The Roman Spear

 

THE ROMAN SPEAR
John 19:31-37
 
We are looking at some of the objects and articles which John has dropped into this 19th chapter of his Gospel. We’ve talked about the crown of thorns, the signboard, we have looked at the seamless robe of the Lord Jesus and the hyssop branch. Tonight we are going to look at the roman spear, and tomorrow night, the garden tomb. 
 
Notice John 19:31-37
 
It was the custom of the Romans to leave a victim of crucifixion on the cross for many, many days. The terrible heat of the sun and the cold of the night, the gnats and the flies and the raging thirst—it was a terrible way to die. The religious leaders of Jerusalem were uptight about some of their religious ceremonies. The Old Testament law was very specific. It said that a body was not allowed to be left on a tree overnight. In addition to this, it was the Sabbath day the next day and it was a high day—the Passover Day. So, they were real touchy about the observance of their ceremonies. 
 
The religious leaders went to the Roman officials and said, “We would like to get those bodies down.. 
If they are not dead, send the soldiers over there with some mallets and crush the legs and finish off the job and let’s get them off those crosses.”
 
The Roman soldiers went over there and the Bible says that they crushed the legs of one of them and they crushed the legs of the other one, finished off the job. But when they got to the Lord Jesus, He was already dead and the Bible says they didn’t smash the legs of Jesus.  
 
As they turned to go away one of the Roman soldiers, almost as an afterthought, took his spear and stabbed the side of the Lord Jesus and when he did the Bible says that blood and water gushed out.
 
I want to talk with you about this Roman spear. The
Roman spear tells us some very important lessons about the cross of the Lord Jesus and what the death of Jesus on that cross means for you and for me today.
 
The first thing I want to point out is that the Roman spear teaches us –
 
I. How AWFUL sin is.
 
Here is the Lord Jesus. He is already dead and yet a Roman soldier takes that spear and rams it into the side of the Lord. There’s a great deal represented behind that. 
 
A lot of sin is seen here. There is some religious sin involved, by the way. 
 
The religious leaders were behind it all and they had a violent, rabid, unbelievable hatred of the Lord Jesus Christ. They didn’t care what it took or how they could do it. 
 
They wanted to humiliate Jesus in every way possible. They wanted him to suffer as much as He
possibly could. So, they thought a good way to finish off the deal would be to just smash his legs.
 
It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it, the scruples of these religious leaders. They were all uptight about their ceremonies and the details of observing their ceremonies. Yet, here is the One who never did a sinful deed, never spoke a sinful word, and they hate Him so very bad that they want to do everything they possibly can to Him.
 
Conscience is a funny thing. Some people’s conscience will bother them about a little bitty thing, yet they can do other things far worse than the little ones and it won’t seem to bother them at all. 
 
Somebody has said, “Let your conscience be your guide.” I’m not sure about that unless your conscience is guided and directed by the teachings of the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit who dwells in your heart. 
 
These are religious leaders. It’s amazing. Religious sin is probably some of the ugliest kind of sin there is. 
Things done in the name of religion, things done in the name of some particular religious
organization or group.  
 
These leaders had been all around sacred things. They had been around the Temple. They had heard the temple choir and orchestra sing and perform. 
 
They had been around the altars. They had seen all of the ceremonies and all of the rituals. They were very meticulous and touchy about all of that and yet they were willing to participate in the brutal death of the sweetest life that was ever lived on all of this earth.
 
That tells us we had be very careful because familiarity can breed contempt. You can get so used to spiritual things and religious things that you just kind of take them for granted and they really want mean a great deal to your heart and they really won’t change your life.
 
A number of years ago I read about some travelers who were passing through a place in Africa and they saw some little African boys and they were playing with diamonds. The precious had become commonplace. Sometimes people can play with that which is sacred and precious. You and I both know that some of the hardest people ever to win to faith in Jesus Christ are religious people. 
 
