The Crucifixion, Part 2
Journey to the Empty Tomb
The Crucifixion, Part 2
John 19:19-22, 25-30
 
As Jesus faced the crucifixion, He prayed a prayer to His Heavenly Father that is extremely interesting.
 
John 17:1-5
 
As He faces the cross, the request of Jesus is to bring glory to God and to be returned to the glory He had before coming to earth.
 
We often think of that only in terms of His ascension and return to Heaven.  But I would suggest His being glorified is not limited to that.  And even though when we come to the cross we come to the most shameful and degrading and humiliating event in all of the universe, the death, the execution, the crucifixion of Christ, we still find there the glory and deity of Jesus
 
As I mentioned last week, there are some incidents around the cross that almost seem unimportant.  But John uses them to bring to our attention the majesty and glory of Christ.
 
We looked last week at the first one which is the specific fulfillment of prophecies.  There are at least seven prophesies, both verbal and typological, found in the details of the crucifixion that are fulfilled in minute detail according to John’s account.
 
From Jesus being “led away” to the soldiers gambling for His seamless robe, we see the Old Testament come to life at the crucifixion. 
Today I want to share with you three more characteristics of the crucifixion from John 19 that point to the deity and majesty of Christ
 
The first one is
 
1. The Signboard
 
verses l9‑22
 
Remember I told you last week that when anybody was to be crucified, they were marched through as many streets as possible and taken to the place of execution in order that the people might see them.  Out in front of the victim was a man who carried a placard or signboard.
 
On the sign was written the crime for which the individual was to be crucified.  Now in this case there was no crime to be put there because Jesus had committed no crime, Pilate had repeatedly made the statement, I find no fault in Him.
 
So since there was no crime to place there, Pilate saw this as a marvelous opportunity to take a shot at the Jews, whom he despised and whom he loathed for what they had done to him in blackmailing him into crucifying Jesus.
 
So in a cynical, sarcastic, bitter barb at the Jews, Pilate wrote, not a crime, but a title and put it on the cross and the writing was, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews".
 
 
Now that was all kinds of offensive to the Jews.  First of all, if they had a king he sure wouldn’t come from Nazareth.  After all, nothing good can come out of Nazareth.  That’s where the country bumpkin hicks live.  Anybody worth anything would come from Jerusalem, not Nazareth.
 
So the first part of it was a rather subtle shot. But worse than that was this statement: “The King of the Jews”.  That was especially offensive.
 
I think that is Pilate getting a little bit of revenge.  He wanted to mock them by showing them how debased they were in his eyes by putting up a criminal who was beaten and bloody and ridiculed, hanging on a cross, and then identify Him as their King.
 
After all, if He’s their King, then what does that make them? So he gives them for a King a crucified criminal.
 
And notice verse 2O
 
Well that was the idea. The Hill of Calvary was just above a highway just outside the city wall.  That means it was easily seen.  It was highly visible.  And there hangs Jesus with this sign over His head announcing Him as King of the Jews so that every Jew that passed by could see it. 
 
And just to make sure nobody missed it, it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  Nobody could miss it.  Pilate was in effect saying, “Mess with me, will you?”  and in doing so, he got the final word over the Jews.
But isn’t it interesting that what he said in cynicism, mocking the Jews, was in fact, the truth?  And there we see the principle once again that God is calling the shots. Pilate, in arrogant mockery, presents to the Jews their “King” and winds up announces to the world for all time the absolute truth.
 
He Is the King of the Jews.  They had in fact killed their King. All through His life Jesus had been acknowledged as King. Before He was ever born the angel announced to Mary that He would have a kingdom. The wise men came from the East, heralding Him as King of the Jews, At the beginning of this very week He came riding into the city of Jerusalem and they said, Blessed is the King of Israel.
 
John tells us that. Pilate asked Him, “Are You a king then?”  Jesus said, “That’s why I came into the world.”  Paul said there is coming a day when at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth, and every tongue will confess that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords to the glory of the Father.
 
The Bible tells us in Revelation 19:11 that when the Son of man appeared in Heaven and riding on that white horse to come to take vengeance, it said on His vesture and on his thigh was written a name, and the name was KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. He was a King.  He Is a King. He will forever be the King of Kings!
 
And Pilate, like a puppet in the hands of God, announces that truth by way of the signboard over His head.
 
