Tuesday, December 16, 2014

John 19:17-30

Cowardly Pilate refused to intervene against injustice, and with the whole of history watching, condemned Jesus to die. Those who wanted to kill Jesus from the earliest chapters of the story had finally found a henchman to carry out their loathsome deed. It had cost them nothing but peer pressure, but it cost Jesus His life.
In this moment the desperate situation of humanity was revealed. The closest followers of Jesus had disappeared under the oppression of the evening. The religious leaders had partaken in deception to secure the execution of an innocent man. The political leader, placed as God’s minister for justice, had knowingly carried out injustice to appease a mob. In this scene humanity was revealed in its truest measure, broken and fallen.
The necessity of a Savior was apparent. The Savior that the masses wanted was one who would liberate them from the oppression of a Roman regime. The injustice of the religious leaders revealed that any liberation from Rome would have simply resulted in a different kind of tyranny. What the condition of every heart indicated, wasn’t the need for a political Savior, rather, everyone, the whole world, needed a Savior to come and save them from their own sin and the penalty of God’s wrath that it precipitated.
The sins at the crucifixion were not isolated maladies. No, they were symptoms of the greater infection that goes to the very marrow of humanity. By heredity, and by choice, all are sinners. The cross simply exposed in each character what was already latent in their hearts.
John set the stage for this perfectly. From the first chapter of his book, we learn that the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world” was already here. As the evil men raged with murderous hatred, they perfectly carried out the Divine plan that was the only hope for their own salvation. This Sovereign plan that came from the mind of God and spanned the millennia of human history was now being fulfilled. If they stayed their vehement blasphemies they would notice that they did not need to drag Jesus to the cross, He had been walking there willingly. Blinded with hatred, they failed to realize that He had delivered Himself to die.
He had come to save mankind. He was truly Savior. It would be through His death that He would accomplish forgiveness of sins for mankind. Access to God would finally be a reality for all who would believe in Him. Jesus had come to fix what Adam had broken. It was a humiliating work as He was shoved down the path called Gabbatha to a hill called Golgotha. There he was stripped of His clothes and nailed to the cross. This moment of shame was why the Son of God had come to earth. Loving, caring, gentle, dying Jesus hung bleeding on a cross.
But it was more than nails and whips that bruised Jesus. In His offering Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, Jesus received the wrath of God on Himself. God’s righteous judgment of sin was poured out on Jesus. Whereas, before, all who died in their sins faced the wrath of God for sin, now Jesus was taking that wrath on Himself and offering forgiveness of sins to those who would come in faith.
“It is finished.” 
These were His words as He bowed His head and died. The work was finished. He had completed what He had come to accomplish. Now, salvation could be had. Sins could be forgiven. For the first time in the history of mankind, hope was fulfilled. Jesus had come, and now He offered salvation to all those who would come in faith to Him.

Food For Thought: What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished.”?