THE LIFE OF CHRIST
our last lesson, we examined some more events that happened while Jesus was on
the cross. We looked at three more of His saying from the cross. In this lesson we will pick up right where we left off.
fifth saying comes from,
19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that
all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said,
"I thirst!" 29 Now
a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with
sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
Jesus is getting closer to having relief from the severe pain He was enduring. Since death was close, He knew He had accomplished God’s will. At this point in the crucifixion, He would have been suffering from high fever and would be extremely thirsty, so He says, “I thirst!” Once again, Jesus was fulfilling Scripture:
Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My
tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.
69:21 They also gave me gall for my
food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
This vessel of sour wine, which was a common drink among the Roman soldiers, was probably there for the soldiers to drink as they watched these men suffer. Based on the original Greek language this was either sour wine or vinegar and water mixed together. Someone ran up to the vessel and filled a sponge and put it on the end of a hyssop.
Hyssop is a species of marjoram and a member of the mint family. Hyssop was an aromatic shrub under one meter (three feet) tall with clusters of yellow flowers. It grew in rocky crevices and was cultivated on terraced walls. … (1 Kin.4:33). Bunches of hyssop were used to sprinkle blood on the doorposts in Egypt (Ex. 12:22), and in purification ceremonies (Lev. 14:4, 6, 51-52). David mentioned it as an instrument of inner cleansing (Ps. 51:7) (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary p. 1005).
Since the Hyssop grows less than three feet high, it gives us an idea of how high Jesus was on the cross. His mouth could not be reached without the aid of a stick. Both Matthew and Mark call it a reed (Mt. 27:48; Mk. 15:36), but John tells us what kind of reed it was.
Jesus had been through a
lot a no doubt his mouth was as dry as a bone. Giving Him this drink was act of
mercy. This would give Jesus the moisture He needed to be able to continue His
next two sayings. The fact that Jesus was thirsty shows His humanity.
Next is Jesus’ 6th
statement from the cross,
19:30 So when Jesus had received the
sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up
From the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem until that very moment
Jesus had been fulfilling hundreds of prophecies about Him and now He had done
everything He could at this point to bring about our salvation and fulfill the
prophecies about Him. Jesus had finished His work on the earth and when He was
raised from the dead He told His disciples,
24:44 "These are the
words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be
fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the
Psalms concerning Me." 45
And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the
Scriptures. 46 Then He said
to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to
suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 "and that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations,
beginning at Jerusalem. 48
"And you are witnesses of these things.
Again this shows us how obedient Jesus was to the
Father as He accomplished everything He was supposed to do and you I get to
benefit from His perfection, and we are supposed do our best to follow in His
Our final statement from
the cross comes from,
23: 46 And when Jesus had
cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit
My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last.
Jesus knew that the
Father could still here Him and trusted in the Father and His plan. So, He
committed His spirit into His hands, and then He died physically.
In this final saying of
Jesus, we can see that Jesus was in control of His life. As Jesus said,
10:17 "Therefore My Father loves
Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 "No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father."
Jesus did not have to
die. If He wanted to, He could have called on all the angels of heaven to come
and rescue Him, but He did not because He wanted to die for us. He even knew
when He would die because as soon as He made this last statement His spirit
left His body and He put His faith in the Father to take care of His spirit.
This teaches us that when
our spirit leaves our body we become physically dead and that our spirit returns back to the Lord (Ecc. 12:7).
Now if our story stopped
here and Jesus just died on the cross, His death would just be another death
added to millions of others who have been crucified, but we know that on the
third day after His death, which was Sunday morning, He was raised from the
dead. Not only did He die for us, He showed us that He had power over death and
if we follow God’s Word and live faithfully we can have confidence that our
bodies will be resurrected and transformed into a glorious body like Jesus’
body, and at the judgment day, we will be taken to heaven itself to spend
eternity. As Jesus said,
14:1 "Let not your heart be
troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 "In My Father's house are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to
prepare a place for you. 3
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive
you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
While Jesus’ death is on
the cross is tragic and sad and worth crying over, at the same time it also
something that we can rejoice over and be happy about because it truly shows
the love of God and our salvation would not be possible without it. So, I hope
you will allow the message of the cross to sink deep into your heart and to
always remind yourself what Jesus did for you so that you might be encouraged
to live a faithful life until the day you die.
