John 19:17-30 | Jesus is the Fulfiller and Finisher | Andrew Gutierrez
Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: John 19:17–19:30
Please turn to John 19. Our text for the morning will be John 19, verses 17-30. And while you’re turning there, just to remind you about something and really to encourage you and commend you, this week Jason reminded a couple of us that this building is not meant to hear much sound from you. It’s meant to hear a lot of sound from up here. It’s a theater. It’s not a sanctuary that a worship service is normally designed to be in. We’re extremely grateful for it.
But just to highlight, the people up here are not entertainers. Normally in the world when you hear people singing and playing music and people are looking at them, there’s an entertainment aspect of it. And they’re not entertainers and we are not an audience. We’re a congregation. And I’m just so grateful for the music ministry at this church and the way they lead us without trying to entertain or dazzle us with all of their wonderful skill and personality and things like that. They lead us and we sing.
And while this building is not meant to hear a lot from you, try sitting or standing in the front row one week. You are a loud group of singers. And here’s something I know about heaven. Heaven is loud. Heaven is loud because we worship the risen Lamb who was slain for us. And so I just want to commend you keep singing loudly. You don’t need any entertainers to conjure up any worship. Your worship comes from what you know to be true about the word of God and you sing it. So just want to commend you in your loud and joyful singing. It’s a pleasure to be your pastor for a lot of reasons, but that’s one of them.
So John 19, verses 17-30, as I mentioned in my prayer, this is not something that I planned a little over two years ago when we started the gospel of John. I didn’t plan that we would begin advent 2017, begin the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus, the day that he took his first breath on this earth, we didn’t plan that on this day, 2017, first day of advent, that we would also be studying the passage where Jesus gives up his final breath on earth. But I think it’s very appropriate. This tells us the full story.
So please listen as I read John 19:17-30 beginning with the end of verse 16:
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The title for this morning is “Jesus is the Fulfiller and Finisher.” Around this time of year you hear a lot of slogans thrown around. You may yourself say some of these slogans and maybe you’ve said them for years. Merry Christmas is a familiar little saying that we hear at this time of year. Seasons Greetings.
And if you’re really clever and smart and a little bit funny, you say things like Wise Men Still Seek Him. That’s an interesting one. Or Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Admit it, how many of you have said that one? I’ve said that one. Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
Well, imagine saying that to someone just kind of in passing because it’s kind of familiar, and you say, you know, maybe leaving Starbucks or sitting there getting your oil changed, whatever it may be, Jesus is the Reason for the Season as you’re walking out the door. And as you’re walking out, the person says, why? Why is he the reason for the season?
And kind of caught off guard and having Bible verses circulate through your head and kind of trying to think of a quick answer, well, because he was born in a manger, as you start to leave again. Why? Why was a he born in a manger? Well, because he’s humble, and he came to this earth to serve. Why? Why did he come to earth to serve? Well, because he’s the only Savior. Jesus is the Reason for the Season because he came in a humble way to serve a world that needed to be served, to serve a world that needed to be saved. Why?
Well, this morning in a providential way, we’ll understand why Christmas is so special by looking at the crucifixion of Jesus. We don’t just focus on a baby today. We focus on the baby’s cross and the baby’s death, and that makes the whole story make sense, come alive, if you will.
Jesus is the fulfiller and the finisher. I want to show you two things. I’m going to take point number one from verses 17 through 29. So, point one encompasses almost the entire passage. Jesus is the fulfiller of Scripture. John’s making that point to us in these passages. And then we’ll come to verse 30 and see that Jesus is the finisher of salvation. He’s accomplished everything that needs to be accomplished in order for salvation to happen.
So, Jesus is the fulfiller of Scripture. Verse 17 begins, “and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.” Now John is setting the stage for us. John is telling a little bit about where Jesus is going and how he got there. He got there by carrying his own cross for a certain portion of time, because we learn from the other gospel writers that Simon of Cyrene came along and carried his cross as well.