Notice the reaction of the Jews in
 
verse 21
 
That would make quite a difference wouldn’t it? One says He is; one says He's an imposter who’s just faking it or making some ridiculous claim. The idea that the King of the Jews, the hope of Israel, was being crucified was a bitter pill for them to swallow even in cynicism.
 
And I’m sure the longer they stared at that, the more it ate at them. How irritating it must have been to see this crucified criminal, this One they despised and hated so much being publicly declared as their King. They had screamed, “We will not have this man to reign over us.”  They wanted Pilate to change the wording so that Christ would appear to be nothing more than an imposter.
 
But Pilate refused to do it.
 
verse 22
 
Now lest you be impressed with Pilate for standing his ground, just remember this:  There are lots of people who stand for things that really don’t matter.
 
Did you ever meet someone like that?  That get so fired up over politics that they’re ready to hit you in the mouth, but when it comes to living the Christian life, they slop through it with little or no conviction about anything.  There are some people in this world who are stubborn on the things that don't matter and weak on the things that are of supreme importance.
 
That's Pilate.  He’s a classic example. There are so many kinds of arguments, even in your own home, that make no difference in the eternal scheme of things.  And we refuse to budge and stay as stubborn as we can on some little nit‑picky thing and in doing that we wind up destroying the relationship we have with someone we love.
 
It’s so easy to get sidetracked with incidentals o life and at the same time, when it comes to that which really matters, our relationship with God and His church and our family and friends, we treat it like it’s unimportant.
 
That’s Pilate.  He stood firm on what didn't matter. He took a stand.  He just took it at the wrong time on the wrong thing.  But the miracle of the thing is that God controlled the writing on the signboard.
 
It said exactly what God wanted it to say, The royal title of Jesus is affixed on the cross for all the ages and nobody could change it. Indeed He is the King.
 
And Pilate was exactly right.  The Jews had killed their King. They had smashed their hopes. They had forfeited the immediacy of the Kingdom. And for all time, the declaration stands, “This is THE King.”
 
I’ve often wondered if that sign is what got the attention of the thief who was saved.  Remember, he looked over at Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom”.  It just may have been that God used the message of that signboard to reach that heart.
 
That would have never happened if Pilate had changed the wording.  If it had said, “He said I am King of the Jews”, that might have produced enough doubt to cause that old thief to question His credibility.
 
But on that day, when Pilate wrote what he wrote of that signboard, God used the wrath of men to praise Him, even to the salvation of a dying thief.
 
There is another thing we find there at the crucifixion.  Not only are specific prophecies being fulfilled, not only does the signboard declare His majesty, but notice His
 
2. Selfless Love
 
Verse 25‑27
 
Right up against the cross, we find a little group of people.  Most historians estimate that a crucified person’s feet were about three feet off the ground.
So here are these folks gathered right at the feet of Jesus, within touch of Him, within easy hearing distance.
 
There they are, four women and one man.  Let me introduce them to you. First of all, Mary, the mother of Jesus is there.  She had been told 30 years earlier, by a man named Simeon, that a day was coming when her heart would be pierced through.  That day has now arrived.
 
Her heart is breaking as she stand at the foot of the cross feeling every pain that her Son feels.  She was there.
She doesn't appear very much in the ministry of Jesus all through His life. In fact, the only time she appears is when she gets a mild rebuke for trying to mother Him.
 
And what becomes clear as you study the New Testament is that Mary has to move over here with the rest of us and see Jesus, not as a Son, but as a Savior.   We find the first indication of that in John 2 at the wedding feast when Jesus addresses her, not as “Mom”, but as “woman”.  He wasn’t being unkind or disrespectful.
 
He used a very dignified term.  He was simply saying the mother-Son relationship must give way to a different kind of relationship. One that sees Me as your Savior. 
 
In fact, here at the cross, the human mother-Son relationship has run its course.  Now it must be a Redeemer‑disciple relationship.
 
Listen:  Mary is not co‑redeeming with Jesus Christ.
Mary needs to be redeemed by Jesus just like anybody else. Mary was not virgin born; Mary was not supernatural. Mary needed a Savior just as much as you do.
 
And we find her there at the feet of her Savior.  Now, make no mistake, all the emotion and feeling of a mother is still there. He may be her Savior, but He’s still her Son.  That man on the cross is the little baby that nursed at her breast as an infant. Those hands that are held by cruel nails are the same hands she held as He took His first steps.
That face covered with blood and spit and dirt is the face she caressed as He fell asleep in her arms.  He’s the same child she loved and cherished and raised and He has a place in her heart like nobody else because He was not only her child but He was her perfect child.
 
