By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: John 19:8-11,16b-18,28-30
Our calendars tell us that next week is Easter Sunday. We have explored the grand subject of the nature of God. Here we are again exploring a grand subject, the death and resurrection of Jesus. This knowledge is seminal and critical to our faith.
While we assert that forgiveness is now possible because of Jesus dying a substitutionary death, we must also peer further into the Holy of Holies. The possibility of forgiveness presupposes an oft forgotten or neglected antecedent. Forgiveness is necessary. We have offended a holy, righteous, sovereign God.
Therefore, one who is perfect in righteousness entered the fray of humanity and lived in perfect obedience to the Father for my sake and yours. This entrance into a robe of frail, bleedable, bruisable, and breakable flesh culminated in His seemingly shameful death upon a cruel cross on a hill called Calvary.
John 19:8-11: Following the context, we know that Jesus has already been arrested, been before the priests, been scourged by the soldiers and dressed in a purple robe, and now is before Pilate again.
While Jesus exudes calmness and peace, everyone else exhibits panic, anger, and worry. Pilate, particularly, stands alarmed by the statement of the Jews that this Jesus has made himself out to be the Son of God. This causes Pilate to ask another probing question of Jesus, “Where are You from?”
The question is more than it seems. Pilate wants to know if Jesus owns some sort of divine origin. Pilate is troubled. Jesus appears unfazed. What is clear for all to see, is that the Lord remains in total control of this situation, even as He is condemned to die.
John 19:16b-18: The punishment and shame of the cross was forever etched in the minds of the witnesses on that dark day. Yet, a tremendous ray of light shines our way.
Between two criminals hung the innocent Jesus carrying out the will of the Father. He went there willingly for you and me. And though we don’t see it in our text for today, we know that one of the criminals petitioned Jesus for mercy, and received the promise of Paradise. Goodness shone through the darkness.
Think back upon the life of Joseph. He was sold by his jealous brothers. He eventually wound up in prison, innocent of the charges. He was released, and then became a ruler in Egypt for the purpose of preserving life. Do you see it? What seemed to be meant for evil in both of their lives turned out for the good of the world. However, only Jesus was sent by God to die for the sin of the world.
In John 19:28-30, as we see these events unfold, we are struck again by the serenity of Jesus in a traumatizing scene. He is cognizant of his thirst and of his intent. The wonderful words, “It is finished,” reveal that this death is anything but shameful. In the words of Isaiah, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him,” we see Father and Son harmonious to the end of this work.
A perfect Father, a perfect Son, a perfect sacrifice, and a perfect result. Salvation has come! A necessary forgiveness now stands possible. B&R