So, both men carried the cross of Christ. Christ was probably overwhelmed because of the scourging that he’d experienced, the flogging that he’d experienced, which I told you about in detail last week. Jesus begins carrying his cross. John simply wants to highlight that for us. The other gospel writers round out the story, but John focuses on the fact that Jesus carried his own cross. Why? Because Jesus was considered a criminal.
And he goes to The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. Now, a lot of people think that this means that either skulls were kept there. So, after the crucifixion there were many dead bodies around. I don’t really take that position, but that’s what some people think. Other people think that the land might have been in the shape of a skull. There was kind of a hill-like feature to it. The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us that that’s why it was called that, but it could be. Either way, we know he went to a place to be crucified called Golgotha, The Place of the Skull.
Verse 18: “There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” Now, you ever heard the phrase “silence is deafening”? They crucified him. John doesn’t go into detail about the crucifixion. What happens is you basically suffocate to death trying to choose between pushing up on your feet to get air or hunching over, which would alleviate the pain in your feet, but it causes you difficulty in breathing, so much so that fluid would develop on the lungs and people would drown basically when they were crucified.
John doesn’t mention all that. He doesn’t mention a lot of the pain. He’ll tell us later in the next passage that he was pierced by the nails, but the gospel writers don’t really go into detail a lot about all that crucifixion was. One, because it would have been widely known in the first century, but secondly, because the cross is not for you to pity Jesus but for you to worship Jesus because of what he did for you.
And that’s why last week we spent time looking at what happened, what the Old Testament says before and what the New Testament says after the crucifixion and drew arrows all the way back to the cross or the beatings of Jesus to show what these all mean for us. And that’s what John’s concerned with. To tell us the story. And later on, the apostle will point us back to what that all means for us, and he’s not focused on the pain. He’s focused on what was happening before God. What were the truths behind this cross?
One of the truths behind this cross was that Jesus would die amongst other criminals. Jesus, as we learned from John, is in the middle of two criminals; and again, John doesn’t go into detail about the thief on the cross that would die and be with Jesus in paradise that same day. The other writers do. We’ll just go with what John says because he’s trying to get us to focus on a certain part of this narrative.
John tells us that Jesus was crucified with other criminals. That’s what he wants us to know. He bore his own cross. Why? That’s what criminals did. He was executed among other criminals because he was a criminal. That’s what John wants us to understand. In this way there’s a fulfillment of Scripture.
Isaiah 53:12, that famous Old Testament passage. Isaiah 53:12. This particular verse in the passage is written as if God were speaking this. God says, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many.” So here’s what the prophecy’s pointing to. God is saying because of his servant, his suffering servant, his lamb that is sacrificed, because of his suffering servant, he will reward him greatly with the many, the many who follow him.
So, this is God speaking about his Son, about what would happen after the cross. He’ll divide with him a portion, with the many. So, Jesus and us will enjoy rewards from the Father. Why? Because Jesus died to accomplish our salvation, to achieve those rewards, and we are in him, so we receive rewards too. Go figure.
So, this is God saying, “Therefore I will divide with him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors.” So because Jesus died a death amongst common criminals, amongst even perhaps murderous criminals, because he did that, he will receive great reward.
There’s another aspect to this. Not only was Jesus crucified amongst other criminals, but he was also numbered with some other transgressors as well. Us. We’re also transgressors. We deserve those crosses. We violated the law of God, but Jesus dies in our place. So, Jesus was numbered with the transgressors. This is a fulfillment of Scripture.
Verse 19, John moves us on to another aspect of the crucifixion. He says, “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’” Now you know Pilate. We’ve been learning about Pilate. And you know about his relationship to the Jews. It wasn’t a friendly one. Pilate had disdain for this group of people.
So, they said that Jesus said he’s the King of the Jews. Now in fact Jesus was the King of the Jews. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures point to the fact that he’s the King over the whole world. So Pilate writes, as a way to get back at the Jews for making him decide whether Jesus was innocent or guilty, Pilate writes, Jesus, King of the Jews.
It wasn’t uncommon to have the sentence, the reason for the execution, to be on a sign above a criminal. So Pilate, instead of writing that he said he was King of the Jews, Pilate writes Jesus, King of the Jews, which would have infuriated the Jews.
