Monday, March 16, 2015

John 19:17-30 What Jesus finished

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

When I was studying this passage, I read Dakes' commentary and he noted that the King James translators used three words to translate one Greek word . . . tetel'estai . . . in the Greek, that simply says, "Finished!"  The translators added the "it is," but that really makes it sound like only one thing was finished. Neither the one Greek word, nor the three English words can fully translate all of the work that Jesus completed on the cross. We can never completely comprehend all that He did for us. But we can see in our passage some things that He finished, and ask the Spirit to show us those and more.

First, Jesus finished showing us just how much God loves us. Look back up there at verses 17 and 18. Think about the fact that Jesus half-carried, half-dragged His cross through the streets of the crowded city, for everyone to see. He was flogged and mocked while soldiers watched and added their insults to His humiliation. When He was crucified, it was at a crossroads so heavily used, so congested with traffic, that they wrote the accusation in three languages and hung it over His head. His humiliation and His death were so, so public. He could have died quietly. He would still have paid for our sins. Here is the kernel of truth -- He was showing the whole world just how much He loved us!

Lately I've seen more cars with messages of love on their windows. "Judi loves Beau" or "You're the best!" decorate the back windows. I remember when foolish teens would go to a rock outcropping near our town and paint messages of eternal love on it. Some folks will rent a plane, or a billboard, and let someone know that they are loved.

God is in love with all of us, but He isn't acting on the spur of the moment, like these human lovers are. He took thousands of years to plan His message for us. When He came as Jesus to die for our sins, He finished the greatest display of love that the world will ever see.
We were on the auction block; we were slaves going to be sold to the highest bidder, and Satan was in the crowd, ready to win the auction. He was going to hand us over, as his slaves, to Sin, and then ultimately to Death.
The situation changed; Jesus made His bid. He took us down off the auction block and stepped up there in our place.

The One Who spoke this world into being; the One Who is so holy that we cannot look upon Him; the One in Whose presence even the angels cover their faces actually GAVE Himself to Satan for those thirty pieces of silver. Through our tears we can see that they ridiculed Him, tormented and beat Him, nailed Him to the cross and killed Him. Then they sealed Him in death's dark tomb. All of that was planned for us! And we deserve it! But He didn't.

He took our place and then broke free from the tomb so that He could come back and show us that we never have to be separated from Him again.

There was never before such a message of love, and if we ever doubt how much He loves us, we need only to look at Calvary. That's where He finished showing us His great love.


Belinda said...

And He loves us just as we are. Broken and scarred, full of sin and shame. He loves us as much as He possibly can no matter how "good" or "bad" we are.

Sometimes I feel as though I have to "measure up" to be loved enough by Him. But He went to the cross, knowing exactly how many sins I would commit, how dedicated or not I would be. And He loves me still. What an AMAZING LOVE!

Cathy said...

The words from one of my most favourites hymns ever express this beautifully. And better yet, after reading this, they'll be humming in my head all day, giving praise and thanks to the Lord for His saving grace.

"And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?"