The Judgment Day
Tim Temple


The passage that we come to in John, chapter 19, is really the watershed of the Bible. All of the Old Testament sacrifices and offerings and even the structure of the Tabernacle and the Temple looked forward to this event. Everything in the New Testament looks back on it—baptism, the Lord's Supper, even such practical, everyday things as the marriage relationship. Everything in the Bible points in one way or the other and is built upon the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf.

This event is recognized around the world, even by people who really don't believe in it. Even for those for whom it is nothing more than an extra holiday in the year, there is at least that time when they talk about the birth of Christ and therefore, about the death of Christ. It is a very, very important event. Because of it, no one can say that God the Father doesn't know what it is to suffer. God the Son suffered physical anguish, emotional suffering and spiritual pain to the extreme—more so, I am sure, than any one of us, whatever we have to suffer. God the Father participated in that suffering in that it was He Who designed the plan which involved that suffering, so God can identify with us and comfort us in the problems and the pains and the suffering that we have. In fact, II Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 3-4, tell us that very thing—that God knows how to comfort us in our sorrows because of the sorrow and suffering that He himself went through. He comforts us in our sorrows so we can then pass that comfort on to others around us who may suffer also.

Crucifixion was the worst form of death, the worst kind of torture that has ever been devised. Apparently, it originated with the Persians, as far as anyone can trace it back. It was taken over by the Carthagenians of North Africa and refined to the extremes and eventually exported to Rome. Crucifixion was never done in Italy itself, and it was not allowed for any Roman citizen. It was a torture and a form of death that was reserved entirely for slaves and even at that, only for slaves who were guilty of the worst kind of criminal activity. So to reject or to ignore the death of the Lord Jesus Christ is literally the sin unto death. This is the sin which God simply does not allow for a person to come into Heaven for having rejected the offer of salvation.

Those who are in Heaven are those whose names are written in The Lamb's Book of Life. Those names are written there when a person accepts the fact that Jesus Christ died in his or her place. This is the central issue of all of the Word of God. It comes in the middle of a chapter of three separate sections. We have the deliberations about Jesus in verses 1-16—the final trial of Jesus which brought about the death penalty. Then verses 17-30 talk about the death of Jesus. In verses 31-42, we read about the descent of Jesus from the Cross—how He was taken down from the Cross and all that that involved, which sets the stage for chapter 20, which deals with the Resurrection of Christ.

Summary of the Death of Christ

We have talked about those deliberations in lesson 51, so we want to now look at the actual death of Christ in verses 17-30. First, the circumstances of that death are described in verses 17-24. Verses 17-18 gives us a summary of that. Notice verse 17:

John 19

17And he [Jesus] bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
18Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

There is the summary statement about the death of Christ. It is a simple statement of a criminal going out to the place of crucifixion, to the place of execution, having to carry His own Cross. They had picked a place that was picturesque of the kind of thing that took place there— the place of the skull , a hill that from a distance looked something like a skull, the thought being that that would be the ideal place aesthetically for crucifixion to take place.

They crucified Him. Matthew tells us that these two men who were crucified with Him were criminals, and that was exactly what the Old Testament had prophesied. So the summary emphasizes the shame that Jesus went through in that death on the Cross. Notice that the sentence was carried out immediately. There are a lot of implications in that for nations like ours where people literally spend years after a death sentence, awaiting their execution.

I think the sequence of events here in John, chapter 19, makes that very clear, because it reminds us that Jesus had no opportunity for appeal for the death sentence. The sentence was handed down, and the execution took place immediately. That is in keeping with what the Old Testament tells us about the death penalty. But just from the standpoint of making good sense, it would do a great deal to lower the crime rate, in my opinion, if people were executed within twenty-four hours of their sentence in our nation.

The symbolism of that is even more important—the fact that when Jesus Christ took the penalty for our sins, He had nowhere to turn. He had to go directly to the fulfillment of the sentence that you and I would someday commit.

The Sign Attached to Jesus

Verses 19-22 talk about the sign that was attached to Jesus. We have looked at the summary; now look at how John emphasizes this sign that was attached to His Cross. Notice verse 19:

John 19

19And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

John gives us more detail than the other Gospel writers about this particular sign. The sign itself was not unusual. It was the custom in those days for the criminal to have a sign attached to the cross, and as he carried the cross through the streets out to Golgotha, people would be able to see, if they weren't already aware of what this man was guilty. As he hung on the cross, his crime would be there written out for everybody to see. It was done as a visual reminder of the seriousness of whatever particular crime for which he was being executed.