He wrote it there for a purpose, because he wanted people to see it. Why else do you place signs up high. You want people to read them. And Jesus was executed outside the city. Now when we think outside the city, we think, you know, Chino Valley, Prescott Valley, outside of Prescott. This is like just outside the city, like across the street outside the city in the topography of Jerusalem.
So Jesus hangs on a cross just outside the city limits, but he’s hanging on a cross near a place, John tells us, where all kinds of people would be passing by, and Pilate wants them to see that this man is dying as the King of the Jews. That’s why he writes it in three languages: Aramaic, Latin and Greek. He wants this to be known.
Now I don’t think this is because Pilate loved Jesus, wanted everyone to know Jesus is the King, not only of the Jews, but of the world also. Pilate just hated the Jews, so that’s why he wrote it. Kind of reminds you of Caiaphas’ early prophecy. Guys, it’s better that one man die for the whole nation rather than the whole nation die. Caiaphas had no clue what he was even saying. Same thing here. Pilate writes here that Jesus is the King of the Jews, and he was absolutely right.
So the chief priests of Israel, the leaders of the religious system, the ones that were crying out for Jesus to be crucified have another bone to pick with Pilate. They go to Pilate and say you need to take that down. Now they probably thought Pilate would because so far he’s caved in to all of their other demands. But here Pilate digs his feet in. No, what I’ve written, I’ve written. Don’t write that he was King of the Jews. Write that he said he was King of the Jews. What I’ve written, I’ve written. I’m not your tool anymore. I’m not who you’re going to use anymore to get your way. I’m done.
Verse 23, John moves us on to what’s happening just below the cross.
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things …
John wants us to understand that even this, these independent, free decisions from the Roman soldiers, are a fulfillment of prophecy, was prophesied early on. Now what would Jesus have been wearing? What would Jesus normally wear? Five things really that Jesus or any other Middle Eastern man would wear. He’d wear some sort of turban or head dress. That’s one. Two, he’d wear sandals. Three, he’d wear an outer robe. Four, a sash, something that came over his outer robe that would often have pockets to place things in. Fifth, a long tunic woven as one piece that would serve as an undergarment.
Five things. Is it significant? Yes. Roman soldiers who presided over a crucifixion, there would often be a group of four of them. A group of four Roman soldiers would preside over a crucifixion. So, there are four soldiers presiding over this crucifixion. Five parts to Jesus’ clothing. Well, they all get one, but then there’s one left. Who gets it?
And you see here instead of ripping it up and dividing it and saying, one for you, one for you, one for you, one for me—instead of doing that, they determined that this final piece, this fifth piece is going to be won by the casting of lots. Whoever wins gets to keep this. And I don’t think—I’m doubting these Roman soldiers knew Psalm 22. All they knew is I want a trophy, which was a normal thing with criminals. It’s likely that other Roman soldiers were doing the same thing with the other two criminals on his right and left.
But this is prophesied back in Psalm 22. Listen to Psalm 22:16-18:
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
Perfect prophecy about what would later happen. And this happens at the cross of Christ. And by the way, I don’t want you to miss this, notice in the prophecy it says they stare and gloat over me. If you’ve watched movies about the crucifixion of Jesus, he’s always wearing some small, little undergarment around his waist. He didn’t wear one of those. He hung naked. Mocked. Made fun of. Ashamed. That was part of the prophecy as well.
John’s highlighting the fact that all his clothes are gone. He’s up there suffering, dying, and at the same time, he’s fulfilling prophecies from hundreds of years before to the T. John takes our minds from the Old Testament for a moment and then places them at the foot of the cross at the family of Jesus, namely the mother of Jesus.
Verse 25: “but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister,” so it’s Mary and then Jesus’ aunt, and then “Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Four ladies, many of whom are named Mary, which doesn’t help us keep them straight all the time. But four ladies at the foot of the cross, and with them is John.
