All of Christ for All of Life
Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone

27 March 2021 – John 19:16-37

So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would 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. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been 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 at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was 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 away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 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 because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. – John 19:16-37 (ESV)

When John points out that Scripture says, “They will look upon Him whom they pierced,” he is referring to Zechariah 12:10. There the LORD says: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

There are two key things to take note of:

  1. First, the LORD begins by saying that He “pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy.” That is, the LORD is going to lead them to repentance and give them new hearts. These are not people who are destined to terrifying judgement. These are people who are being redeemed to dwell in the House of the LORD forever.
  2. Second, unlike the nations in Revelation 1:7 who are wailing over their own plight, these converted Jews will look “on Him whom they have pierced” and “they will mourn for him, … tenderly … as one mourns for an only child.” That is, they will be mourning out of compassion for Christ who suffered like this at the hands of their fellow Jews.

Rather than looking forward to a time of terror, Zechariah is magnifying the grace of the Messiah in that even though most of the Jews rejected Christ at His first coming and cried out for His death – by God’s grace, at Christ’s Second Coming, most of the Jewish people, although not necessarily all of them, will have been converted. Speaking in terms of corporate solidarity with the Jewish people throughout the ages, “they will look upon Him whom they pierced,” they will mourn that they had caused His suffering, but they will be mourning as those confess that Christ’s grace is greater than their sin – and that He loved me, and gave Himself for me. And then we remember our Lord’s prayer from the cross: “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do!”

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 96
Q. 96. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.