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He Was Pierced for our Transgressions

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:06
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Today we're going to talk in depth about the death of our Lord- His suffering for us to give us life and to forgive our sin and rebellion against God. I am not hyperbolizing when I say that this, coupled with the Resurrection is the most important act ever committed in all of history. Because with this act, Jesus has invited billions of people to salvation in His name. And John uses some very overt imagery to harken back to the exodus and the Passover lamb. He is very explicit and does not want you to miss what he's trying to say about Jesus here:
John 19:17–18 NLT

Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.

Crucifixion was brutal. Not only was Jesus flogged in the verberatio method I described last week, but they then made him carry the beam on which he would be executed for a mile on his back and shoulders which were freshly shredded from the extreme flogging.
They would then have laid Jesus naked on the ground on the vertical plank and stretched out his arms, nailing him in the wrists to the horizontal part of the wood. When they nailed the wrists, it severed the median nerves, causing his body to be wracked with pain. In fact this was so painful an event that there was a new invented to describe the pain of crucifixion: excruciating.
Ex crucio- from the Cross. And as they nailed his wrists, wracked with torturous pain, Jesus cried out, "Father, forgive them because they don't know what they're doing!".
Describe how victims of crucifixion would typically lash out.
They would then raise the victim up, forcing them to raise themselves by their nail-impaled wrists. Imagine the pain of those nails, pivoting in your wrists as you gasp for breath. Jesus endured that for you. And slowly, the victim would asphyxiate as their body became too weak to pull themselves up and fill their lungs with air. And Jesus hung there for six hours in agony. But the physical pain and death was nowhere near the worst of what Jesus bore for us.
Mark records that at about 3:00 in the afternoon, Jesus cried out, "Eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani?!" "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!" R.C. Sproul says this:
I am sure that [crucifixion] was a dreadful way to be executed, but thousands of people in world history have undergone the excruciating pain of crucifixion. Only one man has ever felt the pain of the fullness of the unmitigated curse of God on Him. When He felt it, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, NIV). Some say He did that simply to quote Psalm 22. Others say He was disoriented by His pain and didn’t understand what was happening. God certainly did forsake Him. That is the whole point of the atonement. Without forsakenness, there is no curse. God, at that moment in space and time, turned His back on His Son. (R.C. Sproul, Who is Jesus?)
This is how our Lord was murdered. But John's point isn't that we should pity Jesus. This was always his choice. John's point is to direct our attention to Jesus' victory and the great cost of your sin.
John 19:19–22 NLT

And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’ ”

Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

When someone was crucified, most often the charge against the criminal was put on a plaque above their head as a warning to others. They would record it in multiple languages frequently- Aramaic the language in common use in Judea, Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire, used in government documents, by well-educated people, and in the Roman military and guard, and Greek was the common language throughout the eastern part of the Roman empire.
John 19:23–27 NLT

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.

As Jesus is dying on the cross, he looks in love at his disciple, John, and he looks in love at his mother, and entrusts his beloved mother's care to his beloved disciple. Jesus must truly love John to basically say to him, "you're taking my place as her firstborn son."
Another notable and tragic reality here is that Jesus is dying on the cross, and literally less then twenty yards away from this grim, macabre scene, soldiers are gambling for his clothes. This fulfills Psalm 22, which John quotes here.
John 19:28–29 NLT

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.

This would knock a Jew over. It's like John is punching us in the face with Passover imagery. This harkens back to Exodus 12:22:
Exodus 12:22 NLT

Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning.