Some people feel like they are too bad to be saved, but millions of people feel like they are too good to be saved. Mere religion won’t save you. Mere religion put the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Why some of you have come to church today just to be religious. Not planning to be here next week. . . Sing the same old songs. . .
 
How dreadful sin is. 
 
It also lets us know how vicious sin is. You would think they had done just about enough to Jesus, wouldn’t you? They have tried Him. They have spit on Him. They have pulled His beard. They have beat Him nearly to death. They have dragged Him up to the cross of Calvary. They have placed him on the cross. They have nailed the nails in His hands. Drove the spike into His feet. They have mocked Him. They have insulted and ridiculed Him. 
 
But, now almost as a parting shot of hatred, the Roman spear of the soldier is shoved into the side of the Lord Jesus. We are living in a violent day.   Don’t we live in a vicious time? Think about some of the outlandish, vicious crimes that are committed right here in America. Sin is a very violent, vicious thing.
 
I have a feeling that sometimes because of the television exposure and some of the video games that our kids play and some of the shows that are on television and the news items that come along—
 
if we are not very careful we will get desensitized to
violence. 
 
Oh, what a terrible scene this is and how dreadful sin is when we look at the Roman spear shoved into the side of the Lord Jesus. They hated Jesus. People still hate Jesus.
 
This world hates God. The ultimate sin, the most violent, vicious display of sin that this world has every seen was the day when Jesus died on the cross and that Roman soldier took that spear and shoved it into the side of the Lord Jesus.
 
If there has ever been a place on this earth or a point in times where we can see how terrible and how dreadful our sin is, it’s the day that the Lord Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins. That’s what sin is. That’s how awful sin is. You see sin out in life. You see sin in the family. You see sin in a society. You see it in a community, in a city. 
 
But if you want to see sin in al of its dreadfulness, go to the cross that day and see that Roman spear as it is thrust into the side of Jesus.
 
There’s a second lesson I want to share with you about this Roman spear. The Roman spear teaches us –
 
II. How TRUTHFUL Scripture is.
 
This is really a fascinating passage of Scripture. The more I have read this Scripture this week, the more amazing it has become to me. As you read the verses I have read to you this morning you will notice there are some Old Testament Scriptures that come into play—specifically at this point when Jesus is dying on the cross. 
 
Of course, we do know that the Old Testament Scriptures pointed to the Lord Jesus. Someone has said that there are over 300 specific predictions in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Virtually every detail about Jesus
was predicted in Old Testament Scripture. 
 
The birth of Jesus was predicted. The life of Jesus was predicted. The death of the Lord Jesus was foretold. The burial of our Lord was given ahead of time. The resurrection of Jesus was predicted in the Old Testament. The second coming of our Lord is predicted in the Old Testament. Every morning of His life the Lord Jesus Christ got Himself dressed in the mirror of Old Testament Scriptures.
 
So, as you read about this Roman spear you will find that it, in a very unique, unusual way, demonstrates for us the truthfulness of the book that you and I hold in our hands this morning. 
 
For instance it illustrates to us that the Bible is truthful because of its supernatural inspiration.
 
Notice what took place. The Jews went to the Roman officials and said, “We want you to crush the legs of these people on the cross.” So, the Roman soldiers set out to do that. But you have to keep in mind that God is in control. You do know that God is sovereign. 
 
The Bible teaches the sovereignty of God. I really am thankful that we have a God who is sovereign—a God who is in control. I don’t want a universe where man is in control. I’m glad God is sovereign—that God is running the thing—that God is calling the shots.
 
So, these Roman soldiers walked out there and thought they were doing what they wanted to do, but truthfully they are going to do what God wants to do. When this Roman soldier, almost as a parting shot, hits the Lord with that spear, he is acting of his own free will, but in the exercise of his own free will he is also demonstrating the sovereignty of God.
 
Can I explain to you how God can be sovereign and yet man can have free will at the same time? 
That’s one of the main questions that people ask in regard to the sovereignty of God.
 