It is interesting to notice that Jesus doesn't have a crime described. It was simply the statement that this is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Of course, Pilate wrote this sign as a way to mock the Jews. As we were looking at the trials that Jesus went through, particularly the trial before Pilate, we saw this contest between Pilate and the Jews and how they really hated each other and how they continued to work back and forth with Jesus as the pawn between them. It was clear that Pilate had no respect for the Jews, so he wrote The King of the Jews as another way to try to mock them.

Notice that John specifies that it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. As the people came by, they were able to read it, no matter what language they spoke. Those languages are significant because those were the three major languages of the world of that day. Even today they are very important languages in terms of the study of the Bible and other ancient literature; but in those days, they were the leading languages of the world.

Think about the significance of his writing it in Hebrew. Hebrew was the language of the Jews. It was the language God chose to make the repository of His revelation of Himself to mankind, so it is only fitting that this testimony about Jesus would be written in Hebrew. Of course, the significance of it also is the fact that many of the people passing by would have read that language as their first language and be able to tell at a glance what it said.

He also wrote it in Latin. Latin was the language of the Romans, who had developed the law and the government and the codification of laws, many of which have passed on down to our own nation. It was the language of government, of justice and all of those kinds of things.

Greek was the language of culture and philosophy. So from every standpoint, testimony was given that this was Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Probably unknowingly, Pilate memorialized Jesus as the King of every area of life by writing it in those three languages.

As I said, his purpose was to mock the Jews, but in doing that, he wrote it in every language and the language that represented the major aspects of life—the aspect of the Bible, the Old Testament, the aspect of law and government and the aspect of beauty and culture and philosophy. God saw to it that even that minor detail was taken care of, that everybody who saw Him could recognize Him for Who He was.

Philippians, chapter 2, verses 9-11, say that someday that is going to be carried out on an eternally greater scale, when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It would be as if in that day, Jesus' name will be written in every language. I believe, from what we know from the book of Revelation about the glorification of Jesus Christ on His throne, that it won't be a matter of reading a sign saying Who He is; it will be that all of God's plan, all of the unfolding of the last days will reveal Jesus Christ for Who He is. It will be far better than a sign written in three languages, but that sign is a picture of the greater glorification of Jesus Christ, the greater identification of Jesus Christ that will take place someday in the future, perhaps soon.

Notice, though, that the Jews argued with Pilate about that. In verses 21-22, they asked him to correct the sign. They said, “Write that He said that He was the King of the Jews.” They were still struggling to protect their honor, even in the midst of this heinous crime that they had committed. It is interesting how people who are criminals are sometimes so particular to preserve their honor or to preserve the carefulness of the record about them, even though they are guilty of the most heinous of crimes.

The Jews were guilty of that. Here they were, having engineered a trial. Talk about a kangaroo court. This was one of the worst cases of engineering of injustice in the history of the world, and yet they are anxious that it be known that He only said that He was the King of the Jews. But Pilate stood firm and said, very authoritatively, “What I have written, I have written.”

There is an important lesson in that for us. If you studied with us the first part of the chapter where Pilate was having this banter and give-and-take back and forth with the Jews about the trial of Jesus, you remember how wishy-washy he was. There he was, from a human standpoint, with the life and death of Jesus Christ literally in his hands. He could have personally, from a human standpoint, made the decision as to whether Jesus was going to live or die, Yet, in that situation, he was totally wishy-washy. He would give in on this point and try to recoup by coming back with some other point. It seemed that he just could not summon the courage to say that this was a ridiculous charge. He would say, “I find no fault in Him,” and, “What shall I do with Him?” He allowed the accusers to decide the validity of his verdict.

He was totally spineless. But now, in this really minor matter about the wording of a sign, he was totally inflexible. You know, it is an easy thing for us to do that same kind of thing, and I think that many times, as Christians, we do the same kind of thing. We make such a major issue out of some of the really minor points of the Christian life, and yet many times the very people who are the most inflexible about things like clothing and activities and those kinds of things are the ones who are not quick to be able to give a word of testimony about Jesus Christ. If someone even asks them, sometimes they can't come up with a clear, cogent explanation of the Gospel.