Verse 26: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved …”, and we know that John often refers to himself that way. He’s done that before. So he looks down and sees these ladies, specifically his mother and John the disciple “whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
These ladies would have been considered disciples of Jesus. When we hear disciples, we often think of the twelve, but there was a larger group of 70 that had faithfully followed him around, but in that group he had focused in most of his ministry to the twelve and even there a special four and then a special three. But these would have been disciples of Jesus, these ladies.
You know often in the first century you don’t hear a lot about prominent women, especially in religion. But Jesus is different because he created everyone in the image of God. Everybody has dignity. Everybody has value. And I love that the women are the ones at the cross with Jesus, and the women are going to be the first to see the resurrected Christ.
If you were inventing a religion, you probably wouldn’t put this in your Bible. You’d probably put that men were the ones that saw everything and were the faithful ones. But these ladies are the faithful ones when all the other disciples, even the men, the ten others—Judas was gone by now—the ten others had scattered. John and these four ladies are there in front of Jesus.
One of those ladies, as we know, was his mother. Imagine being a mother not only who’s seeing her son crucified, but has never, ever, ever, ever seen her son do anything wrong. This is not just. This is not right. But Mary knew, did she not, from when the angel even came to visit her, Mary knew, even when Jesus was born, that he would suffer, and she treasured those things in her heart. She kept them tucked away. She’s not surprised by this. It doesn’t mean she can’t be grieved by this.
And Mary’s there at the foot of the cross, and Jesus—isn’t this just like our Lord, suffering the worst possible execution anyone can suffer, being concerned about his own, being concerned about his mother. Looks at his mother, has her look at John—look, your son, your new son. I’m no longer here to take care of you. I’m no longer here to run things or to manage the household. Behold, your son. John, behold your mother. You’re now to see to it that she’s taken care of.
Evidently, Joseph died already. Joseph’s nowhere to be found. He doesn’t put his mother into the care of Joseph, which she would have been before Joseph died. But Joseph isn’t around, so he puts John, the disciple he loves, he puts John in care of his mother. Again, this is just like our Lord.
You look at what we studied so far from verse 17 to this point, and you see Jesus concerned about fulfilling the Scripture. And later on it wasn’t just that he happened to fulfill Scripture, he’s got Scripture and fulfilling it on his mind, John will show us. Jesus wants to do God’s will, wants to do his Father’s will. Jesus, his whole life was about doing what his Father said. I want to do what he calls me to do. I want to work the work he calls me to do.
John 4:34: My food is to do the will of the Father. What nourishes me, what keeps me going is to do the will of the Father. Jesus, even on the cross, wants to please his heavenly Father. And Jesus, on the cross, wants to take care of his earthly mother. This is Jesus.
You know life can be really complicated sometimes between family and doctor appointments and work and this and that. Here, it’s all made simple. Seek to please your heavenly Father and seek to care for everybody else. There we go. That’s Jesus. Seeking to please his Father and seeks to care for his mother.
It reminds me of John 13:1 when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world he loved them to the end. And his mom could say, yes, he did. He cared for me.
Verse 28, Jesus continues to fulfill prophecy. “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture) [said in order to fulfill Scripture], ‘I thirst.’” So this is the end. There’s been a lot that’s gone on on the cross that John doesn’t tell us about. You can look at a harmony of the gospels, you can look at Matthew, Mark and Luke, and you can see that there was a lot more before this point. But here is the beginning of the end, so to speak. And Jesus knows he’s about to die, but it’s as if he goes uh, uh, uh, uh, one more thing. I need to drink something. I’m thirsty. Jesus needs to fulfill Scripture. He’s not going to die without fulfilling Scripture.
Verse 29: “A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.” This is where Jesus receives a drink. Now, just to make it clear, Matthew tells us about two times he was offered a drink on the cross. John here is referring to the second time, the final time. The first time was earlier. Pretty quickly after Jesus was placed on the cross. Pretty quick after that.
Matthew 27:34 talks about a wine mixed with gall or a wine mixed with bitterness that was offered to Jesus, and Jesus would not take it. Now that’s interesting. Why? Two schools of thought about what that wine mixed with bitterness was at the beginning, earlier on the cross. One, it was either something that would dull the pain. If that’s what it was, Jesus would not take it. He was going to suffer.
