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What God Wants Us to See the in Cross of Christ

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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God wants us to see: 1. the devotion in Jesus' death (vs. 28). 2. the decision in Jesus' death (vs. 28-30). 3. the details of Jesus' death (vs. 31-37). 4. the declaration of Jesus' death (vs. 35).

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What God Wants Us to See the in Cross of Christ

John 19:25-37

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 27, 2018

(Revised June 22, 2020)

BACKGROUND:

*Tonight in John 19 we will take another close look at the Lord's death on the cross. God wants us to have 20/20 spiritual vision about the cross because it is the only possible way for people to be saved. And there is so much to see in the cross of Christ. Let's get started by reading John 19:25-37.

MESSAGE:

*I am one of many people who were born with bad eyes. But I didn’t know it until the first grade. It must have been discovered in a test at school. And I remember riding home with my dad after I got my first pair of glasses. I was astounded. I had no idea what I had been missing. I could read the signs! I could see the leaves on the trees. I could see!

*It’s a wonderful thing to see, but it is infinitely more important to spiritually see with the eyes of faith. God wants us to have 20/20 spiritual vision about the cross of Christ. And there is so much to see in the cross.

1. FIRST: GOD WANTS US TO SEE THE DEVOTION IN JESUS' DEATH.

*And we can see the Lord's devotion in vs. 28. Here the Bible says, "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, 'I thirst!''' This verse shows us that Jesus didn't have a bit of concern for His own comfort until His mission was fully accomplished.

[1] THAT'S BECAUSE JESUS WAS TOTALLY DEVOTED TO HIS HEAVENLY FATHER.

*John's Gospel makes this truth very clear. For example, in John 5:30 Jesus said, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I DO NOT SEEK MY OWN WILL BUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER WHO SENT ME.

*Then in John 6:35-40 Jesus said:

35. . . "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

36. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.

37. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

38. FOR I HAVE COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, NOT TO DO MY OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME.

39. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

40. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.''

*Also in John 8:26-29, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and said:

26. "I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.''

27. They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

28. Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

29. And He who sent Me is with Me. THE FATHER HAS NOT LEFT ME ALONE, FOR I ALWAYS DO THOSE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM.''

[2] THE LORD WAS TOTALLY DEVOTED TO HIS HEAVENLY FATHER, AND HE IS TOTALLY DEVOTED TO HIS FOLLOWERS.

*That's why a few hours before the cross, in John 15:13, Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

*Nobody could possibly love you more than Jesus Christ, and He wants you to know it. That is why Paul wrote a glorious prayer for Christians in Ephesians 3:14-21. And there Paul said:

14. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15. from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16. that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

17. that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

18. may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height

19. to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

21. to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

*Christians: God wants us to fully know the Lord's infinite love. And to help us get started, Paul shows us how we are already connected to the love of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 3:17, Paul speaks of us as "being rooted and grounded in love."

*Bible scholars tell us that this tense is talking about something God already did for us in the past. It's a past action performed by God that has existing and ongoing results in our lives. So as Christians, we are already firmly rooted and grounded in God's love, and God Himself did the planting. That's why in Ephesians 3:18, we are "able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height" of Christ's love.

*Paul was praying for us to more fully understand the love of Christ. So how wide is the Lord's love? -- Wide enough to reach anyone who will turn to God and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

*How long is the Lord's love? -- So long that it lasts forever! Mary Lewis explained that "God's love is forever and always. It isn't just available on Sundays. There are no regular business hours for God's love, and the love of God doesn't take holidays. This also means God's love doesn't give up on us. His love is more enduring than the Energizer bunny. It just keeps on going and going and going!" (1)

*That's the length of the Lord's love. But how deep is His love? -- Deep enough for Jesus Christ to leave His throne in Heaven, and come all the way down to earth for us; deep enough for Jesus to go all the way down to death for us, even the death of the cross. The Lord's love is so deep that He took all of the depth of our sins on Himself. That's how much He loves us!

*And how high is the Lord's love? -- For everyone who knows Jesus in a personal way, His love is so high that "it will take us all to Heaven!" So pray for us to know the width and length and depth and height of the Lord's infinite love.

*But also notice that in Ephesians 3:19 Paul prayed for us "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. . ." How can we do that? How can we "know the love of Christ which passes knowledge?"

*The answer is that Paul was not praying for us to just mentally know that God loves us. HE WAS PRAYING FOR US TO KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD'S LOVE IN A PERSONAL WAY.

*There's a big difference, and Mary Lewis used the example of water. She said, "I know that water is H2O, a combination of two molecules of Hydrogen and one molecule of Oxygen. But that doesn't do much for me on a blazing hot afternoon in August when I've worked hard outside, and my throat is so parched that when I try to swallow I just feel a dry ache.