It is very important that we understand the importance of being firm in those areas that are important and being gracious in those areas that are really a matter of opinion—those gray areas, those doubtful things, as Paul calls them. So many times it is just the other way around.

If Pilate would have been this inflexible in the issue that really mattered—the life and death of Jesus Christ—he would have been a hero of history. He would have stood as an example of a right judgment; but as it is, he is famous for his failure. He is looked upon, at least by people who know the Bible, as a spineless coward who didn't have the courage to do his own job that he had been commissioned to do.

Of course, God used all of that to bring about the death of Christ, as we have been saying, the most important point in all of history. I believe, however, that if Pilate had been willing to stand for justice, God would have still brought Jesus Christ to the Cross; but we would have had, at least, one more example of a person who stood for the right in the midst of tremendous pressure and great odds. As it is, Pilate was spineless and cowardly about the important issue and firm and inflexible about this minor matter of the wording of the sign over the Cross of Christ.

Naked and Exposed

We are talking about the circumstances of Jesus' death. The first of those is the sign, but another circumstance of Jesus' death is the soldiers in verses 23-24. Notice in verse 23:

John 19

23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

John emphasizes the fulfillment of prophecy in the last part of verse 24, which is a quotation of Psalm 22, verses 17-18. That Messianic Psalm had prophesied this very thing about one of the details of the death of Christ. It is interesting to notice that this is one of the few things that is mentioned by all four of the Gospel writers. In all four of the Gospels, this seemingly minor point—gambling over the clothes of Jesus—is mentioned. But the spiritual lesson that we can learn from it is even more important.

We talked about the agony of suffering on the Cross—the physical agony of that. A lot of things have been written about what that kind of death would do to the human body, but even as painful as that physical suffering of those men who were crucified and to the Man Jesus would have been this humiliation of hanging there naked and exposed on the Cross. It was designed to be that way; it was designed to add that emotional shame and suffering to the physical suffering.

This matter of the exposure of Jesus Christ for everybody to see is an interesting thing to think about. Before the fall of man, we read in Genesis, chapter 2, that Adam and Eve were naked and they were not ashamed, but one result of their sin and of the curse that God put on the earth was the fact that nudity became shameful.

All of us understand that within our own thinking. We have a tendency to want to cover our nakedness. Some people only barely cover it, but it is interesting to me that no matter how brief the swim suits may get, they still wear swim suits—most people do. In fact, it has become a mark of rebellion to try to overcome that shamefulness with overexposure. It has become a daring thing, and it is as though people who expose themselves like that and who do it deliberately are in a sense trying to say, “Look at this: I am naked, and I'm not ashamed.” It is an attempt to get back to that pre-fall condition, and it is an attempt to rail against God's design of exposure of ourselves being a shameful thing.

It is interesting to notice, too, that because of that exposure of Jesus Christ, that exposure physically of His nakedness on the Cross, it brought about the fact that in Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 10, “We are clothed with righteousness.” Isaiah writes, speaking prophetically, that believers in Jesus Christ will be clothed with righteousness. When we stand in His presence, our clothing will be our righteousness. Then that is elaborated on in the book of Revelation, chapter 19, verses 7-8. This is a scene that takes place in Heaven after we are all there. It is describing this marriage feast that will take place when believers are actually united with Jesus Christ. We find those people in Heaven, which will include us, when this all takes place, saying:

Revelation 19

7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

This tells us that in Heaven, we will be clothed in righteousness. Whether figuratively or literally, the righteousness of God will clothe us. More specifically than that, in the last line of verse 8, it says:

Revelation 19

8…for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

That tells us that our righteous living in this life on this earth is what God will use to clothe us in Heaven. Again, I don't know how literally that is or I don't know how figurative that is, but there is some sense in which the things that we do with the motive of pleasing Christ, the things that we do with the motive of being obedient to the Word of God, will have a part to play in the clothing that we enjoy, at least at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and probably throughout Heaven. Interesting thing to think about, isn't it? Our day-to-day activities in honoring the Lord in those little things of life, in those day-by-day decisions of life, will have an impact on our enjoyment of Heaven.

If we go back to John, chapter 19, the lesson that we learn from Jesus' exposure on the Cross is that His death made it possible for us to be clothed spiritually. His nakedness on the Cross was worth it to Him. He was willing to go through that kind of humiliation so that spiritually we could be clothed in the most beautiful kind of clothing.