Second idea about what that might have been would have been a poison that sped up death. He’s not going to take that either because even on the cross he had work to do. He had the Scriptures to fulfill. He wasn’t going to die too quickly on the cross. He had some things to fulfill, but this is the drink offered at the end.
Jesus cries out, I thirst, which of course he did. He was a man. He was hungry, thirsty. He experienced everything that men experience, everything that women experience. Jesus calls out that he thirsts, and someone brings him this drink which evidently he takes. This is the fulfillment of Psalm 69:21: “for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.”
Again, hundreds of years before. This is Jesus fulfilling Scripture as he’s scourged, bleeding, dying. He’s going to see to it that everyone knows that he’s the one the first half of your Bible points to. He’s the one. He fulfills it, as I said before, to the T. No one can say Jesus is the Messiah; I’ve seen all these prophecies, but he never was thirsty and they never gave him sour wine to drink. Yes, they did. He fulfilled every one.
Jesus is the Messiah that the Old Testament points to. John shows us this on the cross. The leaders of Israel were saying, say that he said he was King of the Jews, and at the same time Jesus is fulfilling prophecy which points back to the fact that, yes, he is the Messiah, the chosen one, the King of the Jews. He is.
I’ll never forget a couple years ago playing golf with a Jewish man, and we were probably around the 14th or 15th hole or so, and I don’t remember the score at all. Probably something pretty high. But we were playing, and we were riding in the same cart together. We’d never met before, and we were just talking. I said, can you answer a question for me? I said I’m a Christian. He knew I was a pastor and that seemed to intrigue him, so we had a great conversation.
And I just asked him, I said, how is it that you who know the Old Testament well can look through all the prophecies about Messiah, and if you’ve actually taken a little time to just read through the life of Jesus, how is it that you come away saying he was not the Messiah? I said that just strikes me. What do you say to that?
And he said that’s a good question. And he said a lot of people in Israel now—some are still looking for the Messiah, and some of you know this, by the way, but some have determined that the Messiah’s actually the nation of Israel. And, of course, they do because if you don’t want to worship the Messiah that’s been prophesied about, then you try to find another one.
And I just encouraged him, I’d encourage you, read the Old Testament prophecies about Christ, look at them in the pages of the New Testament, and just give it an honest reading. But what I want to highlight there is Jesus on the cross is making those connections for the reader. John is making these connections for the reader. This is the long-awaited Messiah. He even fulfills the second half of a little verse in Israel’s songbook, Psalm 69:21, that says that he would be thirsty and they’d give him sour wine.
Jesus fulfilled everything the Messiah was supposed to fulfill. Why? Because he is the Messiah. He’s the chosen one.
Just by way of application, this is advent season. This is the season where we celebrate God coming to earth in human flesh. This is the season we celebrate that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament promises, the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus does this. And I know things can be a bit busy. Some of you are acting like you’re taking notes, but you’re really writing down a Christmas list. I know it’s busy. I know there’s a lot going on. Gotta get the tree, the perfect tree. The this. The that. And Johnny needs this. I know there’s a lot going on.
But I would ask you just as one of your pastors, meditate on some Old Testament passages this season. Meditate on what Will just so wonderfully led us through this morning—Isaiah 7. Be brought to that kind of longing feeling, that frustrated feeling. We need things to be different. We need someone to save our nation. We need someone to free us from our sin. We need someone to this, to that, to this, to that. Jesus came to do it all, to fulfill it all.
Please, please, please meditate on the Scriptures this season. Have your heart drawn into longing expectation for the Son of God, celebration for the Son of God. I would encourage you to pick an Old Testament passage to be yours this season. Know it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it. Know how it’s fulfilled in Christ.
Don’t go through the motions. Kids, gather around. We’re supposed to do some sort of devotional. No, no, no. Let it come from the heart. Long for Jesus. Long to worship Jesus. Be drawn into what he did, and let it flow. Everyone gather around. I gotta tell you about something in here. Let it come from the heart.
