jesus authority. They objectified Jesus, looked at him externally, as an object, not a person. How else could they have tortured him so savagely, and mocked him so vehemently? They overcame their feeling of being threatened by striking out violently
Jewish Leaders ? were motivated by jealousy. They overcame the threats of Jesus to their position, power, and prestige by anger and hatred.
Jesus ? motivated by love. On the cross, beaten and shamed, tortured and mocked, rejected and vilified, he had nothing for humans but words of love: forgiveness for those who tortured him, hope to the thief beside Him, and incredible love towards his mother?taking her needs into consideration when it was He Himself that was being victimized (though on purpose).
I often like to think about people?s reactions to Jesus. Pilate should have not have feared Jesus who came to give ?life, and that more abundant.? Jesus came to remove the offense towards God and to put us in a position much better than any offered by Rome.
The soldiers should have been convicted by Jesus?, not repulsed by him. He represents something very very good that is offered to us?his new life.
The Jewish leaders should not have been jealous. Jealousy comes when we want something someone else has. They didn?t realize that by laying down their own wants that Jesus would fulfill them in a way they could never get on their own.
He shows that same love to us. Look upon the face of the man on the cross. See the love and compassion for you. Will you allow him to assume the throne in your life?