*I could care less about H2O as a chemical formula. My understanding of water doesn't quench my thirst. My need is not for deeper insights into the meaning of water. I don't need more knowledge about water. I need water! I need a long, tall glass of water." (1)

*That's the kind of knowledge Paul prayed for in Ephesians 3 when he asked for us "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. . ." He wanted us to spiritually drink in God's love so to speak, experiencing His love by experiencing Him.

*Basically, the only way to know God's love better is to know God better, and this makes sense, because 1 John 4 tells us twice that "God IS love." And it all comes back to the cross. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, His love was fully devoted to the Heavenly Father and fully devoted to us.

2. GOD WANTS US TO SEE THE DEVOTION IN JESUS' DEATH, AND SEE THE DECISION IN HIS DEATH.

*Here in John 19:28-30, we must remember that the Lord's death was His own decision:

28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!''

29. 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.

30. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!'' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

*Jesus bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. Now, unless the Lord comes back first, all of us will also give up our spirit. But there was something unique in the case of Jesus. Death was optional for Him. The Lord's decision to die was fully in His hands, because He never actually had to die.

[1] JESUS HAD SPECIAL AUTHORITY OVER HIS DEATH.

*Death was strictly a choice for the Lord. Jesus made this truth clear back in John 10:14-18, where He said:

14. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

15. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

17. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.

18. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.''

*Death was strictly a choice for Jesus, and He chose to die for us.

[2] HE HAD SPECIAL AUTHORITY OVER HIS DEATH. BUT JESUS ALSO HAD SPECIAL ABILITY IN HIS DEATH.

*Jesus Christ was the only possible person who could ever die for our sins, because He had no sins of His own. And because Jesus is the perfectly pure, spotless Lamb of God, He could pay the full price for all of our sins.

*And that's what Jesus did on the cross. He died for all of our sins. As Wayde Wilson said, "Jesus Christ carried much more than weight of the cross. He carried the weight of the world’s sins on his shoulders. Every sin you can think of was added to the weight. Your sin was added to that weight." (2)

*Jesus died on the cross for my sins and your sins. He died for the big sins. He died for the small. He died for them all! That's why in vs. 30, He cried out: "It is finished!"

*In the original Greek, it was just one word: "Tetelestai." What does that mean? The great Bible teacher Herschel Hobbs explained that ancient documents throw great light on this word. If a loan or debt was paid off in full, the person owed wrote "tetelestai" across the bill. A deed to property was not in effect until it was dated and signed. When that was done, the clerk wrote "tetelestai" across it.

*Another example of its use was when a father sent his son on a mission. The son was not to return until he had performed the last act of the mission. When he did return from a successful mission, he cried out "Tetelestai!" to report it.

*What do these meanings say to us today? In eternity past, God the Son gave the Father a promise that He would fully pay the price for humanity's redemption. On Calvary the note was paid in full. Tetelestai! Then the Son reported His completed mission to the Father. Tetelestai!" (3)

*James Merritt explained "tetelestai" by saying: "Up to now we have studied the tragedy of the cross. Now we come to the triumph of the cross. Now we hear a shout of jubilation -- 'It is finished!' It was a cry of victory. For six hours Jesus had been the victim of sin, but now He is the victor of salvation.

-Notice that Jesus did not say, 'I am finished!' The devil thought He was finished. For a brief moment the demons in hell howled with glee.

-The Pharisees thought He was finished. They were saying, 'We will have no more problems with that Galilean troublemaker.'

-The disciples thought he was finished. They were saying, 'It was good while it lasted. We sure will miss Him.'

*But they were all wrong. Jesus was not finished He was just getting started!" Tetelestai! -- "It is finished!" -- "Paid in full." On the cross Jesus Christ chose to pay the whole debt for our sin! (4)

3. GOD WANTS US TO SEE THE DECISION IN JESUS' DEATH, AND SEE THE DETAILS OF HIS DEATH.

*In vs. 31-37, God's Word gives us two details about the Lord's death. These details might seem insignificant at first. But these two details are powerful proofs that the Bible is the miraculous Word of God.

*It is truly amazing to stop and consider how much of the Old Testament points us to this moment on the cross. Millions of sacrifices, and hundreds of prophecies point to this moment, so let's look at two of the details in vs. 31-37.

[1] FIRST GOD TELLS US ABOUT THE LORD'S UNBROKEN BONES.

*In vs. 31-33:

31. 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.

32. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.

33. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

*Bible scholars tell us that crucified men could live as long as 3 days. But the only way they could continue to breathe was to push up against the nail in their feet. And if the soldiers wanted to speed up the death, they would break the condemned men's legs, so they couldn't push up anymore. (5)

*There is a tremendous significance in the fact that the Roman soldiers did not break Jesus' legs. That's because God's command to not break the legs of sacrificial lambs goes all the way back to His Old Testament instructions for the Passover.

