John 19:19-27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 16, 1997

Jesus on the cross

We've watched as Jesus has been rejected by the very people He came to save.

He's been turned over to the Romans to be crucified.

This week we want to look at part of that period of six hours where Jesus hung on the cross, the events that took place around it, all within the context of John 19:19-27.

Each of the gospels records it's own set of details, from the things that the writers' witnessed, and when we put them together, we can have a broader view of what occurred on the cross.

We're going to look at, among other things, four of the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross.

Since we're trying to piece together details from four different writers, it's possible that a few things may be out of sequence, but we'll do our best.

Synchronize your watches!

John recorded that all the scourging and sentencing were done by 6:00 a.m. (John 19:14, the sixth hour in Roman Standard Time is counted from midnight)

Mark records that it was three hours later that the band of soldiers, along with the accompanying crowd, crucified three men at 9:00 a.m. (Mark 15:25, the third hour in Jewish Standard Time is counted from six in the morning, sunrise).

:19-22 The Title

:19 Pilate wrote a title

We mentioned last week that part of the events at a crucifixion was making a sign, writing on a tablet or a slate the accused person's crimes, so all would see what kind of horrible crime brought such a horrible death.

It was called a titulus, exactly what's written here.

Lesson:

Your slate is clean.

You too have a titulus written against you. Or, rather, had

Col. 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

When Jesus died on the cross, in a sense He was taking the titulus written in heaven against us, and He erased it, having had it nailed to His own cross.

:19 JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS

Pilate may have meant this in a sarcastic way.

But it's absolutely true.

Jesus is being crucified for being exactly what He is, the King of the Jews.

:20 nigh to the city

Though it was outside the city gates, the place of crucifixion wasn't too far away.

Crucifixion was meant to be a public deterrent to crime.

It was done in a place where lots of people could see it happening.

:20 Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

Latin was the language of the Romans, Hebrew was the language of the Jews, and Greek was the language of the rest of the world.

This title of Jesus was written for ALL people to read.

Lesson:

Jesus didn't die just for Jews.

He came to die for the sins of the world.

:21 but that he said,

The chief priests are a little uncomfortable with the way Pilate has phrased it.

They don't want it written that He WAS the King of the Jews, but only that He SAID He was the King of the Jews.

Time Synchronization - a final "word"

It's somewhere at this point, that Jesus speaks for the first time from the cross.

Last Word #1:

Forgiveness.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Jesus has been beaten, mocked, and crucified.

And He responds with forgiveness. Without even being asked for it.

Lesson:

Forgive like Jesus.

I think that one of the greatest issues we face as humans is the issue of forgiveness.

Many people are struggling because they haven't yet received God's forgiveness.

Others struggle because they won't forgive those that hurt them.

I often have it said to me, "But I'm not Jesus, I just can't forgive like that".

God must think you can. He commands you to.

Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Steven learned how to forgive, look what he prayed as he was being stoned to death:

(Acts 7:60 KJV) And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Some of you have been greatly hurt by another person.

Perhaps they've said something cruel that hurt your feelings.

Perhaps they've said something behind your back, stabbing you with their gossip.

Jesus asks you to forgive them.

We sometimes want them to grovel in the dust, weeping and kissing our toes before we'll consider it.

But there He hangs on the cross, and without them even asking for it, He forgives them.

Illustration

When Leonardo da Vinci was painting the Last Supper, he had an intense, bitter argument with a fellow painter. Leonardo was so enraged that he decided to paint the face of his enemy into the face of Judas. That way the hated painter's face would be preserved for ages in the face of the betraying disciple. When Leonardo finished Judas, everyone easily recognized the face of the painter with whom Leonardo quarreled.

Leonardo continued to work on the painting. But as much as he tried, he could not paint the face of Christ. Something was holding him back.

Leonardo decided his hatred toward his fellow painter was the problem. So he worked through his hatred by repainting Judas' face, replacing the image of his fellow painter with another face. Only then was he able to paint Jesus' face and complete the masterpiece.

Lesson:

Don't be an "Indian forgiver" (apologies to any Indians)

I think sometimes we don't take this term "forgiveness" too seriously.

The Greek word for "forgive" (aphiemi) means "to send away; to let go"; even "to abandon".

It's the idea of abandoning the issue, putting it behind you.

It means that you give up all claim to it.

It means that you can't bring it up anymore, at least not the incident that you forgave.

It means you can't say things like, "Well, you always do this!"

It means that you can't use it against the person anymore.

If you're still bothered by it, perhaps it isn't forgiven.

Illustration

Amy Carmichael writes: "If I say, yes I forgive, but I cannot forget as though the God who twice a day washed all the sands on all the shores of all the world could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love. If the living God who made the tide and washes the shores daily cannot wash away from my mind the caustic remarks, the ugliness, the wrongs in someone else then I haven't even entered into Calvary love."

