We're studying this week this passage that ends with Jesus saying, "It is finished!" And we're noting the things that He finished.
When we look at verse 19, we remember that Jesus was crowned King of the Jews when He died on the cross. Not just the crown of thorns that they cruelly pressed onto his head . . . When the Romans crucified someone, they posted his crimes to deter others from committing those same crimes. Pilate nailed a sign to Jesus' cross that He was the King of the Jews. Now, the chief priests didn't like the way that Pilate worded the sign -- they worried that strangers to the crossroads might think the Romans were actually crucifying a Jewish king. Worse still, they might think the chief priests were there at the foot of the cross because they believed He was King!
So, they told Pilate, "Don't write "King of the Jews" on the sign. Write that He SAID He was the King of the Jews."
Did Pilate listen?
Nope. He decided they were being nit-picky and left the sign as it was.
And it's a very good thing! Jesus didn't die because He claimed to be King of the Jews; He died because He is King of the Jews. All throughout the Old Testament prophecy, which these leaders were steeped in, God had told the Jews that they would recognize their Messiah by His death. They all learned in synagogue that Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, and then was shown by God that His Ram would one day die in our place. And that picture was repeated every time a priest made a sacrifice for a sin offering.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you
so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My
God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but
I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2)
Wouldn't you think that chills ran up and down the chief priests spines when they heard Him say that from the cross? It was describing the death of Messiah -- 1000 years before it happened.
Isaiah described it, too:
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm
of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a
tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no
beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appear-
ance that we should desire him. He was despised and re-
jected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with
pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was
despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:1-3)
Jesus was that Messiah. He was their King. Check out Daniel 9:26, too, where it says the "Annointed One will be put to death" and in Zachariah 12, we read "They shall look upon Him whom they pierced."
Jesus told the Jewish people that the only sign they would be given to prove His Messiahship would be the sign of Jonah -- which prophesied Jesus' death and resurrection. Pilate was right on the money; he said the sign would read that Jesus was the King of the Jews.
His death on the cross finished crowning Him as King. Now, God could say to the people, "I told you in advance; my Son told you, and I even had Pilate put a sign on the cross that He was your King, but you still turned away and rejected me!"
Another thing that was finished was the robe of righteousness prepared for us. Remember in verses 23-24, where the soldiers divided Jesus' possessions and gambled for his robe? They not only took His life; they took everything on this earth that He owned . . . wouldn't even give His personal effects to His mother, standing there in grief. What the soldiers did not know was that they were in God's hands, fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 22, by dividing His garments among themselves.
Let's look at another passage, this one in Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has
anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to
bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year
of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort
all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow
on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of
mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They
will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the
display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-4)
Did you see that we will receive a garment? Other passages tell us about a robe of righteousness. We receive it when we trust Him. All of our righteousness is as filthy rages compared to the purity and holiness that God requires to get into heaven -- we can't make it on our own. There is no way that we can clean up enough to get into heaven. Jesus' blood cleanses us and He gives us His robe of righteousness. So in God's sight, our sin debt is settled and we can stand righteous before Him!
Jesus finished what was needed for all of us to have our robe of righteousness. You and I need never try anything else to cover our sins. Jesus finished that when He stamped our debt "Paid in Full" when He died on the cross.
We'll finish this tomorrow. Join us?