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John 19

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.  ‭‭John‬ ‭19:1-3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The forgiveness that God extends to each of us is unconditional and without limits.  These verses set the stage for a scene of miraculous and supernatural forgiveness.  As you read these painful verses, and the other accounts that describe the beatings and agonizing crucifixion that Jesus endured, try to picture how you would feel towards those people that were mocking and murdering you.  In Luke 23:34 it is recorded that in response to all that was being done to Him, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”  This is such a superb example of what denying the flesh really means.  When people are inflicting pain upon us or our loved ones, our flesh will always want revenge.  But as followers of Christ, we are called to love and forgive instead, no matter how hard it is!  Jesus explains the harsh truth behind forgiveness: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  If you are holding on to any unforgiveness in your heart today, try walking through the following steps:

  1. Acknowledge what happened to you and what it cost you.  Once you have accepted and identified what you lost, you can more easily let it go.  Ask God for help in letting it go.
  2. Grieve your loss.  It’s okay to be angry and sad when you are wronged.  Don’t minimize what happened, and vent if you need to.  Write it out in a journal or talk it out with a trusted friend.  
  3. Understand the consequences of revenge and vengeance.  Revenge or vengeance ultimately hurts you more than anyone. It keeps you trapped in a vicious cycle and keeps you focused on the offense instead of being able to let it go. 
  4. Try to understand the other person’s viewpoint.  This doesn’t mean that you excuse the person for their wrongdoing, but maybe understanding why he/she did it could shed some healing light on the situation.  For example, sometimes people lash out at others because they are hurting or in pain themselves.  Ask God to help you to understand the other person better and to help you to show love and mercy even if you don’t feel like it.  
  5. Truthfully evaluate your response.  Did you act in love?  Did you do what Jesus would have done?  Did you choose words that you would have said in front of your Heavenly Father?  Pray for wisdom to see what part of the situation is your responsibility and ask God how He wants you to learn and grow from this conflict.
  6. Have a godly perspective.  Forgiveness is not only required of you, but it is for your own benefit.  Forgiving others does not mean that they are right, otherwise you wouldn’t need to forgive them!  In addition, remember that they don’t have to admit they are wrong in order for you to forgive them.  

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” John‬ ‭19:10-11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬. Jesus made it clear who was in control during His trial.  It was not Pilate, the Jewish masses or the religious leaders.  Jesus has always been, and always will be, the One who determines what happens in this world.  “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).  Then why did Jesus allow Himself to go through such pain, suffering, and humiliation?  Our Holy God cannot let sin go unpunished, and God’s consequence for sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  Without Jesus’ sacrifice, we would all be left to bear our own sins and be punished in the flames of hell.  But God’s perfect plan to save us all came through His Son, the only One able to fulfill the requirement of being a perfect, sinless sacrifice.  “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  As if that wasn’t enough, He also created a way for billions of people to have a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Trust in the amazing blessings that come from truly knowing Jesus and following His ways. No matter what you are going through in life right now, rest in the fact that God is in control of everything, and that He always acts out of His immense love for us: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” (Psalms 22:18) Therefore the soldiers did these things. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. (Psalms 69:21) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” (Psalms 34:20) And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10) After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.  ‭‭John‬ ‭19:23-42‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ Jesus fulfilled approximately 353 Old Testament prophecies, which were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born and by various authors.  Some prophecies even contained very specific details.  These prophecies predicted how the Son of God would be born, what He would do while on Earth, as well as details of the way in which He would die.  John 19 contains several examples of these prophecies coming true through Jesus.  

1. John 19:23-24 fulfills Psalms 22:18: “They divide My clothes among them and cast lots for My garment.”

2. John 19:28-29 fulfills Psalms 69:21: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”

3. John 19:31-37 is the fulfillment of Psalms 34:20: “He protects all His bones, not one of them will be broken”, and Zechariah 12:10: “…They will look on Me, the One they have pierced….”

4. John 19:38-42 is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.”

The Old Testament was written between approximately 1400 BC and 450 BC. During that time, many predictions of the future were recorded by God’s prophets. These predictions comprise several of the books of the Old Testament.  The fascinating and amazing part of studying Biblical prophecy is that not one of the prophecies about Jesus has yet to be proven wrong.  No other “sacred writing” has such perfectly accurate predictions of the future.  This should help your confidence in believing that Jesus truly is the Son of God, as well as building your absolute trust in God’s Word.  It should also make you even more excited about the fact that you are a follower of Christ, and facilitate the growth of your faith!  In case you are a numbers person, here are some incredible statistics: The odds of one person being able to fulfill even 8 prophecies are at least 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.  That’s equivalent to filling the state of Texas 2 feet deep with silver dollars and asking someone to pick a specific coin in one try.  The odds of one person fulfilling 48 prophecies are 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power.  For one person to fulfill 353 prophecies: Only Jesus!

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.  ‭‭John‬ ‭19:30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ What did Jesus mean when He said “Tetelestai,” which is translated into the phrase “It is finished”?  The word tetelestai was written on business documents or receipts in New Testament times to indicate that a bill had been paid in full.  This phrase signifies that something has come to an end, and that it has been completed, perfected, and accomplished entirely.  Jesus used this word right before He died to tell the world that the debt we owe for our sins is paid in full.  This means that there is nothing we have to pay, work at, accomplish, or sacrifice in order to be saved.  Jesus willingly took on the burden of our sins in order to save the world.  So what are we expected to do?  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household” (Acts 16:31).  “Tetelestai,” Jesus’ last word, was incredibly important.  It signified the end of His earthly mission and ministry, and fulfillment of His godly purpose.  This single word turned this apparent tragedy and failure into a scene of victory that shook the earth, split rocks, caused darkness to fall during the day, raised saints from the dead, and tore away the temple curtain that kept people out of the Holy of Holies.  “Tetelestai” could be the most powerful, life-changing word in history. 

Make every day you are given be about honoring, remembering, and appreciating the incomparable and invaluable sacrifice your Savior made for you.

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