As Jesus was giving up
His spirit to God we read:
27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the
temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks
were split, 52
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep
were raised; 53 and coming
out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and
appeared to many. 54 So when
the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake
and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this
was the Son of God!"
Matthew tells us that the
veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom and there was a great earthquake
that split the rocks and even some of those that had died were raised from the
dead after His resurrection. As the earth cried out in response to Jesus’
death, it caused those soldiers to be afraid and they believed that Jesus was
the Son of God.
Try to imagine what these people
saw that day. It had been dark outside since 12 P.M., and now an earthquake
happens and the rocks are split open. In the temple, the veil that separates
the holy place from holy of holies, which is where the Ark of the Covenant used
to be, was torn from top to bottom (Ex. 26:31-33). If man had torn it, it would
have been torn from the bottom to the top. The tearing of this veil symbolized
that God had made Himself available to all, and that the old covenant was
nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14; Eph
2:14-15). All of these events proved that Jesus death
on the cross was not an ordinary one, and it even caused the centurion and his
soldiers to agree that He truly was the Son of God. In Luke’s account the
centurion also said, “Certainly this was a righteous man!” (Lk. 23:47).
Matthew also mentions how the
graves of the saints were opened by the earthquake that day and how they were
raised from the dead. However, they did not come out of their graves until
after Jesus’ resurrection, and they went into the city and appeared to many.
19:31 Therefore, because it was
the Preparation Day, that the bodies should 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. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the
legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw
that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His
side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and
his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you
may believe. 36 For these things were done that the
Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be
broken." 37 And again another Scripture says,
"They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
As I have already shown in this
study, the Preparation Day was not the Preparation Day for the Passover, but
for the feast of the unleavened bread. Since the feast of unleavened bread
would begin on the Sabbath and it included a holy convocation (sacred
gathering) (Ex. 12:16), it was considered a high or an important day. While the
Jews had no problem breaking the Law of Moses to put
Jesus to death, they still wanted to keep part of it because it was against the
Law of Moses to keep a person on the cross overnight (Deut. 21:23).
When a person’s legs were broken,
they could no longer push themselves up to get air, so it would not take long
for them to die by suffocation. Pilate sent some soldiers to break their legs.
They broke the two thieves’ legs first, but when they got to Jesus, He was
already dead, so they did not break His legs. Just as the Passover lamb’s bones
were not to be broken (Num. 9:12), neither was Jesus’ bones broken because He
is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). Once again, this fulfilled a prophecy about Jesus
One of the soldiers wanted to make
sure that Jesus was dead, so he pierced Him in the side and out came water and
blood. This event is only recorded by John, and it also fulfills a prophecy
about Jesus (Zech. 12:10). Now we cannot say dogmatically what internal organs
the soldier pierced or which side he pierced Him in. However, there are two
possibilities that could produce what looked like water and blood.
1. It is possible they pierced His
bladder, which would cause urine and blood to flow out. While this would
produce the effect of water and blood it seems unlikely he pierced His bladder
since he would have to pierce Him with a downward motion, which would have been
difficult with Jesus being elevated on the cross.
2. Others believe he pierced Him
through the ribs and broke the lining around the wall of the heart.
Mr. Halley notes:
authorities have said that in the case of heart rupture, and in that case only,
the blood collects in the pericardium, the lining around the wall of the heart,
and divides into a sort of bloody clot and a watery serum. If this is a fact, then the actual
immediate physical cause of Jesus' death was heart rupture. Under intense pain, and the pressure
of his wildly raging blood, his heart burst open (Halley's Bible Handbook,
This watery fluid that would have
come out of the wound first could have been a combination of serous pleural
which is found in the membrane around the lungs, and pericardial fluid,
which is secreted by the serous membrane on the
pericardious sac on the outside of the heart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericardial_fluid).
second possibility is the more logical to me because it seems natural that the
soldier would thrust upwards into Jesus side. These two possibilities give us a
medical explanation of how the flow of blood and water from Jesus’ wound could
happen. No matter where the soldier pierced Jesus’ side it proves the Jesus was
dead. When Pilate found out
that Jesus was already dead is surprised him (Mk.
