Monday, September 09, 2013

Jesus was Crucified (Jn. 19:10-27)

Passage: John 19:10-27

When Pilate judged Jesus, it was a sinner taking the place of a judge to sentence Christ.  However, his judgement has no foundation.  Jesus was not humiliated when He stood before human judgement.  Rather, sinners’ sin and ignorance were exposed. 

At the last moment before Jesus’ crucifixion  Pilate asked, “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” (Jn. 19:10)

We ought not be afraid of people who threaten us as their words have no foundation.  The Church will not disappear because of persecution.  Those who rely on God Jehovah are like mount Zion which cannot be shaken.  When people say bad things about us, we get easily angry. Our response exposes our shallow spirituality.  They are unworthy of a response.  When Christ was on earth, He exposed what was in human heart.  Before Christ nobody can hide himself.

In response to Pilate, Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (v.11)

This is the most confronting statement Pilate ever heard.  Ironically it came from a man under his judgement.  From being active, he became passive.  Jesus said Pilate had no right or authority at all.  At the moment when He was treated like a criminal, He stood steadfast, fearless, and spoke the truth. 

Jewish law had a provision to stone a blasphemer to death.  But the Pharisees did not want to kill Jesus directly because they were afraid the crowd would rise up against them.  So they borrowed Roman sword to kill Him.  In this way, they played safe.  Pontius Pilate did not want to kill Jesus but he dared not defy the people’s will.  Thrice Pilate said he found no guilt in Jesus.  But Pilate was trapped by many political interests which prevented him from doing the right thing.  Religious and political hypocrisy was shown in human culture. 

A true Christian sees the sovereignty of God even in most dangerous situation and knows that all human power has no authority over him.  God has given each ruler his authority and He takes away their authority when their time is up. 

Romans 13 teaches that all authority comes from God so we need to submit to authority.  Government likes this verse.  However, we need to first recognise from this verse that God’s authority is higher than all authority.  God’s will is higher than men’s will.  Government should rule us according to the will of God.  When government goes against the will of God, we should obey God.  We need to recognise this otherwise we go against the truth of God and think that we are doing His will.  Secondly, government should fear God or they are not ready to rule.  Thirdly, governments need to fulfil their duty or God will remove their authority.

After Pilate judged Jesus, he delivered Jesus to the Jews to be crucified.  He even washed his hands to signify it was none of his fault.  This is the biggest irony.  The function of the court is to execute righteousness and justice.  But the most unjust thing often happen in high court.  The biggest sin ever committed is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a sinless man.

Pilate said, “Shall I crucify your king?”  The chief priests even said they had no king but Caesar.  (v.15)  This is remarkable given they were the people of God whose king was God.

None of us can escape being exposed before God.  Jesus is the most important person in history.  Those who opposed him, criticised him, were exposing themselves.  When you rebuke and scolding people you think you are exposing them but in reality you are exposing yourself.  Many people do not realise this. 

He did not retaliated when insulted.  Like a lamb, He was slaughtered.  “Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.” (v.17-18)

Jesus was in the middle because He was considered the worst criminal.  He represented all sinners.  He took the burden of the sinners of the world.  All three died, representing three types of death in humanity.  The unrepentant robber died in sin, the repentant robber died to sin, and Jesus died for sin.  Because of the death of Christ, sin no longer had a hold on us.  So long as our death is in Christ, death no longer has victory over us.  John Owen said the death of Christ put all deaths to death.  He was punished so that we could have peace, He was cursed so that we receive blessing, and He was judged so that we receive forgiveness of sins.

Pilate put a notice “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  (v.19-20).  This way Pilate claimed to have sentenced the king of the Jews.  It was written in Latin because it was Roman’s official language, it was written in Greek because it is the common language of intellectual, it was also written in Aramaic for the Jews.  The purpose is to humiliate the Israelites.  This way he comforted himself that he had put the King of the Jews to death by his power.  Thus the chief priests protested but Pilate refused to change the notice. (v.21-22)

Jesus suffered as prophesied in the Scripture, including the casting of lot for His garment (v.23-24).   

Four women were watching as Jesus suffered: Jesus’ mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene (v.25).  And one disciple was there, John.  John referred to himself as “the disciple whom He loved” as he truly felt the love of Christ.  Where were the rest of the disciples?  The Bible did not record.  They had wrong motives when following Jesus.  They thought they would have a better prospect.  They did not realise they would suffer.  They were disappointed when they suffered.  If you follow Jesus with wrong motives, how can you withstand the sight of Jesus crucified?

John watched Jesus as He walked to the cross and was crucified.  Jesus’ mother experienced sword piercing her heart as the angel prophesied.  It is a painful tragedy for a mother to watch her own son die.  As Jesus hung the cross, He said, “Woman, here is your son” and to the disciple, “Behold your mother.” (v.26) The Bible said from that day on John took Mary home and took care of her.  What about Mary’s other sons?  Did they not take care of Mary?  The Bible did not record but tradition said Mary stayed with John.  There are people closer to you than your blood.


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