Exodus is talking about the blood of the lamb. You know, the unblemished, spotless lamb that was not to have it's bones broken, but was to be killed and bled and it's blood would save Israel- that God's wrath would pass over them and instead enter the house of the Egyptians. Jesus' role is as the passover lamb. God passes over our sins because Jesus' blood covers us. He carries the weight of our sin in his death.
Jesus drank the vinegar. Matthew and Mark tell us that he refused drugged wine before the crucifixion. We should probably conclude that he wished to undergo his sufferings with a clear mind. But now that he is at the point of death he wants to say something that will be heard, so he calls for a drink to moisten his parched throat. (Leon Morris, NICNT John)
Sort of like Braveheart- William Wallace refuses drugs that would numb the pain that he was going to endure in his execution- he followed the example of Jesus.
So Jesus, knowing that his mission was done, asks for a drink to quench his parched throat to utter a final cry of victory:
John 19:30 NLT

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

This is the word tetelestai! It is a perfect, passive, indicative verb, and so a better translation of Jesus cry here would be "it is in the present state of having been completed or paid in full." This is a word that appeared on receipts. This is not the cry of a defeated man, but of a victorious God.
Jesus died with the cry of the Victor on his lips. This is not the moan of the defeated, nor the sigh of patient resignation. It is the triumphant recognition that he has now fully accomplished the work that he came to do. (Leon Morris, NICNT John)
Everything that Jesus came to accomplish is done here.

In the Greek text, the cry itself is one word, tetelestai (cf. notes on v. 28). As an English translation, It is finished captures only part of the meaning, the part that focuses on completion. Jesus’ work was done. But this is no cry of defeat; nor is it merely an announcement of imminent death (though it is not less than that). The verb teleō from which this form derives denotes the carrying out of a task, and in religious contexts bears the overtone of fulfilling one’s religious obligations. Accordingly, in the light of the impending cross, Jesus could earlier cry, ‘I have brought you glory on earth by completing (teleiōsas; i.e. by accomplishing) the work you gave me to do’ (17:4). ‘Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them eis telos—not only ‘to the end’ but to the full extent mandated by his mission. And so, on the brink of death, Jesus cries out, It is accomplished!

It is done. Your sins lie in the grave. There is no need to put yourself on the cross. Jesus went there for you.
And after crying out, Jesus gives up his own spirit. Remember John 10:17-18?
John 10:17–18 NLT

“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

John 19:31–37 NLT

It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”

This is the fullness of everything John says in John 1:14- and the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. That even in death, Jesus was one of us, and when they pierced his side with a spear, out flowed blood and water from his pericardial sac around his heart. Our High Priest can sympathize with our weaknesses because he became a man.
But notice again the passover imagery: they didn't break his legs (much like the passover lamb). And there will be a day where everyone sees what they have done to Jesus, and they will mourn:
Revelation 1:7 NLT

Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.

And everyone will see him—

even those who pierced him.

And all the nations of the world

will mourn for him.

Yes! Amen!

But the blood of Jesus covers our sins. By his death, we have victory over sin. By becoming sin, he overthrew sin. By bowing to the grave, he destroyed the grave. And by dying, Jesus has slain death. He has purchased our freedom, our lives.
John 19:38–42 NLT

Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus show their devotion to Jesus here. Joseph, previously a timid and fearful disciple of Jesus, who is probably a member of the Sanhedrin uses his position to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus to treat him honorably in burial. This was a bold move that would drawn the ire of his peers. This was a dangerous request for Joseph, but Pilate grants it, showing that he really did believe Jesus to be innocent, and thought him to be deserving more than a common criminal's mass grave.
And they needed to get him down before sundown and the passover began, because similar to the pattern of Genesis 1, (and there was evening and there was morning, the first day) the Jews understood days to begin in darkness. And Nicodemus and Joseph know this all too well- a new day begins when it is dark. And in darkness, a new covenant was forged.
And so the two bury him extravagantly. Boldness for Jesus is never too late or too little. I don't care how long you've lived, what you've done, how bad you think you are. Where there's life, there's hope. And as long as there is breath in your lungs, it is never too late to glorify God with your life. It's never too late to give your life to Jesus. It's never to late to recommit yourself to submitting to the Lord Jesus. It's never too late. God's grace, painstakingly earned on Calvary calls out for those who would to come. It calls out for obedience. It calls out for boldness. Go therefore, and make disciples, baptizing and teaching.
Who do you need to talk to today about Jesus' death? Who do you need to disciple today? Who do you need to pursue to be discipled? Don't let another day go by not pursuing God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

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