Some Thoughts on the Gospel of John

John 19  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Man has given to Jesus a crown of thorns, but God has given Him a crown of glory. Pilate was conscious that he had to do with a wonderful man, with some one superhuman; as in the words Jesus said to him, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." Pilate sought to set Him at liberty, but he had a bad position in this world, which he valued more than the life of an innocent man. He had no respect for the Jews; " Shall I crucify your king'?" It is remarkable to see how all men are shown to be each the opposite of what he ought to be in whatever position he is found. His disciples, who were His friends, and who, therefore, ought to have been faithful to Him, forsake Him-one denies Him, another betrays Him. The judge whose part it was to judge righteously condemns Him, washing his hands of Him, though he knows He is innocent; the priests, who ought to have compassion on those who are out of the way, and to intercede for them, accuse the innocent. Behold the heart of man placed in the light of what he has done to the Savior!
The fourth monarchy of Daniel, the Roman Empire, is found in conflict with God, in consort with the Jews. The judge (represented by Pilate) was in opposition to righteousness (Christ); but when Christ will return, then "judgment shall return unto righteousness " (Psa. 94:1515But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. (Psalm 94:15)). It is the same thing now, judgment is in opposition to righteousness, but when Christ reigns they will go together. The evangelist always presents the Lord to us in His last hours always tranquil; and as in the account of what happened in Gethsemane, he does not give us His agony, but rather the result of His divine presence, having ma de those who came to take Him fall to the ground; so here we have not His suffering, nor His cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" but on the contrary, He is occupied with His mother, and confides her to the care of John. Then, when He said that the hour was come of the perfect accomplishment of all that He had to do, He Himself gives up the spirit-not through the force of sufferings, nor through the violence of man, but because He had the commission, as He said Himself, to lay down His life, and to take it again. John 10:1818No man taketh 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 commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:18).
They broke the legs of the other two on the cross, but not so with Jesus, because He must die Himself, and it was written that not a bone of Him should be broken. Luke tells us that Jesus dismissed His spirit to the Father, in which expression we have His human perfection; His confidence in His Father raised Him above all the power of death, and He expressed in this way His trust as man in the Father. He dismisses His spirit when all is finished. He must die, but man cannot make Him die, until His time has come. It is admirable to see how in the death of the precious Savior man's hatred against God, and God's love towards man meet. God, in His grace, is shown as above man's sin. All that is here expressed in a touching way. The thrust of the soldier's spear was the last insult man offered to His person; and to this last insult comes the answer in the blood and water that flowed from His side where the spear had pierced Him. Behold the effect of the death of Jesus for the guilt of man! It works salvation for poor sinners. There where we find the climax of hatred, we also find the proof of God's great love-these two things meet at the cross. The water signifies purification, and the blood expiation. As it is written (1 John 5), " Not by water only, but by water and blood," because purification without atonement would be of no avail. We see, also, here, that salvation is not the restoration of the first Adam, salvation is in the second Adam. Salvation is not the effect produced in the life of a man according to the flesh, but when he is received by faith, the life of the Son of God is given to man. Blood and water came from a dead Christ, who had no longer any relation with man down here. Thus it is of the Spirit, who was not sent until after Christ had ascended to heaven. This life is in the Son, and he who has the Son has life. Wherefore, these three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood (1 John 5), speak of a dead Christ.
We have here on the scene the two who were disciples secretly, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. When all the rest had taken flight these took courage. It was written that He should be buried with the rich, and so it happened. It is by means of the cross that we enter into blessing, because it is only through the death of the flesh that we enjoy the things of God. By the cross we have part in eternal blessings, and by it also the enjoyment of heavenly things. The flesh has no part in any blessing, and therefore it must be put to death, held for dead upon the cross every day. " They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Gal. 5:2424And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24).