There are those Christians, though, who clothe themselves in superficial righteousness, who try to clothe themselves in loose talk while living any way they want to. They talk a good game spiritually, but they don't live the principles that they are talking. In Revelation, chapter 2, Jesus wrote to the church at Laodicia: “You say that you are rich and increased with goods, and clothed in fine linen and purple, but I know that you are poor and miserable and blind and naked.” You see, God knows what kind of clothes we really are clothed with spiritually. We may fool people around us with our spiritual talk, but God knows what the truth is about our spiritual clothing. All of that, I think, is tied up in the fact that Jesus Christ was exposed there on the Cross. It may be that God designed it just to remind us of that kind of lesson.

Concern Exhibited In Jesus' Death

We have been thinking about the circumstances of Jesus' death, but another thing to look at in His death is the concern that was exhibited in His death in verses 25-27. First, there was the concern of the sisters in verse 25:

John 19

25Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Here are these four women who were there. Three of them were named Mary; another one was probably the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her name would have been Salome . If you look at some of the other descriptions of the crucifixion, Matthew and Luke give more detail about those women, leading us to believe that probably the fourth woman who was there was Salome. At any rate, these women had followed Jesus all the way to the Cross, and they stood there at the foot of the Cross, watching His death. I believe that their presence there is a perfect example of I John, chapter 4, verse 18. That verse says:

I John 4

18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

There was a danger in being indentified with a criminal who was being crucified. There was the possibility of being implicated in His crimes. There was the embarrassment of having someone who was a friend or maybe a family member dying in that way, and so it was unusual for people to gather around the Cross and watch somebody die.

There were those people who were there because of the uniqueness of this rebel, Jesus, and there were people who were there out of curiosity. But these women who gathered were there simply out of love. Matthew, chapter 26, tells us that all of the disciples had fled as soon as He was arrested. We know that John and Peter followed at a distance, and apparently John was willing to come and stand at the Cross with these women, but these women loved Jesus enough that they didn't care what happened to them. Their love for Jesus cast out their fear of the Jews.

It is interesting, too, to notice the spiritual leadership of women. Here is another of those places where women had the courage and the boldness and the faithfulness that men should have had. These women had followed along with Jesus and had been a part of the group and had been involved in a lot of the things that He said and did while on the earth; but the disciples, the men that Jesus specifically chose to give His first attention to, were all men. There are references to these women being there, and no doubt the women heard the many things that Jesus taught the disciples, but the chosen leaders of the next generation were males. Yet, it was the women who were faithful.

That is a very significant thing to keep in mind as we think about the importance of women in God's plan. There is a lot of discussion these days about the place of women in the church. I think, and I am not going to go into all the details, but I have taught in the past that the Scripture is explicitly clear about the fact that women are not to have places of authority in the local church. This is one of those times when it is important to point out that women have an extremely important place in the heart of God and in the history of the church and the work of God. Just because a person, man or woman, is not in a place of authority, it doesn't mean they can't serve the Lord. Just because a person, male or female, is not in a place of influence and importance in the church does not mean that they do not love the Lord and that they don't have great usefulness to the Lord. Down through the years, many of the great heroes of the Christian faith, beginning with these four, have been women.

We should be careful when we talk about this matter of leadership in the church that we insist on the biblical truth of male leadership. I am not the one who thought that up. God is the One Who thought that up. We need to insist on the biblical principle of male leadership, but we need to be careful that we don't even imply that women are not important.

I think when we get to Heaven there are going to be a great many embarrassed males when we see the things that God had intended us to do. But because we would not do it, because we were like the disciples and ran from it, women stepped into the gap. God used those women and God blessed those women and God blessed the growth of His Body through those women, when it was His intention that those women have something probably even more important that they could have been doing if the men had been doing what they were supposed to be doing. A significant enough part of the death of Christ that God recorded it for all future generations was the presence of these sisters at the crucifixion of Christ.

The Concern of Jesus

Not only is there the concern of the sisters, but verses 26-27 show the concern of the Savior. In verse 26:

John 19

26When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Of course, John is talking about himself. He is being deferential in not using his own name in the record, and he does that all the way through the Gospel, as we have seen. It is interesting to notice that here is Jesus, hanging there in the worst kind of pain, in the deepest agony that a human being could suffer physically, besides the coming separation from the other members of the Trinity—the worst possible scenario, worse than anything that any of us will ever face even if we should happen to be crucified. We don't have that spiritual suffering that Jesus was going through. Yet, notice what was on His mind—His mother. There can't be any more beautiful picture of unselfishness than that, that as Jesus hung there on the Cross in all of that agony, He noticed His mother standing there, and He took care of her future.