15:44). John served as an eyewitness for all of this.
19:38 After this, Joseph of
Arimathea, being 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 the body of Jesus.
We can learn more details about
this event by examining the four Gospels (Mt. 27:57ff; Mk. 15:42ff; Lk. 23:50ff; Jn. 19:38ff). They teach that Joseph
was a rich man, a prominent member of Sanhedrin council, and was considered a
good and just man. He secretly became a disciple of Jesus, and he was waiting
for the kingdom of God.
He did not agree with the council’s decision to put Jesus to death. He was from
Arimathea, which was a city of the Jews.
Joseph was scared, but he found
the courage to go before Pilate to request Jesus’ body. At first, Pilate was
surprised that Jesus was already dead, so he asked a centurion if it was true.
Once it was confirmed that Jesus was dead, Pilate gave Joseph permission to
take the body. The synoptic Gospels only mention Joseph taking the body from
the cross and wrapping the body in a clean fine linen cloth, which was an
expensive cloth, but John’s account gives more detail.
39 And Nicodemus, who at first came
to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a
hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and
bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a
ruler of the Jews who had went to Jesus during the night wanting to know more
about Him (Jn. 3). We find him defending Jesus in John 7:50-51, and now he is helping to
bury Him. Since he bought almost a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, it
indicates that he was a wealthy man as well. Jesus burial with all these spices
was similar to that of a king (2 Chr. 16:14). Let’s
take a closer look at Myrrh:
Myrrh – An
extract from a stiff-branched tree with white flowers and plum-like fruit.
After myrrh was extracted from the wood, it soon hardened and was valued as an
article of trade. It was used … in anointing oil (Ex. 30:23), and was used as
perfume (Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17; Song 3:6), in purification rites for
women (Esth. 2:12), as a gift for the infant Jesus (Matt. 2:11), and in
embalming (John 19:39). According to the Gospel of
Mark (15:23), the drink offered to Jesus before His crucifixion was “wine
mingled with myrrh.” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 2006).
The other accounts say that Jesus
was wrapped in fine linen sidon (Mt. 27:59; Mk. 15:46; Lk. 23:53), but John says His body was
bound in strips of linen othonion with the spices. Some might view
this as a contradiction, but it is not because both things happened. The
synoptic Gospels tell us that Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body in a clean fine linen
cloth when He was taken down from the cross. John’s account tells us that they
took the body, which means they left that place. We know that they took Jesus
to the tomb, but how they took Him we do not know. Most likely they carried His
body on a bier. When or where they prepared His body per the custom of the Jews
is unknown, but as some point they started wrapping His body with strips of
linen. We do not know if they already had some premade strips of linen or if
they made these strips out of the linen cloth they initial wrapped Him in. In
either case, they would wrap His body from His toes to His neck with His arms
secured to the side of his body. As they wrapped Him, they would pour the
mixture of spices in the fold of the bandages, which would become hard and
cause the bandages to stick together.
Mr. Gower states:
a body was covered in spices and in paste, and these were tied to the body by
layers of white “roller bandage.” The paste hardened and impregnated the
bandages until a hard preservative mound or cocoon was formed about the body
(The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times, p.73).
After the body was wrapped up,
they would cover the face with a cloth handkerchief. Lazarus was buried in a
similar way (Jn. 11:44). If the original linen cloth that wrapped Jesus’ body
was not torn into strips, then it was probably discarded, but what happened to
it is unknown. If it was used as an additional covering over the strips of
linen, the Bible does not mention it. It only mentions the strips of linen othonion and the cloth handkerchief being
His grave clothes (Lk. 24:12; Jn.