Study Genesis 3:15, the first prophecy about Christ. Sin comes into the world. What does God do? There’s a curse for sin, but guess what, there’s a redeemer. What a God we serve. Sin comes into the world and immediately the promise of a redeemer. Study that for a while.
Study Genesis 12, the fact that this Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, of the nation of Israel. But he wouldn’t just bless Israel. In him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Study something like that. Know it. Have your heart drawn to that.
Study Exodus 12, the Passover. The Passover Lamb slaughtered, his blood saving the lives of his people. Jesus crucified on Passover. Coincidence? No. Plan of God.
Study Psalm 2. Messiah would be God’s Son who judges ungodly rulers and who blesses those who honor him.
Study Psalm 22, the Psalm that I referenced earlier. The Messiah would be pierced, but he would be vindicated and rewarded as well.
Study Isaiah 7, as we looked at this morning. Study Isaiah 42, that Messiah would be the light of the world. Study Isaiah 53. There’s a lot more. Pick something. Meditate on something.
I know there’s a lot of things to shop for, a lot of things to eat, a lot of parties to go to. Pick one Old Testament passage that’s fulfilled in Christ our Lord and let your hearts worship through this season. Do not believe the lie that it’ll always be busy and I’ll never really worship like I should. Don’t believe that. No way, not us, not this year. We’re going to worship our King in a special and unique way in the next four weeks. But see how he fulfilled the Scriptures.
If you go to our website when you get home—not now, please—but when you get home, put the shopping list away. No, no. When you get home, there’ll be a blog on the elder’s blog, and it’ll give you a list of Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in the New Testament, their fulfillment in Scripture. Maybe pick one of those. There will also be a little devotional at the end from Desiring God where John Piper has written, and it’s free. You can download it and it takes you through this advent season giving you things to focus on.
I’d encourage you to do this, and I think it’s helpful to do it from this passage. Jesus fulfilling Scripture. Fulfilling Scripture. Fulfilling Scripture. Fulfilling Scripture. He’s the one we’ve been waiting for. Jesus not only fulfills Old Testament prophecy, but he also does something else, and we see it in verse 30. He finishes the work required for salvation. Jesus finishes the work required for salvation.
Verse 30: “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’” In the Greek that means paid in full. It’s done. “[H]e said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” He died. He put his life into the hands of God the Father and died. But right before he died, he said, “It is finished.” It is completed. It’s done. The debt has been paid.
Now we ask the question just because we want to know for sure, what was finished? Just the events on the cross? These three hours are finished? That he had put his mom in the care of John? All right, it’s done. She’ll be taken care of. No, it’s bigger than that. Let’s remember earlier what John had told us.
John 4:34, as I even mentioned earlier, Jesus goes to the woman at the well, this woman who normally a Jewish man wouldn’t talk to, goes to the woman at the well. She has an encounter with Jesus, and the disciples come back and they’re amazed that he’s talking to somebody from Samaria, but they’re really amazed he’s talking to a woman from Samaria. And they basically ask the question, what in the world are you doing?
And they bring back food with them. What in the world are you doing? Here, we’ve got lunch. You’re probably hungry. My food is to do the will of him who sent me. My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and then he says this: and to accomplish his work. Jesus was always talking about work. The Father’s work that he was here to do. Always.
John 17:4, remember the high priestly prayer, when he prays? And Jesus is kind of praying that prayer as if his death has already happened. And he says in John 17:4, I glorified you on earth having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John has shown us that Jesus is talking about work. He says it in John 9 as well when he heals the blind man. This is the work that we’re supposed to do. And then he tells the disciples, by the way, this is your work also.
So there’s work to be done, and Jesus comes to earth, not to be served as a king, but to give his life as a ransom for many, and he works for it. He works for the salvation of his people. So on the cross, Jesus is saying my work is done. I’ve done everything that needs to be done for people to have eternal life. It’s finished. It’s accomplished.
He fulfills the promise of the very first prophecy, Genesis 3:15. When God said to the serpent I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal. Satan bruised the heal of Jesus. Satan saw to it that Jesus went through much agony and pain, but Jesus is the one who crushed his head.