It is interesting, too, that He committed her to the care of John. It would really have been, from a human standpoint, a quandary for Jesus because it is apparent from the lack of things that are said about Joseph—this is one of the places that helps us decide that Joseph had died by this time—that Jesus was acting as the head of the family by this time. He was seeing to the care of His mother after His death. He couldn't commit her to His brothers because chapter 7 of John tells us that they did not believe on Him yet. In fact, apparently, they didn't believe on Him until after the Resurrection.

As I mentioned earlier, John may have been a cousin of Jesus. John was the son of Salome, and so he may have been a cousin of Jesus. If he wasn't a relative, he was certainly one of Jesus' best friends, from a human standpoint; so Jesus committed the care of His mother to this one who had believed in Him, who was a brother of Jesus spiritually, and Jesus took care of her needs for the future.

Notice in the first part of verse 27, He said: “Behold your mother,” to John. Not only was He taking care of the needs of His mother, but He was also seeing to the needs of this disciple, the one who was faithful enough to follow Him all the way to the Cross. This was a provision for John as well.

There is an important lesson in this, and that is that God, as typified by Jesus there on the Cross, is interested and concerned about our temporal needs as well as our spiritual needs. What Jesus was doing there on the Cross was going to take care of Mary throughout all eternity, and it was going to take care of John throughout all eternity. If Jesus had not done anything about Mary and had not done anything to help John in his grief after the years of Jesus' death, they would have at worst suffered for a few more years in the human life and then they would have gone to Heaven. All of that was because of what Jesus was doing on the Cross. He was providing for them spiritually, which is the most important thing of all; but in the midst of all of that, He took time to take care of them temporally also. Of course, the Scripture is full of promises to us of His care for us before we ever get to Heaven in the meeting of our needs in this life as well as providing even more importantly for our eternal life, our spiritual life.

Secondarily, there is a lesson for us as we try to minister to other people. The debate seems to be cooling off now, but for years there was a large debate about missions activity and in terms of relief organizations about the importance of preaching the Gospel as compared and contrasted to meeting physical needs. For many years, there has been a group of Christians who said, “We don't need to worry about their physical needs. We just need to go in and preach the Gospel.” Then, there have been others, mostly the liberals, who have said, “Forget about the Gospel. They are not going to listen to the Gospel. We have got to feed them and clothe them.” The biblical pattern, as it is in so many things, is right between those two human extremes. You see, Jesus demonstrates that on the Cross. He cared enough about their eternal needs that He was dying for them that very hour, but He also cared about their temporal needs.

We need to preach the Gospel to people. That is their greatest need, but we can not overlook their physical needs, and we veer off the pattern that Jesus Himself established if we don't feed and preach the Gospel to them. Both things are part of God's provision. If a choice has to be made, of course, the Gospel is by far the more important thing, but in most cases, a choice doesn't have to be made. We can see to meet people's temporal needs and even through that, have an opportunity to meet their spiritual needs.

Fulfillment of Prophecy

We have talked about the circumstances of Jesus' death and the concerns at the time of His death. Now, verses 28-30 show us the conclusion of His death, and it is in two parts. First, in verses 28-29 we have the fulfillment of prophecy. Notice verse 28:

John 19

28After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Notice particularly that phrase in the last part of verse 28: …“that the Scripture might be fulfilled…” Here is John once again emphasizing the fulfillment of Scripture. He pointed that out about the soldiers gambling for the clothes of Jesus. We just mentioned that in passing because the more important emphasis, I thought, was that spiritual application of our clothing because of His nakedness, but even such a minor matter as the soldiers gambling over His clothes was a fulfillment of prophecy. And even such a minor matter as Jesus' asking for a drink was also a fulfillment of prophecy. There were at least twenty-five prophecies that were fulfilled during the hours that Jesus was on the Cross, and the prophecies that were fulfilled during His lifetime amount to over a thousand because the Scripture is so detailed about all the various things that would apply to the Messiah, and only Jesus could have fulfilled all these things.

In fact, one of the theories that the Jews have promoted down through the years is that Jesus was an impostor who realized early on that He had a lot of the characteristics of the Messiah. He was born at the right place and of the right tribe and those kinds of things, and He set out to try to fulfill the rest of those prophecies on His own and to try to make people think that He was the Messiah.

