John’s theme throughout his gospel is, “Christ is glorified, you must believe.” And, even while explaining something as nasty as crucifixion he doesn’t change the focus but shows Christ glorified in death via the prophecy He fulfills, the title He’s given, and the management over His minutes…
Due to deism, universalism, pluralism, and science, most people, and many “Christians” today believe God’s plan as kind of flexible, multiple versions with the same conclusion. The great Watchmaker who winds up the Rolex and lets it unwind without another glance or further involvement.
The cross of Christ proves the opposite! There was one plan, written before time, God wasn’t lost, Jesus wasn’t confused, man thought Christ was in the palm of his hand but man was in the hands of God, even the way He died was planned to the last detail. Let’s look closer at the crucifixion account of John 19…
The Prophecy Fulfilled
John 19:16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out bearing His own cross… to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
Christ has been captured and the crowd lets out an undulating cry from the pit of hell, “Crucify!” Thus, Pilate hands Jesus over to silently “Bear His own cross” at which time the Jesus quietly fulfills the words of Isaiah 53 written 700 years earlier…
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
The melancholy procession then winds down the Via Delarosa, between 8am and 9am, from the ancient Palace of Herod, passing by jeering crowds through the gate in the first wall, and into the busy quarter of Acra shops and bazaars, eventually ending at Golgotha (Calvary) a small rock laden hill shaped like a skull. All of this further fulfillment of typological design, Jesus removed from the city just as Exodus 29:13-14 and Hebrews 13:11-12 explain the sin offerings had been for 1500 years…
John 19:18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
Crucifixion, invented by the Phoenicians and perfected by Rome, had become such a brutal form of torture that it was against the law to kill a Roman citizen this way. Three crosses are in use during the days of Jesus. St. Andrew’s Cross (X), the Crux Commisa (T), and the Latin cross (t), which is used for Christ so that a placard may rest above his head.
Christ is laid flat, his right arm pulled taught and seven-inch iron peg run between the radial and ulna. His left arm then stretched to do the same. His feet are nailed separately through the metatarsal bones and he is hoisted up, the cross dropping two feet into it’s landing with a jerk, raping his torn back against raw timber. Subsequently, each breath now requires he push and pull up on torn appendages to breathe in, slumping back down to exhale. Again and again he rises and falls until carbon dioxide causes pulmonary hypertension rupturing the heart. All of this predicted centuries before crucifixion was invented…
Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
The Psalms and Isaiah had predicted a form of torture hundreds of years before it was designed or implemented. As prophesied, Jesus is pierced through and hangs between two sinners, Satan’s best attempt at shame. Yet, the potential shame becomes a first trophy of grace that morning when one sinner repents and is first to enter paradise this day.
John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.
The execution squad divides up His clothing, performing their version of rock, paper, and scissors for the single-piece undergarment. And, even this small moment of parting apparel is part of God’s original plan as seen in Psalms 22:17…
Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Christ was never caught off guard! The way that He walked through the city, “Silent before shearers” and where he walked, “Outside the city” and with whom he hung, “Transgressors”, even what the guards did with His personal undergarments, all were part of God’s plan, poignantly displayed for us in the prophecies of Psalms and Isaiah.
The Title Given
John 19:19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
Condemned men of Rome are given placards to explain their offenses but Jesus hasn’t done anything wrong so Pilate must become creative. Pilate takes out his frustration with the Jewish leaders by coming up with a sarcastic title displaying in three languages what he knows will infuriate them because it proves they aren’t loyal to Caesar, states their king comes from the little town of Nazareth, and claims their king is one crucified.
Yet, even an attempt Pilate’s ignorant attempt at secular sarcasm ends up stating precisely what Philippians 2:10 tells us every tongue will one day confess, “that Jesus Christ is Lord…” Again, even Pilate’s placard is providential and proof of God’s control.
The Minutes Managed
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture. He said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.
Jesus silently rehearses each of the Scriptures and completes each item on His, “Save earth” checklist. Finally, He looks over to fulfill a last item on the ordained plan, a drink of vinegar…
Psalm 69:20 Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. 21 They also gave me gall for my food and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Every element of atonement is complete, all 300 OT prophecies fulfilled, and Christ is prepared to consummate His ministry…
John 19:30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Matthew and Mark tell us Christ yells triumphantly, “It is finished!” (Paid in Full!) What is paid in full? First, is the debt mankind owes to God. Second, are the 300 OT prophecies concerning the Messiah. Finally, is the power of sin and Satan crushed forever.
With perfect accuracy on Calvary’s cross our Lord examined the necessary prophecies, accepted the necessary title, cared for the necessary people, and selected His final words, even the final breath chosen with perfect care, proving that He was in complete control.
For all of those in God’s family, Good Friday and Easter represent the providential perfection of God in Christ Jesus. This is not simply a fateful but blessed marker in history but a moment by moment planned payment, selected by Christ to abort the wrath of God atop our sinful heads, and ushering us into the throne room as children of inheritance. To this we cling.