Jesus says it is finished. The work of Satan has been destroyed. And by the way, the one who Jesus loved, the disciple who is now caring for Jesus’ mother, wrote to us in 1 John. I don’t know where John wrote this. Maybe Mary was making breakfast, and John was sitting at the table years later writing the book of 1 John. We don’t know where he was writing it from.
But notice what John writes later on in 1 John 3:8: “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” And you can throw all of us in there before salvation. We do exactly what the devil would want us to. Arguing, fighting, whether we’re two years old or 27 years old or older. Before Christ we’re doing the works that the devil would want us to do. Selfish, prideful, everything.
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” So the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason—listen to this—the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Some of you have been born again. Some of you have been given eyes that see things differently than you did previous to being united to Christ. Some of you have new hearts, new loves, new desires, a new King, a new Lord, a new Savior. That’s what Jesus came to do in your life, to destroy the works of the devil. The presence of sin is still there. It will be until we go home, but the penalty for it—gone. The power of it—gone. You do not need to sin.
Unbelievers need to sin. That’s who they are. We’ve been given new hearts. We’ve been given a resurrection life. We do not need to sin anymore. Jesus died to make that possible.
So Jesus finishes the work. We needed a prophet. We needed someone to teach us. Plato and Aristotle have died. King David who wrote Psalms lived, wrote, died. Moses, the great prophet, preached sermons, led the people out of Israel, taught them, gave them a law, and then he died. We need a prophet who speaks forever. Jesus fulfilled that.
We need a priest. If you grew up in Old Testament Israel, all the time as a little child you’d see lots of blood. You’d walk long distances to get to the tabernacle or later on the temple, and you would see blood. Blood, blood, blood. Daddy, why all the blood? Why do we have to keep doing this? It’s for the forgiveness of sins. Why do we have to keep doing it? Because we keep sinning. We keep sinning. We keep sinning.
And then John said one day, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and his blood, his death covers all of it. No more need for a sacrifice. Christ made the final sacrifice. We need that.
We needed a prophet, we needed a priest, and we needed a king. Ladies and gentlemen, this world needs a true and good king. Can I get an amen? Okay. Jesus is the King. Jesus dies as the King of the Jews and fulfills the prophecies from Genesis 12 that in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
We needed a king. It’s finished. He’s done the work. Jesus is currently the King over people’s hearts who are not just born Jewish, he’s the King over people’s hearts who are American, Nicaragan, Italian, from Ethiopia. He’s the King over the hearts of people all over the world. Jesus has done the work to do that. No more work to do be done.
You and I today need a perfect human being to be our substitute. An angel couldn’t die for us. One like us had to die for us to be the perfect substitute. Only a man could die for us. Only another human could die for us. Do you feel that? Do you feel that during Christmas time? I need a substitute.
Adam, our first father, first person created, created and enjoyed communion with God, enjoyed food God gave, enjoyed the life and the location that God gave him, and then he sinned against God. Adam is not the one that will save us. And we were all born in him. All of us born in Adam. Adam’s our one common father.
Adam our first father sinned against God. We were then in the line of people who would be born from Adam. And for centuries and centuries and centuries little boys and little girls would be born and would start fighting each other, would grow up and would keep fighting each other. They would war. They would fight. They would struggle. They would toil. They would curse. They would lust. They would lie.
Just read the Old Testament. It doesn’t matter whether they were a little pauper or the son of a king. All of them would grow up and sin and suffer. They would get diseases. They would get cancers. They would get leprosy, and they would die. And then their children would grow up, sin, suffer, die. Sin, suffer, die. Sin, suffer, die. Sin, suffer, die. And then one day the Word of God spoke, the Word of God kept his promise, and a baby was born in a manger. And the Word of God, God in flesh, came to dwell among us.
The only person ever who’s ever been perfect came. And that’s not the good news. Christmas is not good news if he doesn’t die. Because then so what? Someone lived to be a perfect kid and a perfect teenager and a perfect adult. But he came as a substitute to die. The cross makes sense of Christmas. We wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas if he wouldn’t have died in our place. But he died in our place.
