Thursday, March 19, 2015

John 19:17-30 What Jesus finished, conclusion


Another thing that Jesus finished in this passage was the beginning of the family of God in the New Testament. Verses 26-27 say that even while He was suffering intense pain on the cross, Jesus was compassionate toward His mother and His youngest, "beloved" disciple. They had both depended upon Him so much -- His death was going to be devastating to them. So, Jesus gave them to each other for their mutual comfort and encouragement. The love and devotion that they had shown Him could now be channeled to each other, and it would help them through their grief.
Jesus still does that today, through His church, where each member has a responsibility to encourage the others.
So, Mary and John were among the first ones in the New Testament family of God. New relationships were made possible when Jesus died. These relationships are stronger and much longer lasting than the earthly ties we have here. Mary was no longer just the earthly mother of Jesus; she was His sister. John was no longer only His cousin and youngest disciple; he became a brother of Jesus. Both of them were now joint-heirs to the Kingdom of God, just as millions more would be, in the coming centuries.
The Jews didn't "get" that God was their heavenly Father. They revered Him as too high up, and too far removed from them, for them to be that familiar (and in their eyes, too casual) with Him. His name was so holy that they did not dare to pronounce it. They called Jesus a blasphemer because He referred to God as His Father.
In Romans, Paul tells us that Jesus is the first-born of a new family:

                       Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ
                       Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life
                       has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was
                       powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending
                       his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he
                       condemned sin in the flesh....(Romans 8:1-3)

                      The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear
                      again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
                      And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

All of us who trust Jesus have that spirit of adoption, and can call God "Father."
Look at what He told Mary Magdalene in the next chapter we will study:

                      Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the
                      Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my
                      Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (John 20:17)

Today, we may take this for granted, but it was completely unknown and astonishing to them. Jesus had finished everything that was needed to begin the New Testament concept of the family of God.
 
The final thing that Jesus finished in this passage was making a way for us to the water -- the water of life. Look at verse 28:
 
                     Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that
                     Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."
 
The commentators tell us that crucifixion is an agonizing death by suffocation and dehydration. It's difficult to lift your chest and to breathe when you're hanging by your hands, but also when your blood is draining out of your body, you feel an intense thirst.  Jesus felt every sensation and every pain . . . He didn't take the easy way out. He was God, and He could have changed it in the twinkling of an eye. Physically, He was thirsty because of His physical needs in His body -- spiritually, He was thirsty because He was emptying Himself.
Look at Philippians 2:7:
                  
                             rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of 
                             a servant, being made in human likeness.

One of the commentaries I read noted that the Greek literally says, "He emptied Himself." He was emptying Himself of the water of life, so that we might have it.
Remember in John 7:37:

                             On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said
                             in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink."

And He told the woman at the well:

                            but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed,
                            the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling
                            up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

In John 14:6, He tells us that He is "the way, the truth and the life."  On the cross, He finished opening the way to the water of life. The river of the water of life is mentioned in Revelation, too, and it is noted that the river flows through heaven. It originates with Jesus. He finished all that was needed to make that river possible.

His love for us will never be finished. Isn't that a comforting thought in these perilous times? He finished the groundwork, the pathway for us to have a robe of righteousness, to be a part of the family of God, and to drink from the river of life. Now, each day, He can work in our lives to finish making us the best disciples that we can be!                           

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