The fact of the matter is that they can’t be reconciled. I can’t reconcile them. And you can’t either. Does it bother me that there’s something here that I can’t reconcile? No. It doesn’t bother me a bit in the world. It’s not my job to reconcile the truths of God’s Word. 
The truth of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man are parallel truths in the Bible. I can’t unite them, but you can’t cross them. 
 
So, God is at work here and everything the soldier does is by divine prediction and command. God’s
sovereignty is presented and the ultimate truthfulness of the Scripture is seen in what
takes place right here.
 
I want you to see how this happens. The soldiers were told to go and break His legs, but they didn’t do it. They were not told to stab Him with a spear, yet they did it. 
 
What they were supposed to do, they didn’t do and what they were not supposed to do, they did. Why? 
 
Because the Bible had said that not a bone of His would be broken. The Bible says they will look on Him whom they have pierced. There’s not a way in the world they could have broken the bones of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
God said in the Bible not a bone of His will be broken. If that soldier had tried to smash the legs of the Lord Jesus Christ, that mallet would have come back and burst his brains out. 
 
Jesus said in John 10:35, the Scripture cannot be broken.  
 
 
God’s Word said not a bone of His shall be broken, so not one bone of His body could be broken because the Holy Word of God can’t be broken.
 
Have I made my point? I’m trying say that you and I have in our hands a book which is absolutely truthful. You can depend on what the Bible says. If God said it in the Bible you just make it down—it is true. It is going to come to pass. Everything that
God promised He would do—He will do in His Word. The truthfulness of Scripture.
 
Look how totally Scripture is inspired here. Notice what it says in verse 36, for these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled.   Then it quotes from Psalm 34:20, a bone of him shall not be broken.  
 
In verse 37 it says, and again a another Scripture says they shall look on him whom they pierced. That’s Zechariah 12:10. Did you notice the difference in the wording here? There’s a specific difference in the way these two verses are quoted. 
 
Verse 36 says that Psalm 34 was fulfilled. A bone of His shall not be broken.   But verse 37 doesn’t say that this verse was fulfilled because it wasn’t totally fulfilled. This verse was only partially fulfilled at the cross. Zechariah 12:10 says, they shall look on him whom they have pierced.     He was pierced on the cross—that part of it was fulfilled. 
 
But the total verse wasn’t fulfilled because that won’t be fulfilled until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to this earth again and those who participated as a nation in the crucifixion of the Lord will look upon him whom they pierced. 
 
See how minute Scripture is—every little detail of Scripture. If there is one line, if there is one verse, if there is one word of Scripture that is untrue or mistaken, then the whole thing goes washing down the drain. This word of God is absolutely truthful. 
God says in His Word that if you have a problem—He is able. That’s truthful. 
 
God says in His Word that if you have a need—He’s faithful. That’s truthful. God says in His Word if you will repent of your sins and invite Him into your heart to be your personal Savior, He’ll save you. You can take that to the bank and you can carry that into eternity with you. God’s Word is true.
 
The third lesson I want you to see about this Roman spear is that the Roman spear teaches us—
 
III. How POWERFUL SALVATION is.
 
We talk about salvation and how wonderful it is to be saved, but I wonder if you and I really understand how powerful this wonderful salvation which God gives us actually is. 
 
 
Do you and I really understand the power that resides in the salvation experience when Jesus Christ comes into our hearts and our sins are forgiven. He becomes real in our hearts and lives. 
 
This Roman spear illustrates how powerful our
salvation is. When that Roman spear was thrust into the side of the Lord Jesus the Bible says
that blood and water gushed out. When that took place there was a fountain opened up which provides salvation for those who would come. 
 
We sing songs about it—There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins. And sinners plunge beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.
 
Doctors have looked at this cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and they have talked about this cross of our Lord and I’ll share with you some of their conclusions about it in a moment.
 
But just for a moment I want to talk to you about this fountain of salvation that was opened up when the Roman spear was thrust into the side of Jesus. 
 