41 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. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of
the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
They did not have much time to
prepare and bury Jesus because the Sabbath was about to start around 6 P.M. So,
they took Jesus to a garden that was close by where Joseph had a new tomb (Mt.
27:59). This event fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, “And they made His grave
with the wicked -- But with the rich at His death” (Isa. 53:9). Now, that might a little bit confusing when
you read this, but
the NET version makes this verse easy to understand.
Isaiah 53:9 They
intended to bury him with criminals,25 but he ended up in a rich man's
If Joseph had not requested the
body of Jesus, He would have been buried with the two thieves, which is what is
meant by “they made His grave with the wicked.” It was unusual that Pilate let
someone other than a family member take Jesus’ body, but he did, and in doing
so, the second part of Isaiah’s prophecy came to pass “But with the rich at His
Since they were rushed with the
preparation of Jesus’ body, we learn that the women who followed Him from Galilee planned to come back the next day to
add more spices and fragrant oils (Lk. 23:55). Matthew gives us some additional
27:59 When Joseph had taken the
body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he
had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the
tomb, and departed. 61And
Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
While there were other women there
(Lk. 23:55), including a woman named Joanna (Lk. 24:10), Matthew only mentions
two women named Mary. Not only did they see where the tomb was, they saw how
Jesus’ body was laid (Mk. 15:47; Lk.
23:55). Our verse says that Joseph rolled the stone over the entrance of the
tomb. Since Nicodemus was with him, it is possible that he helped him with the
stone because these stones were heavy and hard to move. The stone itself was
usually round and it would be pushed into a dug out
slot in front of the tomb. So, it would be easier to push into place because once
it was in place, it would be more difficult to move it back out of the way,
which is why the women wondered who would roll the very large stone out of the
way for them on Sunday morning (Mk. 16:1-4).
27:62 On the next day, which
followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered
together to Pilate, 63 saying, "Sir, we remember, while
He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will
rise.' 64 "Therefore command that the tomb
be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal
Him away, and say to the people, 'He has
risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be
worse than the first." 65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard;
go your way, make it as secure as you know
how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure,
sealing the stone and setting the guard.
We are not told when on the next day they made their request to Pilate, but it was probably
early because they would not want Jesus’ disciples to have a chance to steal
His body and fool the people, so Pilate granted them a guard. A guard was a
group of Roman soldiers, and they secured the tomb and sealed it.
Mr. Leeper writes:
would have been accomplished by placing a large piece of clay at the joint of
the stone and the wall. An
official insignia of some type would have been pressed into the soft clay
leaving an imprint which could not be duplicated. The clay would then have hardened,
providing a seal that would be broken if the stone were moved.
tomb would serve a threefold purpose. First,
there would be evidence if anyone moved the stone. This would prevent someone from
removing the body and then claiming he had been raised. Second, it would provide a guard of
Roman soldiers to ensure no one could tamper with the tomb. Third, because it was a criminal
offense to break a Roman seal, it would serve as an effective deterrent to
anyone inclined to steal the body. Getting caught in the attempt would mean
time in prison if not worse (Wayne D. Leeper, Prelude to Glory, p. 171).
Even though these were trained
Roman soldiers that knew they would be severely punished or put to death if
they failed their post, but they would not be able to stop Jesus’ resurrection
from the dead.
Lk. 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested
on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
This is talking about those women
who has seen where Jesus was laid. They returned and used what little time they
had left before the Sabbath began and they prepared spices and fragrant oil for
Jesus. They intended to go back on the Sunday morning and anoint his body with
these things. Of course, as we will see in our next lesson, they did not get to
do this because Jesus was raised from the dead, but you will
have to wait until our next lesson to hear about this.
I hope these lessons we have been
looking regarding Jesus’ death on the cross have really opened your eyes to
details of what He went through for you and I. We can
never pay back or earn our salvation, but we can certainly honor Jesus by
following the Word of God and doing what we can to share His great love to
others so they might see how much God loves them as well.