Some thoughts from the Crucifixion Story in John (John 19:16b-37)

The crucifixion account is a call to faith. The quote in John 19:37 is from Zech. 12:10 which speaks of the return of our Lord in power and glory. With his return comes the great Day of Judgment.

Jesus was pierced in judgment so that we might escape the judgment of God. Jesus was shamed before the world that the world might stand before God unashamed. Jesus was cast out that those who had been cast out might be drawn near. In that great Day of Judgment, the whole world will look on this one whom they have pierced. Yes, the whole world because as John makes clear throughout the arrest and Crucifixion narrative that the whole world is responsible for the murder of the Son of God.

As Paul wrote (Phil. 2:10-11), “Every knee shall bow and tongue confess, “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of God the Father. Those who confess this by faith now, will do it on that day with joy. Those who refuse to confess such now will do it in that day in the shame and bitterness of judgment before they are cast out forever from the presence of the Lord and his blessing.

Believers must not think that this account is not significant for them since they have already met john’s purpose for recounting these events (20:30-31). For believers this also  serves as a call to faith and increased trust in God’s purposes.

Jesus, the Word from the beginning (1:1) who was Messiah, Son of God, and one with the Father and who had performed many signs as proof of his identity has been put to death. It might be easy for someone to conclude that Jesus has failed and therefore is not who he claimed to be. But if we walk by faith and not by sight, accepting God’s Word and the fulfillment of the prophecies of God’s Word, then we must find some other explanation for this event. If the signs are true, then we must alter our thinking.

Jesus has been put to death by representatives of sinful humanity as an expression of God’s love (3:16; 13:1; 15:13). In doing this, he is doing what only God can do: he is taking away the sins of the world (1:29). When Jesus says, “It is finished” (30), his choice of words hearkens back to 17:4-5 and reminds us that, though Jesus’ earthly work is done, this can’t be the end of the story; there has to be more to come because Jesus has yet to be glorified just as he glorified the Father.

My friend Bobby Grow, who knows a thing or two about suffering, having been struck three years ago with cancer, has written, “God is often as hidden now in the brutal circumstances of this life, as he was in Christ on the cross.”

Just as we see Jesus’ death on the cross and by faith we are able to see the hand of God our Father at work turning the wickedness of men on its head and using it to accomplish his ends to reconcile with his people and bless them, so, too, we must see the and of God our Father in the events and affairs of this life to accomplish his ends and to bring blessing to us.

Just as our Savior did not see that blessing in this life but as a result of his death and resurrection, we must stop looking for it in this life and see our lives now as investments in the world to come, in which this dying Savior will rule for ever and ever and bring peace and righteousness, joy and blessing, to his people in this kingdom which will have no end.

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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