That Roman spear represented the hatred of mankind. That Roman spear was an act of violence against the Lord. When that Roman spear was thrust into the side of the Lord Jesus the Bible says it came in contact with the blood. It’s as if man said, “I’ll stab you.” And God says, “I’ll save you.” 
It’s as if man said, “I’ll pierce you.” And God says, “I’ll pardon you.” It’s as if man says, “I will wound you.” And God says, I’ll forgive you.”
 
When the spear touched the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ it was touching the very fountain which produces the flow of salvation. We are saved today because God loves us with an everlasting love. 
 
When Jesus was on that cross and that blood began to flow from his side as if the last drops were gushing out, God was saying, “I want you to know that’s how much I love you.”
 
When I was a boy, I would pick a flower and pull petals when I would get a crush on a girl. I’d get a crush on Gayla Fitz, Got my hand spanked with a ping-pong paddle for letting here copy my math in the first grade.
 
I’m telling you I could pick a flower and play that little game—she loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not. Then, the last one was always the one. It always came out right for me—she loves me. 
 
To be honest with you, I rigged it, but I always made it come out that way. 
 
But you don’t have to rig the cross. The Bible says that God commends or proves or shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 
Every drop of the blood that poured from the wounded side of Jesus God is saying, “I love you, Bill.” “I love you, Tom.” “I love you Sue.” “I love you Amy.” 
 
God’s love is not a trickling stream, it is an overflowing fountain. God’s love is not a leaky faucet, it is a bubbling river. God’s heart on that cross said, “I want you to know I love you and I’ll make it possible for you to be saved. He’ll save you this morning. You say, but you don’t know what I’ve done. 
 
I don’t have to know what all you’ve done. I know what God has done. I know when that Roman spear was thrust into the side of the Lord
Jesus Christ and that blood began to flow, I want you to know that the tip of t he Roman spear of sin was touched by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ because God’s answer to our sin is His unbelievable, overwhelming, incontestable love.
 
The fountain which produces it, the flow which provides it. The Bible says that when Jesus was stabbed in the side with that spear it says in verse 34, there came out blood and water.   Doctors have speculated about this. 
 
I have read some rather interesting articles written by doctors who have examined the death of the Lord Jesus and this particular statement. 
 
There is some speculation that when the spear was thrust into the side of the Lord it punctured the pericardium which is that sac around the heart where there is water or serum. 
 
The very fact that there is blood and water has caused some in the medical profession to believe that what happened on that cross is that the heart of
Jesus literally exploded on the cross. Jesus died with a broken heart on the cross. 
 
I personally do not believe that Jesus died of a broken heart, but I do believe He died with
a broken heart. I believe the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ was broken with our sin. I believe it was broken with love you and for me that day. As that spear punctured the side of the Lord the Bible says that blood and water came gushing out. What does that have to do with salvation? 
 
It has to do with just how powerful our salvation really, really is. Blood and water.
 
There’s an old hymn called Rock of Ages. The first stanza goes like this: Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hid myself in thee. Let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed. Be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.  
 
The double cure of the cross of Jesus. What is the double cure?
 
The water and the blood. The blood says our sin is pardoned. The water says there is power. The blood has to do with our atonement. The water has to do with our enablement. The blood points to the altar where the sacrifice was laid. The water points to the wash basin where they were washed and they were cleansed. The blood and the water of the Lord that flowed that day—the blood justifies and the water satisfies.
 
Let me make it real practical and bring it right down to you. Some of you are struggling with a number of problems and difficulties today. Maybe you have
temptations. Maybe you have heartaches. Maybe you have needs that you are not able to come to grips with them. 
 
Maybe there’s anger in your heart and you can’t seem to control that anger. Maybe you have a tongue problem and you can’t seem to refrain from
the profanities that fill your mouth at times. You have trusted Jesus as your Savior. You have asked Him to forgive you of your sins, and yet you are struggling with those sins. 
 
