Monday, October 8, 2012

John 19:31-42

Proving the death of Jesus would be crucial to the power of the Resurrection. Had Christ not died, but merely passed out on the cross, then just woke up three days later, the sacrifice would not have been made and we would still be dead in our sin. So, these final verses in John 20 are crucial.

With the Sabbath approaching, the Jewish leaders wished to get finish this execution and have the bodies removed. So they asked that the legs of the thieves and Jesus be broken to hasten their deaths. With broken legs, they would be unable to push up to get a breath. The soldiers indeed broke the legs of the thieves, but not Jesus‘ legs:

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (John 19:34-37)

Notice that John insists that this is a true testimony, his eyewitness testimony, given so that you may believe.

Then, two respected Jewish religious leaders, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, appeared, risking their status and reputations, to take care of the burial of Jesus. They wrapped Jesus’ body in linen and spices (weighing 75 pounds). They laid Him in a new tomb.

Jon Courson points out here that on the Jewish holy day - Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement - the high priest took off his priestly robes and put on a robe of linen (like the linen that wrapped Jesus) and went into the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. If the priest had gone in while defiled himself, he would instantly die, so he went in with a rope tied around his waist, so he could be pulled out if necessary! If he came out alive, then the people rejoiced, because they knew the sacrifice had been accepted and they were forgiven for another year.

Courson writes, “Here, our great High Priest, Jesus Christ, is inside the tomb. Would He emerge? Did the sacrifice work? Are we free? Only if He came out among the people as He had prophesied could there truly be celebration and could we know that our sins are forgiven - not just for one year, but forever.” (Courson, Application Commentary: New Testament, P. 590)

Tomorrow we will visit the tomb with Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John. I can’t wait!  

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