Lesson 109

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 19:26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!" 19:27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.

19:28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty." 19:29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and brought it to his mouth. 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished." He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

 Today's Lesson 

Here, in stark words, is the death of Jesus of Nazareth. It is not our final chapter nor the end of God’s plans because God is not limited by death. The story of Jesus of Nazareth does not end here, but it is nevertheless a dark chapter. There is pain here, and suffering.


The author tells us of two things that happened before Jesus died. The first is that He makes the unnamed disciple responsible for His mother, Mary. This is the purpose of the transaction that is recorded in verses 25-27. These words seem odd to our cultural sense, but they would have been quite at home in this eastern setting. Jesus was asking this disciple whom He trusted to care for His earthly responsibilities. He was being a dutiful son, even in suffering.


Then we are told that He was thirsty and someone, probably the soldiers, gave Him vinegar to drink that had been soaked in a sponge and brought to His mouth. After this had happened, He said, "It is finished" and bowed His head and died. His suffering and His pain were done. The work that the Father had sent Him to accomplish had been achieved. He had been perfected through obedience, even obedience unto death.


There is more that is finished here than just the termination of His physical existence. Finished was the way that God had dealt with mankind all the way up to this point. The death of Jesus of Nazareth is a divide that separates the history of time. Before His death God dealt with men through a covenant of law that pointed toward a time when the Messiah would come. After His death, God deals with man based on the grace of a new and better covenant. A covenant written in the blood of the Lamb that God sent to atone for the sins of His people.


The difference is that on this particular Passover, God fulfilled all of the promises that He had made to His people. God provided a Lamb that would bear the sins of His people and by the sacrifice of this Lamb He would reconcile Himself to His creation. On this Lamb was laid the sins of the entire world; past, present and future. On this one perfect sacrifice, all of the sins of mankind were placed.


And when He died, it was finished. God had accomplished that which He had planned from before the world was created. Everything that had preceded it pointed toward this moment in time. Everything that followed after this one moment would depend on it.


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word was made flesh and here, in this unique moment in time, the flesh of the Word experienced mortal death. We will never understand what happened in its purest sense just as we will never completely understand how the Word was made flesh in the first place. Many reject that Jesus of Nazareth was wholly God simple because we are told here that He has died. How can God die?


I have no answer. God does not tell me. But, I would not know God at all if He did not reveal Himself to me. And the same God that has revealed everything else about Himself that I know tells me that Jesus of Nazareth, in whom dwelt the fullness of God, died that day on the cross. And God tells me that this was not accident or happenstance but the purpose of all history. Here is the fullness of God. Here is the Mystery of God.


"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"


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