When Jesus died on the cross the blood flowed but also the water flowed. It is saying if you will come to Jesus at that cross, not only trusting Him as your justification, but also claiming Him as your sanctification. You can draw upon the merits of that cross to help you every day of your life.
 
I come to the Lord and say, “Lord, I have an anger problem. Lord Jesus, I know that you died on that old cross for this anger of mine. Lord, I don’t have the power to overcome that. Dear Jesus, you give me the power.” 
 
You see, the blood flows and the water flows. 
There is power in the blood. There is power in the cleansing that the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ makes. 
 
The fountain which provides it—the heart of Jesus. The flow which produces it—the blood and the water. 
 
Now, see the faith which procures it
John says in verse 35, and he that saw it bear record and his record is true. He is saying that he saw it for himself. He was an eyewitness. John was right there. He was one of the few who was there.  John is saying that Jesus really did die on that cross. And that blood and that water really did pour out of the side of the Lord Jesus Christ on that
cross. It’s true!
 
Tomorrow night we are going to talk about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is the keynote of Christianity. It is the centerpiece of Easter, but in a real sense Easter Sunday is no more or less important that any other day on the calendar because EVERY day is a day when we can live in the Resurrection power of the cross. 
Easter is simply a day to put an exclamation point on the truth of the sentence that we have the privilege of reading every day of our lives.
 
It is true that Jesus died on that cross. It is true that Jesus Christ was buried in that tomb. It is true that three days later Jesus rose again from the dead. John says it’s true.
 
You can put absolute confidence in the truth of your gospel. He says that he knows that he says true that you might believe. John knows what he’s doing. John knows what he is writing this gospel of his. He has a specific purpose and the purpose that John has in mind for this gospel is that people might believe in order to be saved.
 
Look over into the 20th chapter. He wraps it all up for you there. John says in verse 31, and these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that believing you might have life through his name.  
 
Notice that believing is mentioned twice in that verse. The first time he talks about intellectual belief. That you might believe.   The facts of the Gospel crush the barriers of doubt in the human heart.
 
There’s more than one story about a lost person who was asked to read the Gospel of John. And as result of reading the Gospel of John, came to know Christ as Savior. 
If you are in this service and never invited Jesus into your heart, you aren’t sure about the claims of Jesus, let me invite you to just read the Gospel of John, a chapter a day, for 21 days. I dare you to!
 
There’s power in this gospel to save. There’s power to break down the intellectual barriers in the human heart. John says these things have I
written that you might believe. That’s intellectual belief.
 
Then he says, and that believing. That’s volitional belief. That means acting on what you believe. That means doing with the will what you believe in the mind. It’s not enough to just believe in your mind that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again. 
 
The Bible says, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe IN THINE HEART.   The head is important. But it doesn’t happen until you believe in your heart. That means by faith in your heart you receive Jesus Christ into your heart and into your life. 
 
Right here in this service today if you will ask God to forgive you of your sins and by faith invite Him into your heart, you will believe on Him in your heart, according to the promise of God’s Word, you’ll be saved.
 
 
There was an infidel giving a talk one day in front of a group of people. He was making fun of the Bible and specifically he was making fun of Jesus. When he got through he asked, “Now are there any questions?” 
 
There was an old boy in the audience that day who was well known as a notorious sinner who had recently been converted. So, the old boy came up where the infidel was lecturing, took an orange, silently peeled that orange, ate it and said not a word. The infidel stormed at him, “What is your question?”
 
The man said, “Was that orange bitter or sweet?”
The infidel said, “What do you mean, bitter or sweet? I don’t know if the orange was bitter or sweet. I didn’t taste it.” The man said, “How can you know anything about Jesus until you try Him?”
 
You just try Him. The Bible says, oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” If you will meet Jesus at the cross where the blood flowed and where the water flowed. 
 
You will find forgiveness for your sins and power to deal with sin on a daily basis.
 
Do you know the Lord as your Savior?
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