She loves Him as only a mother could love who had a perfect child and she suffers in unbroken silence at the foot of the cross as the crowd is screaming and mocking, the thief is taunting, the soldiers are gambling for His clothes, her Son is bleeding, and she is just watching.
 
Then it says, "his mother's sister," was there.  That is possibly Salome, who was the Mother of James and John.
 
We also find another woman named Mary who is identified as "the wife of Clopas." This was possibly Mary's sister‑in‑law.
 
Then we see Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom Christ had cast seven demons.
 
And finally, there is John, the beloved apostle.
 
That’s all there is.  All the other apostles have disappeared.  The disciples are gone.  No more crowds throwing down palm branches and hailing Him as King.  Just these five, the majority of them most likely kinfolk.   
 
After all, it takes a lot of courage to be there.  You could be found guilty by association just hanging around with a convicted criminal.
So from where did their courage come?
 
Let me remind you of a little principle in Scripture that was recorded by this same John.  In his first letter, the Holy Spirit guided him to write:
 
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear”.
 
They had no fear because their love was so perfect for Christ and they were so perfectly loved by Christ.
 
Watch what that love does in verses 26-27
 
There are some beautiful thoughts in this. As He dies, Jesus, the King of love, selflessly cares for those who stand at His feet. It is almost incomprehensible because here is Jesus occupied with the most stupendous task in the history of the universe.
 
There He hangs under a burden which no creature could possibly have sustained or endured.  He is enduring in a matter of several hours what it will take all individuals through all eternity in all of Hell to endure and in the midst of it all, He thinks not one thought of Himself but cares only for His Mother and His beloved disciple.
 
That is a little insight into the caring love of Jesus Christ. That's a wonderful thing to know because when you and I get into problems, sometimes we think that Jesus is too busy running the universe and spinning the planets and doing the things He has to do, to care about us.
 
 
Don't ever let the devil convince you of that.  In fact, here we find an indication that when He is the busiest, doing the most, He is the most sensitive to the care that we need at every point.
 
If you don’t get anything else from this message today, I won’t you to be assured of the tender, loving care of Jesus on an individual basis in your life. He shows that at the cross.
 
So He says, “Woman, I'm giving your care over to John.”  Again, by saying "Woman," He is not being discourteous.  In Mark 31, somebody sent a message to Jesus and said, “Your Mother wants You”.
 
Jesus says, “Who is My Mother? Who are My brethren?” Then He said, “Even he that doeth the will of the Father, the same is My father, mother, brother, sister.”
 
The point is this, when Jesus began His ministry and moved toward the cross, all human relationships were severed and everybody stands on the same level ground.  Nobody, including Mary, had a foot up on someone else when it comes to getting the attention of Jesus.
 
Let that be an encouragement to you!  When it comes to the care of Jesus, you get the same care Mary does.  Everyone gets the same attention.  By the way, that doesn’t minimize Mary; it maximizes you.  Everyone gets supreme love; individual care; the very attention of God Himself.  The love with which Christ loves you is a divine love.  It’s of God.  It’s always selfless, always caring.  It is the majesty of the love of God.
 
And in it, even at the cross, we see the majesty of Jesus Christ.
 
We see in Jesus, deity in specific fulfillment of prophecies, in the signboard, in His selfless love and finally in
 
3. Supernatural Knowledge and Control
 
There are two characteristics of God that belong only to God.  One of those is omniscience. Omniscience means absolute knowledge of everything. Only God knows everything, in spite of what your wife acts like.
 
The second characteristic is omnipotence.  That means God has all power and God has everything in control.  Only God has omnipotence.
 
God knows everything and God controls everything.  Did Jesus, as God in the flesh have those characteristics?  Look at the next three verses.
 
Verses 28-30
 
Watch that first phrase, “Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished . . .”
 
Now how did He know that? He knew it because He had omniscience. He knew everything. Jesus Christ was on a divine schedule with an omniscient eye moving one step at a time and deliberately fulfilling every detail of prophecy. He knew exactly where He was and what He was doing and when it was all done He could say to Himself, “All things are now accomplished.”
In fact, when you get to verse 28, there is only one earthly action left.  SO everything is fulfilled except for one Scripture.
 
SO here is Jesus, in total awareness of every fact in the universe, knew that in God's plan everything was done except for only one Scripture that was left unfulfilled.
 
Psalm 69:21 was that Scripture. Listen to what it says.
 
