Greetings, everybody! Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of EDiBS, and God’s joy and peace to you today in His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we turn our attention to the Scriptures today, we’ll be spending more time at the foot of the cross in John 19. I’m glad you’re here; let’s pray and ask God to minister to us through His Word.
Lord God Almighty, as we come before you, we bless your holy name and we ask that your hand of mercy would be upon us. We confess to you our sins, and we ask that you would forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Open our eyes to your Word – and as we open our Bibles, give us hearts to seek after you with everything that is in us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, Jesus has been faithful to the very end. It is now time for Him to depart and go to His Father. Our focus: “It is finished.”
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.
There have been a handful of occasions in my life – and just a handful – where at the conclusion of something momentous, I knew in my heart that it was a transformational moment; that because of it I would never be the same again. None of those occasions have been the kind of moments you’d expect. Instead, they have for the most part been quirky and off the beaten path, and internal rather than external. Just the same, for me they have been marked moments – and they are never far from my mind as I journey through this life that God has given me.
In today’s reading we have what amounts to nothing less than the greatest single transformational moment in all of human history. It is momentous beyond our ability to search it out. It is the exact opposite of what anyone would have reason to expect. And as a result of its occurrence, the world and its inhabitants will never be the same again. Indeed, if ever something could be called a marked moment, this is it. And if I may be so bold and pastoral in my remarks today, I would submit to you that this event is one that should never be far from your mind as you journey through this life that God has given you.
Jesus, of course, has been hanging on the cross. He has been nailed there, hands and feet, and He has been suffering — not just physically suffering in His body, but more than anything, suffering in His spirit as the sins of the world have been placed upon Him to be borne on our behalf. As we get into this portion of the text, however, one thing you’ll notice is that John has not given us a blow-by-blow, play-by-play account of all that has transpired here. Why? Remember, John is writing with the assumption that his readers are already familiar with a lot of what happened on this hill. This is a late gospel, and accounts from Matthew Mark and Luke give details that John, for whatever reason, sees no need to repeat.
Because we firmly and with all reasonableness attest to the inspiration of Scripture, we can conclude that as John is carried along by the Holy Spirit, the things that he does single out are important in their own way and for God’s own purposes. And when we take that line of thinking with us into the passage today where we see Jesus die, it becomes immediately clear to us what John’s focus is: more testimony; more pointing to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy; more assurance to the reader that these things really did occur, that the one writing about them saw them take place with his own eyes, and that all which is being recorded is trustworthy.
Verses 28-29: First, in verses 28-29, we have John’s recounting of our Lord’s thirst. Jesus knows at this point that all has been completed. He is in full control of His faculties. He knows that the work the Father has given Him to do has been perfectly accomplished. And He also knows, as the text makes very clear, that Psalm 69:2 has yet to see its fulfillment in the salvation story. Our Savior is obviously truly thirsty. He’s not simply playing a part or rattling off a line to make everything square and copacetic. But that the Scripture will indeed be fulfilled as a testimony to all who will hear of it, Jesus says, “I thirst.” So the soldiers put a sponge of vinegar on a stick and place it to our Lord’s lips, He receives the drink, and at that? All is now done.
Verse 30: When Jesus receives the drink from the Roman soldiers, look very carefully at what takes place and how it is shared with us. Jesus says, very simply, “It is finished.” In the original language it’s only one word: Tetelestai. What, specifically, is it that was finished? All that had to take place for my salvation and your salvation and the salvation of the world. God gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. With this last prophecy finding its fulfillment in our Savior’s last moments on the cross, The Scriptures concerning our Lord’s life and death were fulfilled — every one of them. And by the way, that’s a body of hundreds of prophecies, not just a handful. Add prophecies concerning the resurrection of Christ, which we’ll get to in the next couple of days, and you’ve got 365 Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah which find their fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Finally, what does our Lord do after uttering His final word? He bows His head and gives up His spirit. Mark that well: no one took our Lord’s life; He gave it up. Gave it up of His own accord. At the time of His choosing. For the purposes which He Himself had foreordained. And just as He laid His life down, with the very same power and authority He would take it up again.
As we wrap things up for the day, this passage is a powerful reminder that God's mighty work of redemption is finished. When Jesus died, all that was necessary for you to be forgiven and to be saved was done. You and I are the sinners, the criminals. You and I are the ones that had the sentence executed against us. But Jesus Christ took it out of the way and nailed it to His cross. Every stain, every blot, every blur, every blemish that ever came across your soul, Jesus has paid for it all. And as pastor Adrian Rogers was always quick to remind his people in message after message that he preached through 50+ years of ministry, “It's not what you do, my friend, it's what He has done.” Jesus Christ has purchased your salvation. Tetelestai...It is finished. Such amazing love!
Have a great day everyone, and I’ll see you again next time. Until then, take care!