Sunday, September 26, 2010

Matcha Pudding and the Promised Saviour Proved (John 19:16b - 42)

Matcha Green Tea pudding with choco-shrooms!
While working through the Gospel of John again, it gave us shivers to think what an incredible few years John must have had with Jesus (cf John 21:24-25) - following him from place to place, hearing him preach but not understanding his full meaning, believing yet not having complete faith, the horror of Jesus being taken away by his people the Jews, hoping perhaps that Jesus might save himself, then faced with the shocking, crushing reality of Jesus, whom he called his teacher and lord and even saviour in whatever sense he could have understood, hanging, dying on a Roman cross.

Yet what shivers it must have given John later on when, recalling the details of Jesus' crucifixion and death, he realised how perfectly events beyond the control of any human comported with Scripture written by disparate authors over thousands of years, and so how, in a mind-blowing way that could not have been conceived by pea-brained humans, God had planned his Son's death before the beginning of the world.

Intro question: What do you/your friends/relatives think of Jesus' death on the cross some 2,000 years ago?

John 19:16b - 42
Q: What happens in John 19:16b - 42?


We remember the purpose of John's Gospel. It is not an ad nauseum of everything that he saw and heard while he was with Jesus, he chose only some to put in his book, so that his readers might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing we might have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

Q: Name the people at Jesus' trial, crucifixion, death and burial.

Trial - Pilate, soldiers, chief priests, Jews
Crucifixion and death - soldiers, chief priests, Jews, mother, mother's sister Mary wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, John
Burial - Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus

John 19:16b - 30
Q: With all these people present, how can we be sure it was really Jesus who was crucified, who died and was buried?

Pilate, soldiers - Romans were professionals. They were not easily hoodwinked.
Chief priests, Jews - They really wanted Jesus dead and would have made sure that it was really Jesus on the cross. Their only protest was the signage on Jesus' cross (19:20-21).
Relatives and followers - They would have known if it were not Jesus. And an imposter would not have taken care to ensure that Jesus' mother was taken care of, not while he was suffering on a cross (19:26-27).

John 19:31 - 42
Q: How do we know that Jesus really died and didn't just faint away?

- the soldiers who probably had seen many crucifixions saw that he was already dead (19:33)
- blood and water poured from his side (19:34) - when a person has been dead for some time, blood serum and platelets separate.
- he was wrapped with 75 pounds (about 28 kg) of spices and left for a few days. If he wasn't already dead, he would have died from blood loss and dehydration.

John 19:35 - 42
Q: How do we know this whole account is true?

- John was an eyewitness
- John names prominent people - it would have been easy to check if this was true

Why is it important to know that it was really Jesus on the cross and that he really died?
Jesus' claims.

While it is important to establish that it was really Jesus on the cross and that he really died, why does John give us all these details?
To show that this was not a tragic failure. but that all this was in fulfilment of Scripture (19:24, 28, 36), God's eternal plan for rescuing his people from the just consequences of sin. God is in control, having planned and communicated his plan (albeit piecemeal) thousands of years before.

John 19:28-30
The words "finished" and "fulfilled" are translations of the same Greek verb "to accomplish". What has Jesus accomplished?

cf John 17:4. Same word used by Jesus in prayer. Jesus' death is not the sizzle of a damp squib that once held so much potential; rather, it is the climax and fulfilment of all Scripture. Jesus' cry is a cry of victory!

Look at Psalm 22. It is a psalm written before 400 B.C. about God's servant suffering at the hands of his enemies. But he is ultimately vindicated.
Q: What does the fulfilment of Psalm 22:18 in John 19:24 tell us about Jesus' death?

[Q: Look at Psalm 69:21.]

Look at Exodus 12:46 which was written between 1446 - 1406 B.C. and Numbers 9:12. God instructs Israel on keeping the Passover.
Q: What was the Passover supposed to commemorate?

Q: What do these verses say about the passover lamb?

Q: So what is the significance of Jesus' death on the cross?
Jesus is the true passover lamb - without blemish and broken bones. Just as God gave the Israelites a means of being spared the judgement on Egypt by the blood of passover lambs, so through Jesus' death on the cross, God gives all humankind a way of escape from his coming judgement.

Q: Look at Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1 written in 6 B.C.. For whom are the people mourning?
The one whom they have pierced = me (God) = him!

Q: Yet, what will happen on that same day?
Fountain for God's people to cleanse themselves from sin and uncleanness opened (Zechariah 13:1).

Q: What is the significance of Jesus being pierced in the side? (John 19:34,37)
He is God. His death will allow God's people be free from the boggy mire of sin and uncleanness!

Q: How much more does this add to your understanding of Jesus' cry of victory in John 19:30?!

Jesus' death is neither a tragic end to a young life so full of potential or promise, nor is it such an orgy of gore and pain (a la Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ) that we are emotionally arm-twisted into believing in Jesus "since he has gone through so much for us". Rather, John tells us of God's sovereign control throughout history. Every detail in the death of the King of the Jews occurred in accordance with God's will, not least the robustness in the execution of God's mercy mission to provide a way out from the coming judgement of our sins and a means by which we can be cleansed from our sins.

Q: John wrote all of this so that we may also believe (19:35). How does this account enable you to believe and go on believing in Jesus and his good news?

"Just Looking" Studies
Just Looking Study 1 (John 20:30-31, John 1:1-18)
Just Looking Study 2 (John 3:1-21)
Just Looking Study 3 (John 4:1-30) - from-a-Christian-family version
Just Looking Study 4 (John 5:1-29)
Just Looking Study 5 (John 11:1-57)
Just Looking Study 6 (John 18:28-19:16a)
Just Looking Study 7 (John 19:16b-42)
Just Looking Study 8 (John 20)

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