13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It is finished. The plan to save his people that God had set in motion from the moment of the Fall has reached its climax as Jesus breathes his last on the cross.
This moment was a long time coming and the story of God’s rescue is the story of the Old Testament. From the promises God made to Abraham that he will bless the whole world through his descendants, to the promise to David that there will be a king from his line that will rule forever. Throughout the Psalms and the Prophets, God’s messengers consistently talked about a redeemer, coming to put things right between people and God. He would be God’s son and he would be a king who would rule forever. He would be victorious and be glorified.
In Jesus’ ministry, more and more people came to believe Jesus was this redeemer, also called Messiah, or Christ. They expected a victorious hero. But Jesus told those around him that his hour had not yet come, and John repeats many times that though officials tried to arrest Jesus, though the people tried to seize him, they were not able to, because Jesus’ time had not yet come.
The closer he got to Jerusalem, the closer the hour drew for him to be glorified. Yet as Jesus prayed in John 17, beginning by declaring that the hour had come, he was not light hearted. This was not going to be an easy victory.
Because now, in John 19:13-30 as he hung on a cross, he did not look victorious and glorified. He looked defeated. But he knew that everything had been done, everything that needed to be fulfilled had been. He had done it – he had saved humanity who had resisted salvation at every point. He gave up his spirit, knowing he would soon be glorified.
Head: Can you remember other times throughout John that Jesus had talked about his hour or his time coming? What does it add to the narrative of John’s Gospel?
Heart: Do you ever wish Jesus looked a little more like a conquering hero? Does the cross and the gospel seem foolish or weak to you?
Hands: Knowing we don’t have to work or earn our salvation gives us a wonderful freedom from trying to be worthy of it ourselves. It gives us permission to focus on others and not ourselves. How are you going to use that freedom today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for how you work throughout time and history, and that you have had every piece of the salvation plan in your hands. Thank you that though Jesus died, you raised him and glorified him, and granted me salvation.
Help me today to remember I am freed from the burden of trying to earn my own salvation. Please let that freedom empower me to go and willingly tell others of the forgiveness and grace found in Jesus.
By the power of your Spirit,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Man of Sorrows https://open.spotify.com/track/7kRc5L0VqfA2q8DCcyBgsZ