Focal Passage: John 19:16-19; 28-30, 38-42
The great Puritan theologian John Owen once wrote that through the death of Jesus Christ the death of death has been accomplished.
Even more, because of the death of Jesus Christ the sins of all who would believe — past, present, and future — would be forgiven. The One who knew no sin bore the penalty for our sins so that we might be given the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21). It has been called the “great exchange” — our sin for His righteousness.
Sin free, yet crucified (John 19:16-19). The death of Jesus was no accident. His death came about by the foreordained plan of God executed by the hands of sinful men (Acts 2:23-24). The sinless Savior was led to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. Nailed between two thieves, the One who never stole a thing was treated like a common thief. In mockery, Pilate hung above the Lord Jesus a sign that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” But Pilate’s mockery would become a true confession of Jesus’ identity.
A death completed (John 19:28- 30). Hanging between heaven and earth, Jesus knew that what He had come to accomplish was nearing completion. Thirsty from the ordeal, Jesus called for water but received a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch, symbolic of a King’s coronation.
Wearied by the physical beatings, and even more exhausted by bearing the sins of the condemned, Jesus was crushed by the weight of our transgressions and the divine wrath from the Father who was pleased to crush His Son as a sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:10). The real suffering on the cross was not just Jesus’ physical sufferings, as necessary and as wicked as they were; the ultimate suffering was the sin-bearing sacrifice by the sinless Savior.
In His last cry, Jesus said, “It is finished.” In Greek it is ‘tetelestai.’ It means that something has been completed, finished, accomplished. Jesus’ death was the first of two parts (resurrection to come) that accomplished salvation.
The historical fact of Jesus’ death (John 19:38-42). But why make a big deal out of Jesus’ burial? Isn’t the mention of His death and resurrection enough? And why is the burial of Jesus mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 in what many believe to be the earliest statement on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus?
The reason much is made of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus begging for the privilege of burying the body of Jesus was for three reasons. First, Jesus’ burial verified the fact that His death was an actual, historical event. The Romans, who were experts at killing men, placed a guard and their seal on Jesus’ tomb (Matthew 27:62-66), a remarkable verification of this event that could have otherwise been denied.
Second, Jesus’ burial fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 53:9, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, but He was with a rich man at His death, because He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.”
Third, it gave both men the opportunity to publicly confess their faith in Jesus Christ, especially Nicodemus. In John 3 he is the seeker of new life at night, but we’re not told if he was born again at the time. Yet now he comes forward and aligns himself with Jesus, the One who died for his sins that he might be born again. B&R