This Word of God, this promise of God, this Son of God lived a perfect life for us. He died as a criminal. He died—Jesus died—this passage in John 19 happened because men and women are impatient. They lust. They’re lazy. They’re angry. They’re anxious. He died for every sin. Not just the sins of people out there, but the sins of people in here.
He died for all of our sin. The same sins that seep like raw sewage from our heart he came to die for. Your sin, my sin. We are lawbreakers. We were born lawbreakers. The only perfect law keeper has suffered the wrath of God in our place. And this passage shows us Jesus fulfilled Scripture, and he finished the work of salvation, accomplished it in our place.
Christmas is about a manger in Bethlehem, but it’s about more than that. It’s about more than that. Remember Matthew 1:21, the angel comes to Joseph when he thinks, oh, my goodness, my wife is pregnant and it wasn’t from me. He sought to divorce her and put her away quietly. And the angel comes to tell him, no, no, no, you keep her as your wife. She will bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Even in Christmas there’s a promise about the cross. There’s a promise about the substitutionary death of Jesus.
I mentioned before Christmas comes with slogans. Just this week I was at one of our local establishments, and there was a man with his two boys walking out the door, and the lady who worked there said to him happy holidays. And he angrily grumbled back merry Christmas. And he said we can say merry Christmas now. My friends, that’s not what the holidays are all about, just being able to say certain things that we want to say.
There are better slogans. Think of the manger and the cross. What’s a better slogan. Come up with your own slogan in the next few weeks. Come up with a slogan that points to the whole work of Jesus so that someone might hear the full story of Christmas and understand it and know.
As you know, I’ve been studying about the Lord’s trial, his beating, his crucifixion. My head’s been in this for a number of months, and it happens to be Christmastime when we focus on our Lord in a manger. A lot of people like Christmas. I mean who wouldn’t like all the things that come with it. Focusing on a sweet baby in a manger and portrayals that we present of him are there’s no blood involved. There’s no crying involved. He would have cried, by the way. He was a baby, for Pete’s sake. He would have cried.
But we clean it up, and the little drummer boy’s softly playing, and the cows are softly mooing. It would not that have been a fun time for Mary and Joseph. It was a messy, loud time for Mary and Joseph. But we like it. Humble baby lying in a manger.
The slogan I keep thinking of over and over again as we think of Christmas and the cross is, I needed that baby to die. I needed that baby to die for me. And so did you. That innocent, precious child. We needed him to die as a criminal even though he was not one. That’s the full message of Christmas. Maybe that’s our new slogan. We needed that child to die. That communicates something bigger.
Here’s the good news. He did, willingly. For the joy set before him he endured the shame, the nakedness, the mockery. He endured the shame. He endured the cross. Christmas is about joy because he came, lived and died. Now that would be a sad story if weren’t for the resurrection, and we’ll get to that later. Let’s pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, you’re the only one, the only one who could save us from our sins. You’re the only one who accomplished every prophecy, the only one that kept the law perfectly. We need a Savior, and you’re him.
Father, as we have looked at what your Son went through on the cross, would you, by your Spirit, warm, encourage, draw out worship from our hearts, draw out passion from our hearts, exuberance from our hearts. Let our love and worship because of what we know, what we’ve learned today, seep out of us. Let the world know it. Let the people we’re around know why we are so happy. Joy to the world isn’t just a slogan. It’s something that our heart feels and knows.
Lord, make us preachers. Make us those who point to all that your Son has done so people wouldn’t just walk through some superficial acknowledgement about Jesus but that we could maybe be used to help explain things a little further and show how great of a substitute that little baby was for us.
Lord Jesus Christ, we praise you. Child in the manger, perfect teenager, man hanging on a cross. Thank you for dying the death that we deserve. Thank you for living again to give us hope. Lord, it seems so small, but we’ll end the morning saying we love you for that. We pray all this in your name. Amen.
More in Jesus is...
February 4, 2018John 21:20-25 | Jesus is the True Lord | Andrew Gutierrez
January 21, 2018John 21:1-14 | Jesus is Our Provider | Andrew Gutierrez
January 7, 2018John 20:24-31 | Jesus is God | Andrew Gutierrez