16. Jesus The Dying King
Isaiah 52:13-14: See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—
Isaiah 53:10-11: Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Isaiah, centuries before Jesus’ birth, was speaking about Jesus. As we look together briefly at John 19, correlate the two passages and see how they interlink!
1. What of Jesus?
a. Jesus was Condemned
Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:s. 1-3). Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus’ refusal to answer stung Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19:10). Jesus, however, corrected Pilate’s idea of authority and told him that although Pilate may have power on earth, his power did reach beyond earth (John 19:11). Jesus knew that his work of bring people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor. Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice. Jesus was the true Passover lamb.
b. Jesus was Crucified
Jesus, bearing his own cross, was killed as a common criminal (John 19:17). Pilate was responsible for fixing the sign “The King of the Jews” (John 19:21-22). Clothes of condemned men were given to soldiers on duty (John 19:23).
Jesus showed concern for his mother, even when he himself was in agony, committing her to the Apostle John (John 19:s.26-27).
The crucifixion site “was purposely chosen to be outside the city walls because the Law forbade such within the city walls… for sanitary reasons… the crucified body was sometimes left to rot on the cross and serve as a disgrace, a convincing warning and deterrent to passers-by.”
Jesus’ final moments – “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28) and “It is finished.” (John 19:30).
The desire of the Jews (John 19:32) to fulfil their rituals was important because the Sabbath fell within the Passover festival. The breaking of legs (John 19:s.32-33) speeded up the process of death. The piercing of Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water proved Jesus was really dead (John 19:34).
c. Jesus was Buried
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus. The significance of “in which no-one had ever been laid” (John 19:41) is to demonstrate that the body of Jesus at no point came into contact with the decay of a dead body.
2. What Has Jesus’ Death Done For All Mankind?
- Our natural state – Romans 3:23 – (We are all sinners).
- Forgiveness – Ephesians 1:7 – (God forgives our sins).
- Peace – Romans 5:1 – (We have peace with God).
- Reconciled us to God – 2 Corinthians 5:19 – (No longer enemies with God).
- Justified us – Romans 3:24-26 – (Makes us just before God).
- Cleanses us from sin – 1 John 1:7
- Makes us right before God – 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Gives us direct access to God – Ephesians 2:18
- Freedom from the power of slavery to sin – Galatians 5:1
- Freedom from the power of the devil – Hebrews 2: 14
- Gives us Christ’s intercession – Hebrews 2:17-18
None of the above things apply to those who do not follow Jesus.
3. Why did Jesus go to the cross?
3a The problem!
Sin is what separates humans from God and as a consequence leads to both a spiritual and physical death (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 59:2). In the Old Testament, sins were dealt with by blood sacrifices of atonement as coverings for sin (Leviticus 17:11), for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). A blood sacrifice is God's way of dealing with sin. These blood sacrifices of the Old Testament signified several things:
- It provided a covering for sin.
- It showed the great cost of sin.
- It was an exchange or substitution.
- It was only always going to be a temporary measure, as it pointed forward to Jesus' death
3b. The Solution!
The solution lies not in continual animal sacrifice of the Old Testament because Hebrews 10:4 reminds us that the blood of animals cannot take away sin but was only a veneer or covering. That was why it was necessary to repeat time and time again! It is only through the death of Jesus, that sin is taken away (Hebrews 9:v11-15, 26-28), because Jesus is our permanent sacrificial substitute!
Jesus died for our sin, the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). That is how God is both just and the justifier of sinners. That is why Jesus needed to be both fully God and fully human! If he lacked either, it would not be the full substitutionary sacrifice that was necessary to bear the permanent consequences of sin! When Jesus died on the cross, in our place, he bore the consequences of all sin – past, present and future. He therefore became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and it was His precious blood as a lamb without spot or blemish (1Peter 1:18-19) that fulfils God’s requirements permanently.
Towards sin and sinful behaviour, God has great fury, anger and wrath (Jeremiah 21:5). Yet as Micah 7:18 “He is slow to anger and quick to forgive”. Propitiation basically means the turning aside of God's anger by the offering of the sacrifice of Christ. God's anger and judgment of sin falls on Christ, instead of us. We need to approach God to appease his anger, in order to accept it (Romans 3:25; Isaiah 53:5; John 2:2, 5:6).
1 John 2:2: He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:10: This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice (or propitiation) to take away our sins.
3e. Redemption (Ransom) Mark 10:45
Not only was it propitiation, but also an act of redemption! In the time of the New Testament, this word was used to refer to the buying back of a slave - the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom. God paid redemption so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was paid (1 Peter 1:18-19) and so we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But it is our responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – he leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals.
What is our response to this to be? Sacrifice, substitution, propitiation and redemption can be summed up in one word: love. For 1 John 3:16 states: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” Jesus told us to take up our cross if we are to follow Him as his Disciple (Luke 9:23). Are you as a Christian Disciple willing to take up your cross and do all you can do to love others?
Price to pay for true followers and disciples:
- We must surrender completely to him
- We must identify with him in suffering and death
- We must follow him obediently, wherever he leads.
For more to think about please do read John 18-19. Ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. In the light of Jesus teaching about suffering under persecution, how far am I prepared to go as his disciple?
Q2. Why was it necessary that Jesus be both fully human and fully God?
Q3. How is Jesus a king and how does that affect my relationship with him?