I am telling you that if this Man Jesus of Nazareth accomplished that, He was a mastermind. How do you suppose He got those soldiers to gamble for His clothes? How do you suppose He managed to hang on in agony until literally moments before His death? He would remember the minor matter of asking for a drink in fulfillment of prophecy. You see, there are so many things about the death of Christ and the life of Christ that no human could have arranged to fulfill or would have taken the trouble to on some of these minor things like this. Psalm 21 specifically prophesied that He would receive the gall to drink as He hung on the Cross. Notice the way this is worded: “Knowing that all things were accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”

No doubt Jesus was thirsty. He wouldn't have lied about that, but the implication of the wording of John's account of this is that the reason He asked for the drink was so that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Notice how conscious Jesus was in providing for our need. He remembered even the minor details that needed to be involved in the crucifixion itself. I want to point out that even the reed that was used was significant. There was a reason for His request: “…that the Scripture might be fulfilled…”

Notice in verse 29, the reed that they used. They put it on hyssop and lifted it up to His mouth. Hyssop is a very important little plant in the Bible. A reed of hyssop would be something like a very thin stalk of bamboo or a very thick blade of grass. It was probably a couple of feet long to be able to lift it up to where He was on the Cross. It is interesting that it is specified as a hyssop reed, because hyssop was the reed that was specified to be used in that very first Passover night when they painted the blood on the doorposts and on the frames of the doors. It was specified that they were to use a branch of hyssop to sprinkle that blood on the doors. In fact, in all of the other significant descriptions of sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament, it is specified that hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood of the animal in the various ceremonies that took place. Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 19, says that hyssop was used with every sacrifice, so even again, there is this minor detail.

How would these soldiers have known that they were supposed to choose a hyssop reed to lift that sponge up to the Lord Jesus? I'm sure that they just grabbed the first thing that was available and, from a human standpoint, had no idea that they were fulfilling a minute prophecy such as this.

Of course, the underlying lesson in that is that Jesus Christ died as the Lamb of God. The hyssop was used with the Passover lamb thousands of years before as they came out of Egypt in the exodus. It was used in all of those sacrifices that pictured Him throughout the hundreds and hundreds of years of sacrifices in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. At His very death, it was used in the death of the Lamb of God Himself. It pictured the Lamb of God all through those years and was used in the actual sacrifice of the Lamb of God when that actually came to fulfillment.

Fulfillment of Purpose

That is the first part of the conclusion of Jesus' death, but the second part of the conclusion of Jesus' death was the fulfillment of purpose in verse 30. We read there:

John 19

30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The other Gospels record that He cried out with a loud voice, a shout, but only John records what He said. Not only did He shout this, the Greek word that He used was a particular kind of shout. It was a shout of victory that a commander in battle would shout to tell his troops that the battle was over and the victory was won. The Greek word is telelasti . When the battle was successfully completed and the commander could see that his troops had won the day, He would shout as loudly as he could, “Teleo. It is finished. It is over,” but completely in the victorious context. That is what Jesus shouted from the Cross, “Teleo. It is finished.”

Not a whimper of giving up in dismay after all of that suffering, but a shout of victory. What was finished when He cried out, “It is finished.”? The plan of God for the payment of sins was finished, as Jesus dismissed His Spirit and went into death. But not only that, all of those pictures of Christ in the Old Testament, those types, as Bible scholars call them, all of those things were finished. They were fulfilled when He died on the Cross. The power of sin was finished. Matthew records that when Jesus' birth was announced by the angel, it was said, “He will save His people from their sins,” and so when He cried out, “It is finished,” the power of sin over sinful human beings was finished. Satan was defeated in that moment when Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”


Summing it all up, our salvation was finished. That was what Jesus was crying out. Salvation had fulfilled its plan. It is finished. Of course, this is one of the many reasons that we believe and preach and teach. One of the foundations for all of that is that Jesus did not add anything else. He did not say, “It will be finished when you join the church.” He did not say, “The foundation has been laid for it to be finished when you get baptized.” Jesus, in His death on the Cross, said, “It is finished.”

Listen to me: Nothing needs to be added to that. Nothing can be added to that. Nothing should be added to that. What Jesus pronounced as finished is what is finished, and thank God it was finished for us.

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