1. Read 16b-18; Isa 53:7. Where was Jesus taken to be crucified? What does it mean to be crucified? What underscores the pain and shame of crucifixion? What does it mean to us that he bore this shame and pain?
2. Read 19-22. How did Pilate state his conviction about Jesus? Why did he write it in several languages? Why were the Jews angry? Why did Pilate refuse to change what he had written?
3. Read 23-24. What did the soldiers do? What occupied their hearts? How did the writer view their actions? (24; Ps 22:18)
5. Read 25-27. Who were the good people who stood near the cross? How did Jesus help his mother? What can we learn here about Jesus' humanity? What can we learn from Jesus about the cost and priceless value of obedience to God's will? (Heb 5:8,9)
* The Death of Jesus (28-37)
6. Read verse 28-30. When and why did Jesus say, "I am thirsty"? What did he say after drinking the vinegar? (29-30) What was finished? What can we learn from him?
7. Read verses 31-37. Why did the soldiers break the legs of the other two men on the crosses? Why did they not break Jesus' legs? What did they do? What is the testimony of John? (See scripture in footnote?) What is the purpose of his testimony? (compare Jn 20:31)
8. Think about the meaning of Jesus' shed blood. (Jn 1:29; 1Jn 1:7)
* the Burial of Jesus (38-42)
9. Who were the men who buried Jesus? What information is given about Joseph? How was he changed by Jesus' crucifixion? Find Nicodemus' previous appearances in this gospel. What did he now contribute to Jesus' burial? How was he changed by Jesus on the cross?
"When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
Today's passage is about Jesus' crucifixion, death and burial. Humanly speaking, it is a tragic story. But from God’s point of view, it is the climax of God’s great redemptive work. Through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross we have forgiveness of sin. His death opens the way for sinners to come back to God. His resurrection is God’s victory over sin and death. Through his death and resurrection we have new birth into the kingdom of heaven. John identified himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He must have been in great emotional turmoil as he stood at the foot of the cross and watched the life blood flow out of the wounded hands and feet of Jesus whom he loved. But John’s record of Jesus’ death is restrained and factual. He shows how Jesus’ death fulfills scripture. God was in control. He was working out his own sovereign plan for world redemption.
I. The King of the Jews (16b-27)
First, Golgotha (16b-18). Pilate, the Roman governor, handed Jesus over to be crucified (16a). The soldiers took charge. Jesus carried his own cross to the place of he Skull, Golgotha. They crucified him between two criminals. Jesus, the Son of God, hung there naked, between two criminals, exposed to the eyes of the world. He was Son of God and Lamb of God. In John 1:29 John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." He filled the sacrificial system with meaning. He bore our sin and he bore our shame. I am the one who must carry my sins and bear my shame, but Jesus bore it all.
Second, "What I have written, I have written" (19-24). Pilate had been defeated by the Jews who demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. He had talked with Jesus and he knew that Jesus was innocent. He had the last word. He prepared a notice and fastened it to the cross. The notice said, “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” Pilate believed that Jesus was a true king. This was his confession of faith. It was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The world could read it. Pilate expressed not only his conviction about Jesus but also his contempt for the Jewish leaders. Of course they didn’t like it. They wanted this sign to read, “He claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate refused to change it. He said, “What I have written, I have written.”
Third, “This is what the soldiers did.” Jesus hung on the cross in agony. The heartless soldiers only thought about who would get his clothes. They reveal fallen man’s mentality–selfish, materialistic and heartless. And they unwittingly fulfilled the words of prophecy in Psalm 22, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Fourth, Faithful women (25-27). Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John, the beloved disciple was also there. Jesus was suffering untold agony, but still he thought of others. He gave his mother spiritual direction for the rest of her life. She was to be among his disciples. He entrusted her to John. The next time we meet her is in Acts 1, when she joins the disciples in prayer in the upper room. Jesus brothers, her sons are there too.
II. The death of Jesus (28-37)
First, "I am thirsty" (28-29). "Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.'" Jesus completed his mission. He fulfilled Scripture by his life and by his death. He was extremely thirsty because he was dehydrated. But more important than thirst was his fulfillment of Scriptures. When Jesus knew that God's will was now completed so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." Here we learn Jesus was a perfect man. He had a human body. He had emotional feelings. But Jesus endured all the sufferings and hardships and did not say a word of complaint. But when God's will was fulfilled, in his humanness, he said, "I am thirsty."
Jesus was already thirsty. But he did not feel he was thirsty until God's will was fulfilled on the cross. In this short sentence, "I am thirsty," we learn how Jesus obeyed God's will unto death, death on the cross. Some heard Jesus say, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there. So they soaked a sponge in it and put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant and lifted it to Jesus' lips. Jesus had received the drink.
Second, "It is finished" (30). Jesus had no regrets. He was despised and rejected. He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. But he was not sorrowful. He did not feel like a victim. He finished his work on earth.
God made the world and man. God made man the steward of the world to take care of his world (Ge 1:28; 2:15). He made man for mission. Each person has a mission from God. Some have a mission to love their wives. Some have a mission to respect their husbands. Some have a mission to take care of a university. Some have a mission to pray for their mission field country. But those who do not love God do not know what God's mission for them is. Jesus knew what his mission from God was. It was to renounce his glory and power and honor of his kingdom and come to this world. It was to empty himself and serve sinful and sick mankind. His mission was to accomplish God’s great salvation work and fulfill God’s promises as the Messiah. His mission was to shed his blood for the sins of the world. His mission was to train disciples who could bring the good news of God’s love to a sinsick and dying world. When Jesus knew that his mission was fulfilled, he said, "It is finished."
Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Third, pierced for our transgressions. The Jews wanted the job finished before this high Sabbath. So, soldiers came to break the legs of those being crucified. Jesus was already dead. One soldier proved it by piercing his side with a spear. Blood and water flowed out of his pierced side. The scriptures said that not a bone of the Passover lamb should be broken. The scriptures also said that they would look on the one they had pierced. They unwittingly fulfilled scripture, showing that God was in control of the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus’ blood flowed for the forgiveness of the sins of the world.
Fourth, John, the eyewitness (35-37). Look at verse 35. "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." John, the writer of this gospel, was an eyewitness. His testimony was true. He testifies so that we may believe. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and by believing you may have life in his name.”
III. Jesus was buried (38-42)
Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Both of them were Sanhedrin members. They were secret disciples of Jesus. But at the death of Jesus something unusual happened. When Jesus was alive they were fearful. But when Jesus died they saw God in Jesus. So Joseph fearlessly went to Pilate, the Roman governor, and asked for Jesus' body (38). And he got permission. Nicodemus has been a man who could not make a decision. But when he saw Jesus lifted up on the cross, he was drawn to him. He confessed him as his Lord and King and became his disciple. He was born again by the Holy Spirit (Jn 3). The death of Jesus brought light to the hearts of Joseph and Nicodemus. They came out of the darkness of fear and unbelief and stood up for Jesus.