:23-24 Casting lots for the garments

:23 took his garments

Part of the pay that a soldier on execution duty would receive was in the dividing up of a criminal's belongings, including clothing.

:23 made four parts

The four pieces would be the head gear, the sandals, the girdle, the tallith (outer garment with fringes).

This tells us that there were four soldiers on execution detail that day, besides the centurion in charge.

:23 also his coat

chiton - a tunic, an undergarment, usually worn next to the skin.

:23 the coat was without seam

The garment had more value whole than in pieces.

:24 that the scripture might be fulfilled

Again, for anyone paying attention, another ancient prophecy has been fulfilled, this one from King David himself:

(Psa 22:18 KJV) They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

It's fascinating to think that here are pagan, Roman executioners, unknowingly fulfilling ancient Hebrew prophecy.

Time Synchronization - the second "word"

It's somewhere around this time that the next event takes place. We need to take the camera up to the level of the faces of the three crucified men.

Last Word #2:

Paradise

Luke 23:39-43 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. {40} But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? {41} And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. {42} And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. {43} And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Lesson:

It's never too late.

Here's a man who may have never done a good thing in his life.

All he did was to cry out to Jesus for help.

And that's all that you have to do.

God loves you so much that He has completely paid for your ticket to heaven, and all you have to do is to receive it.

(John 1:12 KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Time synchronization:

Luke tells us that this part with the thief took place at the sixth hour (Jewish time, at noon), and there followed three hours of darkness.

This next scene takes place somewhere between noon and 3:00 p.m.

:25-27 Taking care of Mary

:25 his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

There's some disagreement as to whether John is mentioning three women or four.

The question is whether John is saying that Jesus' mother's sister was Mary the wife of Cleophas, or whether they are two separate individuals.

The wording could be understood either way.

Either way, we see several women standing around the cross.

Jesus' own mother, Mary.

This other Mary, the wife of a man named Cleophas, who may be the sister, or sister-in-law of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Mary Magdalene, a woman from the town of Magdala, who Jesus cast seven devils out of (Luke 8:2).

Other than the apostle John, we aren't told that any of other disciples were actually at the crucifixion.

The evidence leans in the direction of them all abandoning Jesus and hiding.

All except the women.

I think some of us could learn a little from the ladies in the church.

:26 the disciple standing by, whom he loved

This is John's way of referring to himself.

:26 Woman, behold thy son!

Last Word #3:

Mary

What's Jesus doing here?

He's pointing his mom towards John, and telling John to take care of His mother.

Lesson:

Take care of your family.

Paul wrote to Timothy:

1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Paul is writing this in reference to taking care of family members who have no means of support, as a widow would be.

For us, it might refer to taking care of our parents when they can't take care of themselves any more.

It's our responsibility.

And here is Jesus, at the last moments of His life, making sure His mother is going to be cared for.

Lesson:

Always thinking of others

If I were on the cross, I would be trying to make sure that everybody knew how much pain I was in.

I think I'd be asking for the Advil or something.

But Jesus is thinking of taking care of His mother.

Paul wrote:

(Phil 2:4 NASB) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Sometimes we're told we ought to stick up for ourselves.

But I see Jesus sticking up for someone else.

Illustration

A plane crashed and burned on a runway in Philadelphia. The hostess was Mary Frances Hausley. She stood at the door assisting passengers to safety. When she thought all were safe, she heard a woman screaming, "My baby, my baby!" With this prompting she returned to the flaming plane, never to be seen again. When the burned wreckage was unsnarled, Miss Hausley's body was found draped over the child she tried to save. The caption of Time's story read, "She Could Have Jumped."

Time Synchronization - the fourth "word"

Jesus has now been on the cross for six hours. It's 3:00 in the afternoon, and just before John records that Jesus says "I thirst", Jesus speaks again:

Mat 27:46-49 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? {47} Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. {48} And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. {49} The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

Some misunderstand what's being said, and think Jesus is calling for Elijah.

Last Word #4:

Forsaken

There are two things taking place here.

1. Jesus is bearing our sins.

It's our sin that separates us from God.

And the whole heart of the gospel is this:

(2 Cor 5:21 KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Having been intimate with the Father from before time began, Jesus is now experiencing the weight of our sins coming between Him and the Father.

I think we can focus a lot on the physical pain that Jesus endured on the cross, but I wonder if it was really all that bad compared to the spiritual emptiness He now began to experience as He bore our sins.

2. He's giving us a clue.

Jewish song leaders didn't have page numbers to refer to, or "hymn numbers" to prompt the people for the next song. They didn't even have overheads!

Instead, a song leader would refer to a Psalm by its first line.

Jesus just happens to be quoting the first line of a Messianic Psalm:

Psa 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

Read a little further

Psa 22:14-18 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. {15} My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. {16} For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. {17} I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. {18} They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

David wrote this hundreds of years before the Persians even invented crucifixion.

And this was not anything that David ever experienced himself. He is speaking prophetically of someone else.