Psalm 69:21
 
He knew that that had not yet been fulfilled. Now you will remember at the beginning of the cross they had tried to give Him vinegar mixed with gall but Jesus refused it because it was a sedative.
 
Jesus refused the sedative.  He needed for His mind to be alert and mentally ready for the task at hand.  He was there to suffer the full effects of sin.  He took the whole load, the total pain so He refused the vinegar.  But now He knows that Scripture needs to be fulfilled, so He says, "I thirst."
 
So verse 29 tells us a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there.  Isn’t that a coincidence?  Isn’t it interesting that when the Psalmist penned the 69th Psalm he knew when the crucifixion took place there would be a vessel full of sour wine available there at the foot of the cross?
 
SO Jesus says, “I thirst”, and the soldiers responded.
They didn't have to respond, but they did because they were under divine compulsion.  God was moving to fulfill the prophecy.
You talk about being in control and informed!  Jesus not only knew what the prophecy was so He could fulfill it, they acted in response to total control by Sovereign God.
 
The Bible says they filled a sponge and put in on hyssop and lifted it to Jesus.  Now hyssop is a long reed with a little bushy end and it is very familiar to the Jews.  It goes all the way back to Exodus 12:22 and the bondage of the Israelites in Egypt.
 
Moses has been sent by God to tell Pharaoh to let His people go.  He refuses and God sends a series of ten plagues upon the land.  The last one was the killing of children as a death angel passed through the land.
 
The Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb and take hyssop and paint that blood on the doorposts and lintels of their homes.  The death angel, seeing that blood, would “pass over” that house and spare the children inside.
 
So anytime hyssop makes an appearance, the mind of a Jews is reminded of the great sacrifice of the Passover lamb.  How fitting it is that that hyssop should be the tool at this sacrifice of that final and greatest Passover Lamb.
 
By the way, and I’m just speculating, but my suspicion is they used the stalk end of the hyssop to lift the sponge to Jesus.
So what?  Only this:  If the stalk end is toward Jesus, then the bushy end is toward us.  That means the part of the hyssop used to apply the blood to the doorposts is now reaching down to mankind.
 
Again I’m just speculating, but I wouldn’t be surprised, considering the bloody mess that Jesus is that some of His blood may very well have fallen on that hyssop and in a graphic display of what was taking place there spiritually on the cross, the literal blood of Jesus is extended to lost mankind.
 
So when He received the wine, Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy. He was in full knowledge of every detail. He was in full control of everything He did and everything the soldiers did.
 
The plan was complete, and He utters one word, tetelestai, “It is finished”. That means the work of redemption was done. Everything the law of God required, everything which prophecy predicted, everything every type foretold, everything finished to perfection which the Father had given Him to do, all things performed that were necessary for redemption, everything was done.
 
Nothing was left.  The ransom was paid. The conflict was endured. Sins wages were paid. Divine justice was satisfied. Everything was over and it is finished.
It is not the groan of a helpless victim but the proclamation of a conquering victor.  It was a shout of triumph.
 
And by the way, He meant what He said when He said it.  He meant that there could be nothing added to what He had done.  There are a lot of people who think that you receive Jesus Christ and then you add works or good deeds to that for salvation or to stay saved.
 
 
But when Jesus said, "It is finished," He meant exactly what He said. The beginning and the end of salvation was finished by the act of Jesus Christ and you and I can add absolutely nothing to that.
 
It would be idiotic for me to take a little felt‑tip pen and try to repair the Mona Lisa or get my little hammer and chisel and try to fix up Michelangelo's Moses. They are masterpieces just as they are and I'm not going to add anything to them.
 
In fact, if I get to messing around with them I’ll just mess ‘em up!  The same is true of salvation. He finished it on the cross.  All you have to do is have faith in His finished work. You can't add anything to it. He mapped out every detail in eternity past and every detail went exactly as He had planned it. He knew it was done because He knew everything and that’s why He said, “It is finished.”
 
And I love that next phrase, “. . .and he bowed his head. . ." Isn’t that appropriate?  It was no sudden drop.  It was no slump.  He simply bowed His head.  In fact, the Greek word means to pillow your head.  It's the gentle placing of the head on a pillow.
 
Jesus just decided, it's done and now I'll die and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit into the hands of God. And Jesus Christ dies there a victor.  No wonder, after seeing that scene with all the revelation of His majesty and deity, that centurion stood and said, “Truly this was the Son of God.”  May that be your confession today as well.
 
Let’s pray.
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