Title: HE GAVE UP HIS SPIRIT…IT WAS NOT TAKEN FROM HIM
Text: John 19:25-42
Pilate has given in to the pressuring crowd and the trickery of the lead priests; he orders Jesus to be crucified. Jesus leaves the Judgment Hall bearing His own cross. This is reminiscent of Jacob carrying the wood on which his father Abraham would offer him in sacrifice. The two are similar in their pleas to their father. Jacob: "Father, here is the wood and the knife, but where is the lamb?” Jesus: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. But not My will but Thine be done.” In both cases, God provided the Lamb for the sacrifices. In Jesus’ case, it was so that never again would an innocent lamb have to be sacrificed so that death would pass over the believer’s household and not visit the home of those who were pursued by an evil, tyrant leader. Heb. 9:11-14 There are more similarities to this Passover Lamb that we will see in our text of study.
Through the years of the celebration of the Passover, many a perfect lamb was taken against its will to be the blood on the doorposts and the meal on the eve of the Passover remembrance. This lamb must be spotless of blemish – separate from the rest of the flock. Because of that, their value (price) was greater than the other less-than-perfect lambs.
Jesus’ ministry began with the proclamation of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world.” He voluntarily emerged from the wilderness of temptation to begin the countdown to the day of His crucifixion. All along He said, “My hour has not come,” but the hour has arrived. Jn. 13:1 He was silent during the trial when He could have proven Himself to be the Son of God and set free. Now at the cross, He could have commanded legions of angels to rescue Him, but He chose to stay. And a simple comment about the crucifixion scene indicates to us that the nails did not kill Jesus…but by yielding up His spirit. Are you ready to take in what Jesus did for you in that moment? We are about to study something totally awesome…something totally unique to any other claim of supposed saviors of other religions. Read Text.
1. Standing beneath the cross are four women; three of them are named Mary and the fourth Salome (known from other Gospel accounts). John’s account is the only gospel to relate that they were at the foot of the cross; the other writers say they stood far off. They stand in contrast to the soldiers who are also there. How so? (The women have faith and the soldiers unbelief.)
Insight: Christ divides mankind in His death, as He did with His life, and will continue to do. How you view the Man on the cross makes all the difference in whether being at the foot of the cross does anything for your soul.
2. What does Jesus’ conversation between John and Mary tell you about Him? (Even in excruciating pain, He is thinking of others. He insures His mother will be taken care of.) What spiritual implication does this carry to the rest of the body of Christ, the Church? (Here Jesus created a new fellowship of those redeemed by His blood. We are now all family because of our common loyalty to Him. Everyone in this room is our brother and our sister. Beneath the cross a new fellowship is born and we are to have a common outlook on each other’s well being.)
3. What is meant by Jesus’ words, “Knowing all things had already been accomplished”? (Everything from choosing/training His disciples, to the betrayal and trials, and now the crucifixion.) How was Jesus’ word’s “I’m thirsty” a part of fulfilled prophecy? Ps. 22:15; 69:21
Insight: These words could have a secondary meaning. Jesus could also be thirsty for restored fellowship with His Father – He longed to be home with Him once again. Ps. 42:2
4. How are the words, “It is finished” so pregnant with meaning? (The earthly life of the sufferer has reached its only possible conclusion; the work that He had come to the world to do has been accomplished; the perfect sacrifice has been offered. Gk: teleo, to end, i.e. execute, to end, discharge (a debt):-- to pay.) Isa. 43:12 Do the words, “and He bowed His head” say anything to you other than letting His chin drop to His chest? (It’s His last act of submission to the Father’s will, and He surrenders His spirit to Him.) Phil. 2:8
5. Do the words, “and gave up His spirit” say anything to you other than He died? (Man did not take His life from Him; He voluntarily gave it up.)
6. Why did the soldiers come to break the legs of those crucified? (It was a request of the Jews, all so that their holy day would not be defiled by a condemned man hanging on a tree all night.) Deut. 21:22-23 Why did they not break Jesus’ legs? (He was already dead; to fulfill prophecy that Jesus, like the Passover lamb, was the perfect sacrifice.) Ex. 12:46
7. Are you aware of any significance that after the spear poke, water came out separated from the blood? (Blood serum separates from the red corpuscles when the heart ruptures. Jesus died of a broken heart.) Spiritually, what do the two signify? (The blood signifies salvation purchased; and the water is symbolic of the new life He made possible.) Heb. 9:22; Jn. 4:14 Look at how Zech. 12:10 shows us a spiritual meaning of the two.
8. In verse 35 John states that he is the witness of these things. He also states why he is writing this account. What is it? (So that you may believe.) How has he tried to accomplish that? (By showing multiple fulfilled prophecies and how others came to believe by what they saw and heard.)
9. Who is Joseph of Arimathea? (Pharisee, member of the Sanhedrin) John states that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus, but now comes out of the closet to request of Pilate permission to dispose of the body of Jesus. Why do you think he was a “secret” disciple of Jesus, and why did he choose to expose himself now? (Secret because of the risk, but now he throws caution to the wind because he can’t do anything but side with Jesus…even if He is now dead!)
10. Who was Nicodemus? (Jn. 3:1f; 7:50 Pharisee, ruler of the Jews) Do you have any idea about the worth of a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes? (For the average person, a life-time savings for their own funeral. The poor could not afford it for their own funeral.) Do you think Nicodemus came to the same conclusion about Jesus as did Joseph of Arimathea?
Insight: Highly unusual, but at least two of the religious elite believed in Jesus…and even enough to risk all for the sake of honoring their Lord for His final resting place. You can only do so by realizing that when you have Jesus, you have all…if you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have anything! They risked all to gain the Pearl of great price!
The final verses of this chapter reveal that Jesus was wrapped with linen wrappings, not a single shroud (like the purposed shroud of Turin). He was wrapped with spices between His body and the wrappings, then more spices, then more wrappings. Such was their custom for the rich so that the gravesite could be visited often afterwards and not be repulsed by the odor of a decaying body. Ps. 45:8; Eph. 5:2
The body is then laid in a new tomb – free from all corrupting influences. God’s Holy One is not destined to see corruption, and He must rise from the dead with His human body unimpaired except for the scars of His passion! No amount of spices can match the beautiful aroma of the spiritually dead, quickened to life when they come to believe in Jesus as these two who came out of the closet to express their love for Him! No greater aroma rises to God than to see a change of heart that throws all caution to the wind in order to claim Jesus as Lord, King and Savior!