*God gives us the background of the Passover in the Book of Exodus. When the Lord first called Moses, God foretold that Pharaoh would resist letting the Children of Israel go, so God promised to send terrible judgments on Egypt.

*In Exodus 3:18-20, the LORD said to Moses:

18. . . . "You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, 'The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.'

19. I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand.

20. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go."

*Those wonders came in the form of ten terrible plagues that God sent on Egypt: Water turned to blood, then plagues of frogs, lice, flies, severe pestilence on their animals, boils, hail, locusts, and darkness.

*The LORD had already sent nine plagues to curse the land of Egypt, and now that last and worst plague was about to come: All of the first-born in Egypt were about to die, except those protected by the blood of the Passover lambs. So, the first Passover meal was eaten by the Jews on the night before God set His people free from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. And the LORD gave instructions to Moses and Aaron about how to get ready.

*Here is part of what God said in Exodus 12:

3. "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

5. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

7. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

12. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

13. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.'"

*Then in Exodus 12:46 the Lord also said, "In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, NOR SHALL YOU BREAK ONE OF ITS BONES." God gave that instruction to Moses about 1,400 years before Jesus was born! And every year it had been carried out to the letter by God's faithful people.

*But also notice how this detail about the Lord's unbroken bones proves the reliability of God's Word. Here in vs. 36 John said, "These things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'Not one of His bones shall be broken.'''

*John was talking about a prophecy that was written a thousand years before Jesus was born. The LORD gave this prophecy to King David, and in Psalm 34:19-20 he wrote: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken."

*This promise came out of the first Passover 400 years before David was born, and it was kept a thousand years after David died. It was a promise to prove that God is in control, that He always keeps His Word, and that we can always count on Him.

[2] GOD TELLS US ABOUT THE LORD'S UNBROKEN BONES. THEN HE TELLS US ABOUT THE LORD'S BLOOD.

*John 19:34 says, "One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out."

*This verse also takes us back to the first Passover. Again from Exodus 12:5-7, here is what the LORD said about the Passover lambs:

5. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

6. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

7. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.

*Then in Exodus 12:13 the LORD said, "The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."

*Passover was a night of terror, screams and death for those on the outside. But it was a night of worship, thanksgiving and salvation for every home covered by the blood. As one preacher said: "The family inside could not see the blood. But they had faith that God would save them because of the blood." (6)

*In Exodus 12:14 the LORD also said this about the Passover: "This day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance."

*Only the LORD knows how many lambs were slain over the next 1,400 years, but 2 Chronicles 7:5 tells us that on the day when King Solomon dedicated the Temple, on that day alone, King Solomon offered 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep!

*Millions of lambs were sacrificed in Old Testament times. And every one of those lambs pointed to another lamb: The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who was hanging on the cross here in John 19. "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!" (7)

*This detail about the Lord's blood also proves the reliability of God's Word. John 19:37 tells us that "another Scripture says, 'They shall look on Him whom they pierced.'''

*About 500 years after David died, the LORD gave this prophecy to Zechariah. In Zechariah 12:10, the LORD said, "I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; THEN THEY WILL LOOK ON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn."

*Twenty-five more centuries have now gone by, and we can still count on God's Word! We can always count on the Word of God. Our hope and our assurance are right here in the Book! And we can always count on Jesus Christ, the ONE who was pierced for our sins!

4. THAT'S WHY GOD WANTS US TO SEE THE DETAILS OF JESUS' DEATH, AND SEE THE DECLARATION OF HIS DEATH.

*This is the Apostle John's testimony in vs. 35 where he said, "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."

*Notice John's vantage point: John was there! He saw it all. He knew for sure that these things were true. Also notice John's vital purpose: "That you may believe."

CONCLUSION:

*Now, by the witness of faithful people like John, by the witness of God's Holy Spirit, and by the witness of God's Holy Word, we can be just as sure as John was! So put your trust in our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

(1) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Four Dimensional Love" by Mary Lewis - Ephesians 3:14-19

(2) SermonCentral.com sermon "The Wounded Warrior" by Wayde Wilson - Isaiah 53:3-5

(3) Herschel H. Hobbs, MY FAVORITE ILLUSTRATIONS - Nashville: Broadman Press, 1990 - Source: Dynamic Illustrations - Apr May June 2001

(4) Sermons.com sermon "Don't Sweat the Sin Debt" by James Merritt - John 19:1-16

(5) Adapted from SermonCentral.com sermon "Jesus is Alive – True or False?" by Lee Strobel - Matthew 28:1-20

(6) Original source unknown

(7) "What Can Wash Away My Sin" Lyrics and Music by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899

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